Saturday, January 09, 2010

Casino CheatsTortured! But Relax...It Was in Cambodia!

Remember the movie the "Killing Fields" about the torture and slaughter of millions of Cambodians during the Vietnam War? Well, of course the torture and killing has subsided since then, but apparently Cambodia is still torturing some people--and they happen to be casino cheats! Below is an article I found about it.

My advice: Don't bother trying to cheat casinos while in Cambodia!

Source: Phnom Penh Post--Sovan Philong

FOUR men were ordered into pretrial detention by Svay Rieng provincial court on Monday on suspicion of holding hostage and torturing two men suspected of cheating a casino, police said Wednesday.

Sing Kim Soeun and Sim Piseth, both 30, were taken hostage and tortured over suspicions they conspired with casino customers to steal money from the venue, police said.

Tanh Kinh Yung, a 34-year-old Malaysian who rented part of the casino from Sun City, and casino staffers Khou Nevan, a 28-year-old Indonesian, Chan Vuthy, 29, and Phan Sambath Romany, 24, have been charged with deliberate battery and illegal human detention.

Major General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, said police were tipped off by the casino owner.

“Our police forces stationed in the Svay Rieng province on Sunday operated a crackdown to free the two Cambodian hostages, who had been locked in a secret room and tortured for several days,” the major general said.

The two victims were allegedly stripped naked and placed in a closet at a Sun City hotel room on Friday. They were then subjected to several days of violence by their captors, according to investigating officials.

“They were seriously beaten with belts and walkie-talkies, injuring their heads to force them to confess to the conspiracy with other customers to cheat cash from the casino,” Chhay Sinarith said.

Tanh Kinh Yung and Khou Nevan confessed to beating the two victims in order to force a confession from them, police said. The two Cambodians – Chan Vuthy and Phan Sambath Romany – had no part in the beatings, police said, but simply brought the victims to the room where they were tortured under orders from their employer.

“It is an act of brutality,” Chhay Sinarith said.

“They didn’t follow the law, but violated the law, when they should have sent the two victims to the police over the accusations.”

UK's Gala Casinos Say They're Not Afraid of Cheats! Should They Be?

Source: Dominic Walsh TimesOnline

For decades the casino inspector has been seen as crucial to preventing gamblers from stacking the odds in their favour. Dressed in black tie, the inspectors would sit at the end of a roulette table, monitoring betting patterns and the behaviour of punters and croupiers to ensure that there was no cheating. I for one can vouch for this as during my career as the world's most prolific casino cheat, London's casinos were the toughtest to beat, especially the roulette wheels, each of which had an inspector sitting on a high chair right above the layout, who never took his eyes off it for a second. Sometimes I had to wait for the guy to sneeze to make a cheat move. That was the only way he'd close his eyes for a split-second!

But one of Britain’s biggest casino operators has decided to make big cuts to the number of inspectors it employs in an effort to cut costs and cash in on the growing sophistication of electronic surveillance. Gala Coral is to cut 53 inspectors at its four London casinos and is to review employment levels at its 22 regional venues.

In a confidential memo to staff that The Times has seen, the company reveals plans to reduce the ratio of inspectors to croupiers or dealers from the norm of 1 to 1.5 or 1 to 2 to a ratio of 1 to 3.

The memo reads: “Due to the current economic climate, the company requires to cut its costs.” It argues that the change, which has been approved by the Gambling Commission, owes also to “better working practices and security measures, including the centralised camera room”.

One veteran casino executive said: “Gala has obviously decided that the cost savings from having fewer inspectors will more than outweigh any additional losses from cheating. In practice, there is very little cheating, so it’s probably a good call.”

A Gala casino employee, who asked not to be named, said that longserving staff were being treated with “complete and utter contempt” by the company, and that the redundancies were “simply an exercise to sack higher-paid staff”.

But Neil Goulden, the Gala Coral chairman, denied last night that staff had been treated badly. He said: “It’s unfortunate but we needed to do it.” He added that many of those affected had been redeployed, and that those who had taken redundancy had been offered generous terms.

He claimed that in recent years, as numerous dealers had left, many inspectors had additionally taken on the dealing role. As a result, its London casinos had become “very top heavy” with inspectors.

