Two weeks ago, we detailed the writings of Haley Hintze, a former PokerNews.com editor who had posted new evidence in the 2007 Absolute Poker “superuser” cheating scandal. Hintze has since made three more posts presenting additional evidence that she believes further implicates Absolute Poker co-founder Scott Tom and illustrates the complex tapestry of interwoven cheating accounts.
On April 28th, the information Hintze presented really wasn’t anything new, but she provided some insight into how Tom was implicated in the first place. The first screen shot she showed was data that most familiar with the famous “PotRipper” tournament already knew: an “observer” account, likely the “superuser” who could see everybody’s hole cards, was constantly watching PotRipper’s table. Another account, using the same IP address, logged on and off of another table within a minute.
Aside from the evidence of an observer account, two interesting nuggets came from this information. First, the account that made a one-minute appearance had the e-mail address [email protected] This stood out like a sore thumb to Hintze because it appeared to be a corporate e-mail address, rather than the usual Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail accounts that most poker players use. A fellow investigator researched it for her and it turned out that the domain of the e-mail address was that of a company associated with Absolute Poker.
Shortly after this information became public, the rivieraltd.com domain entry was changed, which made many believe that the cheater was trying to cover his tracks. Second, it was determined that the IP address associated with the observer account and the rivieraltd.com account traced back directly to Tom’s house.
CEREUS Network officials have said that Tom had nothing to do with the cheating and that his name has only appeared because he was set up. In her blog, Hintze opines that a conspiracy is far-fetched, as there is so much evidence – IP address of Tom’s house, domain editing, tournament logs, account information, etc. – that it makes a frame-job way too complicated. On top of that, Hintze put forth, it would not make sense for someone to be so genius in putting together the setup, yet be so dumb in calling an all-in bluff on the final hand of a big tournament with 10-high, as the PotRipper account did, which makes the cheating so obvious.
In her next post on May 1st, Hintze illustrated the relationships between many of the cheating accounts. She starts by listing the accounts that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) confirmed were used to cheat. She then shows a screen shot from UB/AP’s anti-fraud tool, ieSnare, which lists other accounts associated with the infamous PotRipper account. Any accounts that differ from the KGC’s list should be investigated further, said Hintze.
Hintze did not say, however, that every account associated with PotRipper or any other cheating account is also a cheat. For example, the accounts “graycat” and “steamroller” were around longer than others and therefore had more associations. It is very unlikely that every associated account cheated (one, for instance, was Tom’s father, who has not been implicated) and some have officially been cleared, but it may still be a good idea to look into them further.
Wrote Hintze, “It’s one of those open-ended questions one must ponder when considering candidates for other possible cheating accounts. The further one chases down a given tree branch, the less likely any single link would be to be involved in the scandal, yet it seems first-level associations with known cheating accounts beg for more detailed investigation.”
In her latest blog entry, dated May 4th, Hintze revisited the details of a couple of the cheating accounts to illustrate her belief “that there was a coordinated, perhaps even frantic cover-up of the cheating taking place at AP in the days immediately following the PotRipper tourney in September 2007.”
The first screen shot Hintze presented was the account overview for the “doubledrag” cheating account. Like other accounts, it had a note telling customer service representatives to not take any action on it without permission from management. It also contained two notes from reps detailing calls from angry customers who claimed that doubledrag was cheating. The final note on the account was an account closure by A.J. Green, one of the Absolute Poker insiders implicated in the scandal. The PotRipper account was “blacklisted” just one day earlier.
Hintze then showed shots from the graycat cheating account, which, like the others, had fake personal information. Upon investigation of graycat’s transaction history, a “blacklisting and forced withdrawal” on the account was found, with the funds being sent to an ePassporte account “SPTOM,” which Hintze assumes is short for Scott Philip Tom, Tom’s full name. Thus, it appears, according to Hintze, that Tom received money from a cheating account. This transaction also took place during the same time frame as the PotRipper and doubledrag transactions and blacklistings.
Hintze also showed detailed transactions from September 8th through September 17th in which $150,000 was transferred from the graycat account to an account off-site. She presented this as further proof that the statements by current CEREUS management that none of the cheaters got money off the site were false.
In future blog posts, Hintze will dive deeper into the graycat account, one of the longest-standing of the cheating accounts at Absolute Poker. Read the latest from Hintze by visiting her blog.