Friday, August 17, 2012

Documentary on the UB and Absolute Poker Online Poker Cheat Scams in the Works!

Source: World Poker Tour Magazine A new poker documentary is set to unveil in detail the true story behind the Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker cheating scandal and director Chris Bell and his production company are still trying to source interviews for the film.

The UB/Absolute “Super User” scandal was arguably the biggest case of fraud the online gaming industry has ever witnessed and saw countless online players scammed out of their money by site employees who had access to hole cards. Now four years on from the incident, there are still many people in the poker community wondering what exactly went on behind the scenes and – as a former poker pro affected by the scandal – Bell has vowed to release a film exploring the real story.

The documentary – appropriately titled “Ultimate Beat” – has already taken Bell years of research and only yesterday his production company Doublehead Pictures released a teaser trailer to give the poker world a sneak peak of what they can expect on its release. As a work in progress, Bell and Doublehead Pictures are still considering interviewees for the documentary, so if you have an interesting story concerning Ultimate Bet and the Super User scandal, don’t hesitate to get in touch with them at My take: Can't wait to see it!!

Nevada Casino Analyst Gets Nearly 5 Years in Prison for Player Club Points Cheat Scam

Source: Las Vegas Review Journal A former analyst with the state's largest casino company was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Monday in an elaborate player's club scheme on the Strip.

Tony Ahn, 29, who lost his job amid the cheating scandal, pleaded guilty in May to spearheading the conspiracy. He acknowledged betraying the trust of his company, then known as MGM Mirage, to unlawfully win $863,895 from slot machines.

U.S. District Judge James Mahan ordered Ahn on Monday to pay the entire $863,895 in restitution and serve two years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.The judge gave Ahn until Nov. 5 to surrender to federal prison authorities."This is an American tragedy to see you here," Mahan told Ahn. "You have so much potential. I hope you see this as a positive and turn your life around."

Ahn apologized to the judge and promised never to get in trouble with the law again."I definitely made a big mistake," he said. "There's no excuse for what I did." His lawyer, Thomas Pitaro, told Mahan that Ahn has "all the talent in the world" and hopes to make up for his wrongdoing when he gets out of prison.

In arguing for the 57 months behind bars, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu said Ahn had used inside company knowledge to plan the lucrative scheme and recruit members to it. Ahn used his company position to identify regular customers with unused free play points, then transferred the points to counterfeit players club cards and recruited people to play slot machines with the cards at the company's casinos along the Strip, Chu previously alleged in court papers.

Free play points earned by thousands of MGM Mirage club members, many of whom lived outside Nevada, were stolen between July 2009 and July 2010, according to prosecutors. The company under its new name, MGM Resorts International, owns 16 casinos in Nevada, including 10 on the Strip.

Four other indicted members of Ahn's ring - Joseph Ramirez, David Evans, David Pecor and Ahn's brother, Danny Ahn - have pleaded guilty and are waiting to be sentenced.

Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International, said at the time of Ahn's plea that the company's internal Fraud Control Group uncovered the scheme and reported it to Nevada gaming regulators and the FBI. The scheme unraveled in March 2010 after state authorities arrested one of the unindicted members of the group for playing with counterfeit players club cards. Shortly after the arrest, Ahn and the group took measures to cover their tracks. They buried a computer, card encoder, flash drive and blank player's club cards used in the scheme in the desert, prosecutors alleged. Months later, however, with the help of cooperating defendants, FBI agents dug up the items and impounded them as evidence.

My take: Once again, a rat within the cheat team brought down the mastermind. This whole scam is very reminiscent of the Ron Harris story. Harris, while working as a programmer and technician for the testing lab of the Nevada Gaming Control Board in the mid 90s, rigged slot jackpots and keno games to bilk casinos out of hundreds of thousands.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cheating Side Bets in Blackjack and Baccarat?

The popularity of side bets such as Lucky Lucky in blackjack and Dragon 7 in baccarat has been rising steadily. People have been asking me if these bets are targets of casino cheats any more than  the games' regular bets are. The answer to the question is no, mainly because the variety of these side bets are based on the initial deal and therefore allow less time to make a cheat move. It is worthy of note, however, that most of these side bets are vulnerable to card-counting and advantage play, especially Lucky Lucky on the blackjack tables. Some casinos won't let you bet much on Lucky Lucky while others are dealing less deeper into the decks, the same measures they take against regular-bet blackjack counters.