Friday, July 25, 2008

Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, Two Online Cheating Giants Merge To Form Online Poker Network!

Well, if you ever heard the maxim "If you can´t beat ´em join ´em, this is surely it! Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, the sites that hosted the online poker industry´s two biggest cheating scandals in recent memory, have found the perfect solution to make all the cheating scams go away--MERGE! Is it hard for me to believe that this has happened? Not for a second. I mean, it´s just following the pattern started by online poker sites signing admitted online poker cheats to their team rosters, isn´t it? In any case, just watch what happens now as AP and UB take on Poker Stars and Full Tilt.

Read more:

PokerStars and Full Tilt have a pretty strong hold on the Internet poker industry. The two will now receive a bit of a challenge from a group who has recently been mired in controversy.

Absolute Poker and UltimateBet are trying to regroup from a cheating scandal that has severely hurt their customer base. Now they will try and rebuild both their reputation and their customer base together.

The two sites have merged to create the Cereus Poker Network. By coming together, the two brands owned by Tokwiro Enterprises Inc. will look to become the third largest poker network in the world.

Full Tilt and PokerStars are still accepting American customers. That fact alone gives them a huge advantage over their competitors. Both of those sites are watching their customer base grow on a daily basis.

"Our company's goal is to provide poker players with the ultimate online experience. The launch of Cereus is a major step for us in achieving our goal and we look forward to making many more exciting announcements very soon," said Paul Leggett, Chief Operations Officer of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet.

New Megapixel Surveillance Cameras In Washington Casino

Arecont Megapixel Cameras Enable Improved Monitoring at Gaming Tables

Casino Cheats put on notice!

The Lucky Eagle Casino in Southwest Washington State has completed a new installation of megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision, the industry leader in megapixel IP camera technology. The casino, which has been in operation since 1995, chose to upgrade their existing analog system in order to improve the ability to view and identify critical information on video.
"It is important that our surveillance operators clearly see the indexes of the cards," said Miguel Grijalva, Director of Surveillance, Lucky Eagle Casino. "We need to view suits and clearly distinguish between a heart and a diamond, and the analog cameras we had were not providing enough of this detail."
After installation on a test server of two Arecont Vision megapixel cameras, the AV2100 and the AV5100, for a two week evaluation, the Lucky Eagle Casino purchased Arecont Vision AV2100M 2 megapixel cameras to upgrade the existing system, supplementing their analog cameras. According to Mr. Grijalva, the Arecont Vision cameras deliver highly detailed images of jackpot hands, as well as increased accuracy in chip activity at the roulette tables.
Arecont Vision AV2100M 2 megapixel cameras have a frame rate of 24 fps (frames per second) with a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 and a minimum illumination of only 0.1 lux @ F1.4. One of the latest additions to Arecont Vision's MegaVideo(R) line of megapixel cameras, AV2100M megapixel cameras leverage proprietary patent-pending technology and help alleviate the cost and frame rate shortcomings often associated with multi-megapixel camera systems. To help ensure image clarity, the AV2100M delivers full motion HDTV progressive scan resolution and for added cost-efficiency features Power over the Ethernet (PoE).
The HD resolution of the cameras allows wider shots, enabling the casino's surveillance staff to achieve comprehensive coverage using a single dedicated camera for each table. "The frame shot is the same as the analog camera frame shot, but the clarity is several times better," said Mr. Grijalva. "If a guest had a full flush, we can go back and readily confirm it because the picture quality is so excellent."
The camera also features a built-in electronic PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) function. In addition to the improved clarity, the casino surveillance operators found that the digital zoom was highly beneficial in live monitoring or reviewing footage. These investigative digital capabilities help the casino spot unusual activity or instances of suspicious behavior or cheating, as well as help ensure employee procedure compliance.
According to Mr. Grijalva, his team was particularly impressed with the quality of the images produced by Arecont Vision AV2100M 2 megapixel IP cameras when viewing details on the roulette wheel and for identifying stacks of chips. "The new megapixel cameras have also helped determine if a customer's claim is valid or for claims of short changing on chips," he said. "We are considering adding Arecont Vision megapixel cameras to the lobby entrances for facial recognition now as well."

Cheaters and Card Counters Beware!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kahnawake Gaming Commission Releases Official Statement on Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker Scandals

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), which oversees numerous online poker sites using Kahnawake-based Internet services in Canada, has released an official statement regarding the unfolding situation on UltimateBet Poker. The statement follows by several months the KGC's earlier involvement in the resolution of a similar scandal at Absolute Poker.

