By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
24th September 2008
The former operator of a popular online poker site faces a $75m claim
after internet sleuths presented evidence that for more than three years
it offered rigged games that allowed cheaters to win hands at
astronomically unlikely odds.
According to a special report published last week on msnbc.com, scammers
were able to manipulate the software running UltimateBet.com, one of the
top 10 online poker sites. The unauthorized software code allowed
certain players to see the hole cards of their opponents, according to
the report, which cited a report from Tokwiro Enterprises, a company
that claims ownership of UltimateBet.
The scam was unearthed by some of the players who got burned. They
noticed that certain players in the highest-stakes games were winning at
a rate that seemed to defy statistical odds. Two of the players, who
went by the handles "trambopoline" and "dlpnyc21," eventually closed in
on a particular account as a prime suspect. Using the screen name
"NioNio," the player netted $300,000 in profit in just 3,000 hands. They
later discovered that NioNio had won 13 of the 14 sessions recorded on
MyPokerIntel.com, a website that tracks high-stakes online tournaments.
Australian poker player Michael Josem compared the results to 870 other
accounts with 2,500 or more hands recorded and calculated that NioNio's
win rate was less likely than winning a one-in-a-million lottery four
days in a row.
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