Mr Goulden confirmed that there would be 53 redundancies among its London inspectors, saving £500,000, although the group would also be recruiting up to 50 dealers. He said there was less of an issue at its provincial clubs, adding: “We’re still looking at whether we need to do anything.”

He said that the latest cuts were part of a “massive efficiency drive” at the embattled group over the past two years as it reacted to the impact of the smoking ban, the recession and new gambling laws on its casinos, bingo clubs and betting shops. Over the past two years, the total number of employees has been reduced by 1,350 to 18,150, including 250 head-office staff. Many of the 1,000 bingo cuts were natural wastage.

News of the casino redundancies comes amid delays to the proposed refinancing of the group’s £2.5 billion debt burden. The company had hoped to have it arranged by Christmas, but an impasse has pushed back a solution until next month. People close to the process reckon that the senior lenders will reject a £300 million equity injection from Blackstone and Permira and opt to convert £540 million of mezzanine debt into equity.

So, should all the poker cheat and casino cheat teams of the world unite and attack Gala Casinos? Absolutely. If they're reducing their anti-cheat staff, they're increasing the odds of successful cheat moves.

Watch Out in South American Brick and Mortar Poker Rooms!

The staffs in South American casinos are really behind, and it shows up heavily in their poker rooms. There is an abundance of cheating, much of which is fueled by the casinos' poker room policies. For example, poker rooms in Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Chile replace the cards much less often than is seen in the US and Europe, and the quality of the cards some use is certainly inferior. This has led to a swath of card-marking teams, some amateurish, others professional, but they all manage to make money cheating without much fear of getting caught.

Argentina, the most important South American gambling capital, seems to be above the rest of the field on the continent, though I have had reports of a few American and Russian collusion teams working Argentine poker rooms.

No Moron! You Can't Win Against the Casino Playing Blackjack Switch...Unless You Cheat!

Perhaps you've heard of the new casino game "Blackjack Switch," which is a variant of blackjack in which a player is dealt two hands and is allowed to switch the top two cards between hands. For example, if the player is dealt A-5 and 10-6, then the player may swap the top two cards of each hand to make hands of A-10 blackjack and 5-6, a good double-down hand. But the Catch 00 is that blackjacks are paid 1:1 instead of the standard 3:2, and a dealer 22 pushes all player hands except a blackjack.

Believe it or not, I have gotten a dozen e-mails asking me if this was a game where the casinos were letting the players cheat the house! LOL. Can you believe that?!

Well, for those of you who want to cheat at Blackkack Switch, you better do some switching with something besides the cards--try the chips!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Should Poker Players Be Able to Change Their Online Names At Will? Takes a Look

According to Michael Freidman and Nicole Gordon of, whose article appears below, "it's an interesting question that needs some debate along with the online cheating issues. The recent debates regarding data mining in online poker has brought about a strong contingency of players who feel strongly about both sides of the issue. Adding some fuel to the fire is the Cake Poker Policy which allows players to change screen names every seven days. Here is both sides on whether or not this is good for online poker. You decide if it is good or not.

Knowing Who You Are Playing is a Big Part of the Game!

Knowing who your opponents are and how they play is a key element in poker, and Cake Poker's decision to allow players to switch names makes it impossible to know who you are playing against. Without knowing your opponent, you are at a disadvantage because you can't make judgments based on previous performances in various situations.

Although some people may say that profiling an opponent online is not a big deal when it comes to table strategy, tell that to the higher-stakes players who make their livings finding the leaks in weaker player's games.

Knowing who you are playing and how he or she performs is crucial to making the right decisions, so taking away a player's ability to do this changes the potential outcome of every hand.

The ability to change names adds a security risk for all players because you'll never know who you are playing. If players can change names every seven days, stronger players can take advantage of weaker ones by switching profiles regularly and dropping to lower levels of the "pokersphere."

This masquerade is unfair to weaker players because they have no idea that the sharks have dropped down to pick off the easy money. In essence, weaker players, often young and new at the game, have no protection against being taken advantage of, and they have no way to recognize that they are in over their heads.

It was the long-term play of cheater Russ Hamilton that ended up getting him caught. If there had been no data because he was able to change screen names regularly, there would have been much less of a chance of him being caught.