In its statement, the KGC affirms that a future decision regarding UltimateBet is forthcoming, and that its overriding concerns have been to secure full player refunds and to implement corrective measures to prevent further abuse from taking place. The complete body of the text of the KGC statement follows:


Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake
July 23, 2008

Kahnawake Gaming Commission (the "KGC") has been continuously regulating online gaming for over 9 years – longer than most, if not all, other jurisdictions. During that period of time, the KGC has proven to be a world leader with regulations and methodologies that have established a regulatory environment in which online gaming can be conducted fairly and securely. The KGC's success as a regulator is evidenced by the fact that a significant percentage of the online gaming industry has chosen to locate and operate within Kahnaw√°:ke. Given the length of time that it has regulated this new industry and the significant number of licensees under its control, the KGC's record has been exemplary.

As commentators have correctly noted, even the most well regulated industries are not immune from abuse. Examples can be found in the banking, securities and land-based gaming industries. The fact that the online gaming industry is new and is technologically driven creates additional regulatory challenges. Throughout its history, the KGC has met these challenges and its regulations have been emulated in a number of other jurisdictions around the world.

Over the past several months, it was discovered that individuals within two of the KGC's licensees – Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet – had created and carried out a scheme to cheat players. In both cases, the improper conduct of these individuals was brought to the attention of the licensees, and the KGC, by affected players. The KGC acknowledges the diligence and sophistication displayed by these players and the role they played in bringing these matters to light.

The first case involved Absolute Poker. After a thorough investigation carried out by the KGC and its agents, Gaming Associates, the KGC rendered its decision in this matter on January 11, 2008. This decision concluded that the cheating that took place was not initiated, nor did it benefit, Absolute Poker as a corporate entity, or its directors or principal ownership. The decision imposed a number of sanctions and conditions on Absolute Poker, including twenty-four specific directions for changes to its management and systems. The KGC was provided evidence that all players affected by the cheating that took place were fully reimbursed for their losses.

Shortly after its decision was rendered in the Absolute Poker matter, the KGC first became aware of similar allegations of cheating involving individuals within Absolute Poker's sister company: Ultimate Bet.

Over the past several months, the KGC has been closely involved in an in-depth investigation of the Ultimate Bet cheating allegations. Significant efforts have been expended to identify and correct the flaws in Ultimate Bet's system that permitted the cheating to take place; to identify the individuals that were responsible for the cheating and to ensure that all affected players were fully reimbursed. Unfortunately, the KGC's actions were not well communicated to the poker industry or public at large, creating an incorrect perception that the KGC was 'doing nothing'.

The KGC's investigation into the Ultimate Bet matter has yielded a number of key findings which, within the next several days, will enable the KGC to issue its decision on the appropriate steps to be taken.

It should be stressed that the KGC's primary concern throughout both matters was to ensure that affected players were fully reimbursed and that corrective measures were implemented to prevent against any further incidents of cheating. Both of these objectives have been accomplished – as evidenced by the fact that the recent concerns that have been raised about the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet matters are not being driven by affected players.

Murray Marshall
Senior Advisor
Kahnaw√°:ke Gaming Commission

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

D'Amato Agrees Poker Cheating Calls For Online Casino Regulation


What the Kahnawake did not do was charge anyone with a crime, or open their operation for inspection, so as to verify the claims that the games could now be trusted...So says the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance

The recent poker scandals at Absolute Poker and UltimateBet have drawn the ire of former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato and the organization he chairs, the Poker Players Alliance. The cheating which occurred at the online casinos has been attributed to a lack of regulation and transparency at the online gambling sites run by the Kahnawake Tribe outside Montreal.

Both sites were found to have software running which allowed certain poker players to see not only their own cards, but all the cards dealt at the table. The Kahnawake blamed employees who had worked under previous owners of the poker sites, promised to refund money lost to any participants in shady games, and said the employees had been fired and the software corrected.

What the Kahnawake did not do was charge anyone with a crime, or open their operation for inspection, so as to verify the claims that the games could now be trusted.

D'Amato released a statement condemning online cheating, and taking the Kahnawake to task for not providing access and visibility which would allow the return of trust to sites owned by the tribe.

Most importantly, D'Amato used the situation to call once again for federal regulation of the online casino industry, asserting that the government has abandoned its citizens in its misguided zeal to ban online gambling.

Basic consumer protection requires the government to step in and provide a safe, regulated environment for poker players and other online gamblers, D'Amato also noted.

Sherman Bradley, gaming analyst at Online Casino Advisory, said in response to the scandals, "The truth is that, as shocking as the cheating was, the reaction of the ownership group to basically act as if they could now be trusted because they said so was even more absurd. Only proper government regulation can prevent this scam from occurring again. Note that Absolute Poker and UltimateBet are not accepted as advertisers by the United Kingdom regulatory group. British citizens are served by their government informing them as to which site is trustworthy, while Americans get to play Russian roulette."

