Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #43
The fall out from the Absolute Poker cheating scandal continues, but even owning up to having a problem that everybody knew existed still seems to be a process Absolute are struggling with. Following initial claims that an internal investigation had concluded that there could not possibly have been any cheating by anyone accessing other players’ hole cards, Absolute eventually had to bow to the weight of evidence collated by the general public. Realising that by this point damage limitation rather than outright denial was the preferred course of action, a statement was released by a spokesperson (speaking on condition of anonymity) admitting a security breach. He claimed that an employee, referred to by Absolute as a geek, had hacked the system simply to prove to senior management that it could be done and that no money gained illegally had actually been withdrawn. To the many self appointed super-sleuths in this case, who seemingly know more about it than many of Absolute’s own staff, this just didn’t ring true. After all, the email address of the observer at Potripper’s tournament win and owner of account number 363 had apparently been traced back to Scott Tom – either former or current CEO of Absolute Poker depending on whose story you believe. Another official at Absolute responded by insisting that Tom really had no involvement in this and that the hacker had found a way of implicating him in an effort to frame Tom should anyone investigate the scheme.
While heads were still being shaken in disbelief a new story emerged from Absolute, superseding the geek hacker line, that in fact a “high ranking trusted consultant” was actually the villain in all this. This sits more comfortably with the evidence uncovered so far and the suggestion is that it’s the user of the Potripper account and best friend of Scott Tom, A J Green (not his real name which is thought to be Allan Grimard.) Again, reports vary as to whether he is a former director of operations at Absolute or still has an active role within the company. Those claiming that he is still running daily operations even say that it was Green who was issuing the early statements pooh-poohing the idea of a superuser account.
Reports as to how much this scam netted vary from $700,000 to $7 million taken over the course of three years. A former Absoute employee has claimed that the security department picked up on unusual activity years ago but was told to forget it as it was just the owners carrying out routine testing. Absolute will clearly want to tend towards the smaller figure as it has stated that it will re-imburse all those affected by the cheating.
The big live tournament action has been at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas where 287 players entered the main event of the Caesar’s Palace Classic. The first $10,000 buy in event in Vegas since the WSOP main even guaranteed a $1 million first prize which New Yorker David Singer pocketed following a heads up battle for over 100 hands with Thang Pham. On the final hand, all the chips went in the middle pre-flop with Singer holding to Pham’s pocket kings but the board brought to give Singer the straight on the river and remind us what a sick game this is.
Back in London the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour £1,000 main event at the Vic was won by Leo Kam who picked up around £130,000 for his efforts. Kam is a chef at renowned London restaurant Nobu, leading to easy headlines such as him being used to handling large pots, but this column is of course above such tabloid journalism. Kam sliced his way through a field of 433 players and saw the tournament pan out exactly as he would have hoped, arriving at the final table as chips leader. That lead was lost for much of the last day as eventual third place finisher Nick Gibson turned up the heat but then went on to lose a couple of big pots towards the end against runner up Robert Boon. Boon lost heads up when his pocket sixes fell to Kam’s Q 6, and whilst Boon could count himself unlucky to have lost the hand, in fairness he did not make a meal of it. Kam will now take his seat at the grand final in December and has vowed to work hard at eliminating the leeks from his game in a bid to pick up a second win on the tour.
During the recent California Poker Players Conference, World Series Of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack gave a presentation outlining some of the plans for the 2008 WSOP. For many, the most appealing idea would be the abolition of the poker pavilion next time around. For some this summer it was the searing heat and wind whipping round the tent that made playing conditions unbearable. For others it was the smell of armpits and spilt beer but either way, nobody wanted to be seated in the tent. Eskimo Paul Clark objected by collapsing twice and losing the feeling in one arm but still they made people play bracelet events in conditions that would have been plusher in a $10 a night downtown motel.
Players will also be able to buy in to events at any Harrah’s property, which is presumably aimed at reducing the queues seen at this year’s series although given the number of players that will try to satellite into the event at the Rio this is likely to make little difference.
Roland de Wolfe with his trophy after
winning the 2006 Irish Masters EPT Event
Old favourite Late Night Poker will be back on our screens in a few months and PartyBets have responded by pricing the event up well in advance for us. The Hendon Mob has always been well represented in Late Night Poker events and Joe and Barny are both 25/1 to win. For some reason Ram is one of the bigger prices quoted and could be worth a punt at 33/1. Favourites are currently available at 20/1 and include Roland de Wolfe and teenage sensation Annette Obrestad. There’s plenty more action before then though and next week it’s time for another EPT event. This time it’s Dublin where Brits have had plenty of success in the past with titles for Roland and Ram. Best of luck to our boys and girls this time around as well.
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