Because it is difficult to prove that people are colluding or cheating individually, one has to wonder how the removal of this layer of security benefits players. Hamilton got caught primarily because players were allowed to track his performance and find the irregularities. I shudder to think of how difficult it would have been to prove his guilt if had he been able to change his screen name every week.

Some believe that players should have the option to change their screen name regularly.

Cake Poker has a policy in place that they believe could revolutionize online poker. The site gives its players the opportunity to change screen names every seven days.

In an age of the online game when a player’s edge over his opponents is increasingly being determined by how much data he or she can collect on them, giving players the choice to return to anonymity could go a long way toward leveling the playing field again. Imagine if the larger U.S.-facing sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars allowed their players this choice. Tracking sites might go out of business, but the game itself would return to a purer time.

Sit down in any no-limit hold’em cash game or sit-n-go on Full Tilt or Poker Stars and it’s a strong probability that you’ll be playing against several regulars who have already pulled your stats off a site like PokerTableRatings or SharkScope. They know how much you’ve won. They know how much you've lost. They know how many hands you’ve played and when you played them. In the case of PokerTableRatings, they can look at an instant “report card” on your play and know whether you’re a tight-aggressive beast or a virtual ATM. Anonymity at the online tables is a thing of the past.

With mounds and mounds of data available at anyone’s fingertips, much of the soul has been sucked out of the online game. So much of the skill element in poker is about reading players, detecting betting patterns, anticipating our opponents’ moves and reacting appropriately. However, when a database is already telling you that in over 85,000 hands "JoeBlow420" raises only his top 15% of hands preflop but gets a C- for his play on the turn, your decisions can become robotic.

But what of the Ultimate Bet scandal? Didn’t all that chicanery go undetected for years because the superusers were constantly changing their screen names? Yes, but Russ Hamilton & Co. were also changing accounts. On Cake Poker your account is your account and your IP address is your IP address. It’s only the name that is visible to your opponents that can change.

Even with the option to change their screen names, many players would still choose not to do so. Online stars like “OMGClayAiken,” “gboro780” and “stevesbets” have built huge reputations surrounding those screen names and may still want them to invoke the fear of God in their opponents. But for your average low or middle-stakes cash game player, the ability to pull a virtual baseball cap over one’s eyes could transform their games and their results."

Got an opinion on this? Let me know.

Why is Full Tilt Poker in My Top Ten Safest Online Poker Room Ratings?

Of course you are all by now familiar with the online poker scandal at Full Tilt Poker concerning poker pros Brian Townsend and Brian Hastings in which Townsend's Full Tilt status was suspended. I am getting e-mails saying my online poker ratings Top Ten safety list is inaccurate since Full Tilt is on it while at the same time it is smeared with all the recent cheat allegations. But in some cases, such as Full Tilt's, the online poker site in question becomes safer immediately after a cheating scam breaks. That's because the operators and administrators start cleaning up their act right away. See what I mean? What I'm saying is that it takes an online poker black eye to improve the overall poker complexion. So yes, as of now Full Tilt merits being rated number 9 on my oonline poker safety ratings list.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Full Tilt online poker cheating scandal, this 4-Flush article covers it pretty well:

Brian Townsend’s Full Tilt Pro Status Suspended in Connection with Data Mining Accusations

The accusation was laid out over the last few days, in fact, we covered it here briefly yesterday Rule breaking by a group of Full Tilt Poker's pro's, Brian Townsend, not Brian Hastings, we'd like to first clear up any confusion and make that clear.

That means the guys Full Tilt Poker has hand picked to represent their online poker website could very well be cheating the very customers that support them.

In short, they admitted to at the very least colluding by sharing their hand histories in effort to gain an edge over isildur1. In fact, the rumor is that Full Tilt Poker has removed Brian Townsend's pro status for one month for his alleged part in the alleged $4 million dollar collusion ring.

Who knows how often this sort of thing is done, or how many get away with it on a daily basis, or if there's even a way to track team poker play against individuals on a day to day basis (commonly coined collusion). However when $4 million is removed from the coffers of a customer (isildur1) poker players tend to take notice.

ESPN first blew this story wide open, without even knowing it. Kudos went out to them from across the web. Whether it was people that agreed that isildur1 was cheated robbed, or people that assume everyone breaks the rules so no one, not even the online poker sites own representatives should have to follow them, everyone knew that Brian Townsend said in an interview that he and the boys at Card Runners (3 Full Tilt Poker Pro's) worked together to bust isildur1.