Poker Players Alliance Speaks Out On Online Cheating Scandals

Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with over one million members nationwide, today issued the following statement in response to recent online poker cheating scandals:

“The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the political and public policy voice for poker players in America. Central to our mission are advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. and around the country to protect poker players from misguided and vague laws and to establish licensed and regulated Internet poker in the U.S. To be clear, the PPA is not a regulatory body for poker players or the poker industry, nor do we seek to be. We are, however, compelled to speak out when our public policy mission is potentially undermined by actions which present Internet poker in a negative light. “Trust is paramount in poker. Sadly, this foundation has been undercut by admissions from two well-known online poker companies, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, that cheating has occurred on their poker sites. The Poker Players Alliance condemns any and all cheating in poker no matter the forum in which it is played. Because of the current legal uncertainties and the lack of federal regulation and oversight, it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker. This has created an untenable atmosphere and has denied the proper means to investigate allegations, administer due process and then apply appropriate penalties for the wrongdoers. We urge these companies and their regulating authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to provide a full and transparent accounting of these breaches of the public trust to help lift the black cloud that has been placed over the industry. “The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers. While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse. Further, it is abundantly clear that regulation will also address other consumer concerns by successfully providing ways to bar access by children to gambling Web sites and providing the necessary services for problem gamblers. “The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet. The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable, not to mention it invades upon the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill. “Remaining consistent with our organization’s mission, we will continue our efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure lawmakers are well educated about the benefits of regulation to protect consumers and enable the rights of poker playing adults. These scandals will not and should not be the demise of a responsible government approach to Internet poker. Instead, this can be the pathway to understanding that regulation is the key to protecting citizens and the future of America’s card game.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

"More Truth" About Slot Machine Cheating

Gambling guru John Robison has continued his lecturing about the truth concerning slot machines. Here is his latest correspondence with "Mike," someone who definitely has strong knowledge about what is going on with slot machines, slot machines cheating and casinos in general. I think readers of my blog will find this discussion quite interesting.

John Robison post:

Dear John,

Thank you for posting my comments and accepting the discussion.

My evidence? Let's first define what the evidence is? To me, real evidence is the court evidence. In other words, have you ever developed any firmware for the slot machines? If the answer is "yes" then your evidences are much stronger than mine. Otherwise both of us are guessing. I had a chance to analyze some firmware and I had a chance to monitor several machines with complete reports from the machines every single day for many months. And guess what, I was able to predict which machine is ready to give very good payoff. The books that I have had in my hands are for me useless. Simply they are presenting mathematical models and nothing else.

When I said I analyzed firmware I meant did some statistical experiments and reset electronics to perform "cold boot". My conclusion and conclusion of guy who is PhD in Electronics is: Nobody can cheat gambling machines externally. If you know statistics of the machine yes, you can predict high payoffs. The design of the "motherboard" allows you to cheat everyone including the government commission. Sealing EEPROM does not mean anything. By adding a few shift registers or flip-flops you can completely change logic of the EEPROM. But anyway, let's discuss your comments.

To be honest I could not make conclusion about your vision of generating random numbers. In one sentence you said they are cycling, than in other sentence they are not cycling until the player starts the game. English is my second language so may be I did not catch your idea. I would appreciate your opinion about cycling. I do not need to throw the dice to see that number 1 appears in 16.67%. Each book about The Probability says that all 6 numbers on the dice have equal probability to appear and the probability is 1/6. You just confirmed that fact in the percentage. If you do the same tests for number 2 and above you will find same probability.

Let's go back to the slot machines. As you said there are 4,3 billions of random numbers (that just confirmed my statement that they are using 32 bit machines.) Probability that each number will appear is: 1 divided by 4,3 billions! The machine has , let's say 10 winning combinations (numbers). With such a low probability you cannot guaranty any payout for a years and casinos and manufacturers are talking about 95% payback? Logically impossible. If you think it is possible I really appreciate your mathematical explanation. (BTW I've read several articles from you and I did not see your mathematical model of the slot machine, I mean detailed. If you did it, please post the link.) To increase probability of the winning combinations you have to assign many random numbers to each winning combination. How many? 10, 1000,10000…? I do no mean physically assign numbers, much easier way is to use dividing techniques and residuals. To my understanding "Hit frequency" is determined by the "number of assigned numbers" for each winning combination. That is explanation for you question about fact that hit frequency of double bars is much higher than three of sevens. Simply the programmer is selecting which combination will appear more frequently. Yes, you are right. There is no need for two RNG tables. I did not elaborate that properly. There is just one primary RNG generator. Two tables I am talking about are " loosing table" and "winning table" or tables. The easiest way to create those tables is to switch from 32 to 16 bit, or 8 bit RNG numbers, or you can increase "number of assigned numbers". So the machines are cheating.

