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Top NFL Games Mean Strong Ratings for 60 Minutes Poker Story

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/27/2008
Absolute Poker

Sometimes good stories are missed on 60 Minutes as a result of NFL games being played out past the 7 pm EST hour on Fox.  That won't happen this Sunday when 60 Minutes is scheduled to broadcast a segment on the much publicized Absolute Poker
scandal.

Whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen.  The online poker industry as a whole could be hurt if depicted in a negative spotlight (which early on looks to be the case).  Then again, poker pros who have made a living playing online poker will also be profiled and that could provide inspiration for aspiring players to start opening accounts on the Web.

In any event, the 60 Minutes segment promises top viewership.  That's because the lead-in games broadcast the second half of Sunday afternoon are among the best.  Depending on the market, viewers will be able to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers at New England or the Denver Broncos in the Meadowlands playing the red hot New York Jets.  Some will get Oakland vs. Kansas City, which is still a draw despite the poor performance of both teams this season.  On Fox, Atlanta plays in San Diego, but only a small percentage of the nation will be watching this game and there is no guarantee it will go past the 7 o'clock hour or otherwise be worth watching beyond that time.  San Diego viewers will be able to catch 60 Minutes later on in the evening anyway.

The results of the four-month investigation by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, producer Ira Rosen and The Washington Post's two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Gilbert Gaul will appear this Sunday, November 30, at 7 p.m. EST/PST on 60 Minutes.  

"He was raising, just really, really bad hands against very good hands. He seemed to play crazy," says Todd Witteles, a computer scientist turned poker player who believed he was losing too much to the same person. "It seemed like he was giving his money away. Except the only thing was, he wasn't losing. He was playing in a style that was sure to lose, but he was killing the game day after day," Witteles, who played a key detective role, remembers.

Michael Josem, a player and a computer security expert, plotted the odds of such consistent success. "We did the mathematical analysis to find that they were winning at about 15 standard deviations above the mean...approximately equivalent to winning a one-in-a-million jackpot six consecutive times."

The cheating netted the culprits more than $20 million.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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