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Absolute Poker: Life After Cheating Scandal

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/15/2008

In an interview with the Card Player Magazine, Absolute Poker COO Paul Liggett acknowledged he had his work cut out for him after assuming a job with the company only weeks after it and sister online poker room, UltimateBet, were embroiled in a highly publicized cheating scandal.

AbsolutePoker and UltimateBet recently merged to become the Cereus Poker Network.  This was something the online poker firm had been working on for a while but was diverted by the cheating scandal.

Liggett believes Cereus will be better enabled to prevent such scandals in the future.

"This new layer of security, which is called our Security Center Software application, was built specifically for the CEREUS Network. Essentially, it's a security framework for advanced fraud algorithms that kind of alert our security team of any abnormal behavior. Things like detecting abnormal winning statistics or somebody who is multi-accounting or somebody who is chip dumping and currently we're enhancing it with many new methods, things like detecting bots. We can detect bots now, but we're adding in really advanced algorithms that will detect bots in a different way."

It's not just the new platform that should make players feel more comfortable, Liggett explains.

It's not just the platform to me, although it's a very, very important part of it. Essentially, obviously, our company, Tokwiro, was plagued with problems in recent years. Both sites they acquired had a cheating scandal on them. One was an internal employee at Absolute Poker and the company, I think, did everything it could to rectify the situation properly once it was discovered. And the UltimateBet scandal, inherited obviously from the previous owners, and we did everything we could to get to the bottom of everything and understand everything that happened, reimburse players with a lot of our money but we also received a settlement of $15 million from the previous owners, which I think, proves to everybody and shows that we really nothing to do with this. 

But we really fought to get the players their money back so I think we did everything we could to try to rectify these problems, but we really have also changed the entire company. 

We started with a complete new management team when I became COO in January of 2008. And we've implemented a new compliance team, a new specialized poker security department, we built this new security center, we've made huge strides with a bunch of regulatory compliance initiatives. Again, it's the whole company, it's the software, and now we're working on some advanced security initiatives that I think will really help people to feel comfortable.

UltimateBet.com has some of the most powerful endorsers in the biz behind them:  Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth, both of whom were interviewed by Gambling911.com this past week regarding their opinion of the whole cheating fiasco and their confidence that this online poker group will be bigger and better than ever before.

60 Minutes profiled the cheating scandal in a segment that aired in early December.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Pub        

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