You can guarantee based on the probability and randomness? Yes you can guarantee but the question is what? But let me challenge your opinion. Let's make "true RNG" with 90% payback, with only one winning: $100,000.00! We will determine number of "random numbers" with just one table. Once we create the "slot machine" I will pay you for each spin on that "machine" amount that corresponds to the number of the random numbers. If I win you have to pay me $100,000.00.

You said that many of those random numbers do not give any outcome. Sorry, but I did not understand that. Can you explain it to me?

In one of the next e-mails I will send you a link to the web site where group of enthusiasts in England proved that many machines are cheating.

Best regards,

Dear Mike:

It is rare in life that two people can make opposing statements and both be right. In your last statement you mention machines in England.

In what country were the machines that you analyzed? I'm writing strictly about games in the United States and not about games in any other country. Other countries may have rules that differ from those here in the United States. For example, a former co-worker told me he had a friend who develops a particular piece of software for fruit machines in England. This particular piece of software was designed to keep a machine's actual payback within a specific range. If the firmware you analyzed and reports you monitored were for non-U.S. machines, we can both be right.

Let me further clarify my position by stating that most of my articles describe Class III slot machines. The piece of software I described in the preceding paragraph is illegal in a Class III slot machine in the United States.

I have not developed any slot firmware myself, but I have acted as an expert witness in patent disputes. As an expert witness, I've had access to source code, depositions, and testimony.

How can you have a "true RNG" with 90% payback? RNG's do not have paybacks. They just generate a stream of numbers.

Here is how a Class III slot machine operates in the U.S.:

Let's assume we have a 3-reel machine with 32 virtual stops and 22 physical stops on each reel.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of times each second, the slot's operating system calls the RNG function to generate another number. This occurs all the time, even when the machine is not being played. Thus the vast majority of the numbers produced by the RNG are never used to determine the outcome of the spinning reels. The RNG stores the number it generates in a specific memory location.

When the player initiates a game by pressing the Spin button, the program "polls the RNG" to find out the most recently generated number. It reads the number stored in that specific memory location.

Most machines poll the RNG for each reel, so this number will be used to determine where only the first reel will stop. The range of the numbers produced by the RNG is probably larger than the number of virtual stops on the virtual reel, so we have to MOD the number down to the proper range. In this case we'll MOD 32 to get a number from 0 to 31. That's the virtual stop chosen on the first reel.

Now that we know the virtual stop, we have to look at the virtual reel layout to see which physical stop is mapped to this virtual stop. The program then stops the stepper motor on the first reel on that physical stop.

The RNG has continued to generate numbers while this was going on. Now it's time to poll the RNG to get a result for the second reel. The number we get from this poll is again MODded to the proper range. The program checks the virtual reel layout for the second reel to find out which physical stop should land on the payline. It then stops the stepper motor on the second reel on that physical stop.

The process is repeated for the third reel.

The RNG generated hundreds of numbers while this spin was playing out. Only three of them were used to determine the outcome of the spin.

We calculate a machine's hit frequency by looking at each winning combination and seeing how many ways we can make the combination based on the layout of the symbols on the virtual reels. For example, if there are three triple bars on the first and second reels, and only two on the third, there are 3x3x2 or 18 ways to hit triple bars. Add up all the ways to make all the winning combinations and divide by the total number of combinations on the virtual reels to get the hit frequency.

To find the one-coin long-term payback, we build on the work we did calculating the hit frequency. Take the number of ways to hit each winning combination and multiply it by the value of the combination when playing one coin. Add up all those products and divide by the total number of combinations to get the one-coin long term payback.

To find the payback when playing other than one coin, the value used in the multiplication is the value used when playing that number of coins. We also have to divide by the number of coins played too.

U.S. machines do not have two virtual reel layouts, a losing layout and a winning layout. The RNGs do not change their "bitedness" based on past spins.

U.S. machines rely on nothing but the principles of Random Sampling with Replacement to guarantee that in the long run a machine's actual payback will be very close to the payback calculated from the layout of the symbols on the virtual reels. Slot regulations in the U.S. require that the outcome determined by the RNG must be displayed.

It's possible that a machine can show a loss for a while after it is put on the casino floor. It's even possible for a machine to hit the jackpot on the very first pull after it's put on the slot floor. As the machine gets more play, its actual payback will tend to get closer and closer to its calculated payback.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,