"Hastings had played Isildur1 three times previously, so he, Townsend and Cole South conglomerated their hand histories, allowing them to study the mystery man's playing style."

In that same article, the author brings up one player per hand rules... in defense of... The Cardrunners Three.

There are some who are bringing into question the validity of the work the CardRunners guys did in conjunction with one another. Cries of "One player per hand!"

He goes on later in the interview to point out that:

"By working together, this poker study group has put the pieces together quicker than ever, but in the new online age, improving efficiency is almost always the priority."

Brian chimes in:
"At that level, to be successful, you really have to take advantage of the little things," Hastings added. "They can help make the difference. That's why [the off-table analysis Townsend has been doing] is so important."

Where do we draw the line here however? A player in any sport looking to face a strong opponent would be heavily criticized if he did no due diligence. It is expected that every player do his best to look into other players. Using their own tools, insight and information to guide them.

In his response to the poker communities "pitchforks and torches calling for the hangings of the two Brians." Wise of ESPN assures us that "I spoke to Townsend and he informed me all of his actions were within the rules of FTP, mentioning his use of the presently sanctioned Hold'Em Manager."

After making this statement in this 2nd article, it seems as though Wise begins to set off smoke bombs, while walking through the house of mirrors.. Just like magic, the article changes, and the UIGEA becomes the topic.. Banks, and Customer service were mentioned, the legalities of poker in the United States and whether or not banks are enforcers...

He mentions diligently that Full Tilt Poker is a major supporter of the Poker Players Alliance, and he points out that ... "like the banks, the players aren't in the business of enforcement."

In his final paragraph, Mr. Wise felt the need to point out that he is not saying cheating is ok..

In a perfect world, we'd recognize the realities of what the advances in person-to-person communications mean to the online game and change the rules accordingly. That's not going to happen though. Admitting reality might scare the fish away. You can't touch the bottom line.

For those online poker fans that weren't following this story, we bring you a paraphrased recap from

Brian Hastings make's $3,234,543.20 in just under 5 hours. Which works out to $646,908.64 / hour and $1,261 per hand over 2565 hands. Isildur1 would be on major tilt, while at the same time running bad.

In that article the author speculates that perhaps the reason Hastings dropped his backers just prior to this match is because he was stacked in part by the other 2 of the Musketeers, Brian Townsend and Cole South.

Mr. Hastings defends his teammates on his blog in the following quote:

“I wanted to clear up some allegations about Brian Hastings, Cole South and myself. First Brian H. Cole S and myself never colluded. Collusion is nearly impossible HU but there was always one person playing and never any ghosting occurring. In fact the only person to break the T&C of FullTilt Poker was myself. I had about 20k hands of play on Isildur and I acquired another 30k hands. This is against the T&C of FullTilt Poker and because of this violation I am going to have my red pro status suspended for one month.”

We emailed Full Tilt Poker for comment, so far we've received the following response:

This is an automated response to confirm we've received your email, and a representative will respond to you as soon as possible.

FBI Says Online Poker Cheating is Easy!

Source: Bob Hartman,

A letter from a top FBI official to US Representative Spencer Bachus states that online poker cheating can occur by several methods. The anti-gambling demagogue is collecting whatever evidence he can dredge up to slow the momentum gathering behind the regulation of online gambling, and revealed the letter today at the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Internet gaming.

The letter was written November 13th by Shawn Henry, who is FBI Assistant Director in charge of the cyber division. Henry asserts that players can unite or exploit technology to artificially affect results at Internet poker.

"There are several ways to cheat at online poker, none of which are legal,? wrote Henry. ?The online poker vendors could detect this activity and put in place safeguards to discourage cheating, although it is unclear what the incentive would be for the vendor."

Regulation could require licensed online gambling sites to use technology to guard against fraud, just as is expected to prevent money laundering and underage participation. Without government oversight, consumers at online poker sites are left vulnerable to the manipulation Henry describes.

Online poker cheating at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet was uncovered by observant players, who meticulously documented unlikely play results to eventually reveal corrupted software employed by the gambling sites. Certainly, vendors who are well-protected against cheating would have the incentive of drawing business from sites that could not verify games are honest.