The seemingly never ending saga of the Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker cheating scandal is set to hit the mainstream courtesy of this week’s edition of ’60 minutes.’ Four months of investigation by CBS News will culminate this Sunday with the exposure of the furor that engulfed the poker community throughout the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008.
A teaser trailer released by CBS sees their reporters going face to face with players affected by the superusers, who used surreptitious software in order to see the hole cards of other players at the table. Excerpts from an interview with online pro “Dan Druff” recount his encounters with the cheating account GRAYCAT. He reports day after day of sub-par play that consistently resulted in big wins. The whole affair came to a head when the POTRIPPER account made a, now infamous, 10-high call against Marco Johnson – known online as “CrazyMarco.”
Amid player fueled investigations, the POTRIPPER account was traced back to the company headquarters in Costa Rica. One of a number of discoveries that uncovered the depth and scale of a scheme that had deprived players of thousands of dollars. The teaser trailer also revealed that the program will feature interviews with some of the players who turned detective in order to uproot the unfair play. Denizens of the 2+2 poker forum and poker blogger Nat Arem were particularly involved in the trail of evidence that lead to accusations that former WSOP main event champion and Ultimate Bet pro, Russ Hamilton was the owner of one of the superuser accounts. These allegations having since been corroborated by a regulatory agency, the Kanhawake Gaming Commission.
Ever since the program was announced some months ago, heated debates have broken out over how the game will be portrayed. Some believe it will only act to further demonize poker in the collective consciousness, while others are holding out for a more positive skew. Current owners of Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, Tokwiro Enterprises, have certainly set out their stall in the former camp. The company, who did not own the two sites during the cheating, distributed an internal memo claiming that, due to an unduly negative bias towards them and poker in general, they had refused to cooperate with CBS’ request for interviews. Composed by Tokwiro COO Paul Leggett and handed to Nat Arem by one of his sources within the corporation, it condemned the approach of the program-makers and reeled of a list of facts that they feel more accurately depict their involvement in the scandal.
With poker’s eyes glued to the screen this Sunday, the program is sure to come in for plenty of analysis and discussion. Fans of the game will be hoping for an even handed approach to the incident that does not cast unwarranted aspersions over the rest of a troubled industry.