Online Poker Scam

Online Poker ScamOnline poker players are quite often the victims of cheating and very often do not get full restitution for their losses. Many players were burnt in “Black Friday “ as recently as April 2011 when millions were lost as the FBI closed down online poker sites PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (See article: Prosecution for Money Laundering linked to online Gambling)Absolute Poker was also involved, along with another poker room belonging to the same group, Ultimate Bet, in a major long term poker scam which is again in the news. This time it is because eight people who lost money in the largest online poker scandal to date feel they did not get full justice when they were refunded only the money they lost. They are bringing an almost two million dollar lawsuit against Ultimate Bet as they claim that their potential winnings in the poker games involved in the cheating were not taken into account.The Ultimate Bet investigation into the cheating only found one person responsible for the scam, Russ Hamilton. The lawsuit claims that many more individuals were involved and when the case goes to court the company will have to open their records so it remains to be seen whether Hamilton acted alone as claimed or whether he had accomplices. The question is how over a four year period (2003/4 to 2007/8) over 20 million dollars were won by fairly mediocre players and no one in authority noticed.

It appears that Russ Hamilton, the 1994 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion and a consultant to Ultimate Bet won millions by using special software that allowed him to see other players’ cards. He would invite other players to play online poker and then won each game by using the software. Many professional poker players were defrauded in this way also. It is believed he had accomplices who helped him to move money and also to set up fraudulent accounts and usernames which were not linked to his own name.

The cheating was discovered by certain players who noticed that some players and one in particular were betting large amounts and they never lost even though their play was not of a very high standard. Reports were made to the companies involved but management didn’t really react and when they finally did it was discovered that the cheating over about 4 years cost them around 22 million dollars in repayments to cheated players.

It’s possible that when the case comes to trial that it will cost the online poker site involved even more in compensation to players.

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