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Poker Cheaters Story Airs on 60 Minutes

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/30/2008
60 Minutes Poker Cheating

The much anticipated poker cheaters story aired Sunday night on the most watched news magazine, 60 Minutes.  The story was heavily promoted throughout Sunday's NFL games including two marquee late afternoon games airing on CBS.  Those game time plugs were enticing to be certain:  "The great poker cheaters who swindled millions of dollars and got away with it."

"He was raising, just really, really bad hands against very good hands. He seemed to play crazy," Todd Witteles said of the cheater.  Witteles is 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 more than $20 million.

In the wild wild West, if you were caught gambling, it was a capital felony, 60 Minutes started off their segment.   That didn't happen in the case of AbsolutePoker.com, which was the center of the report. 

What got poker players most angry was that Absolute Poker cut a deal with the cheater in exchange for explanation to how he did it, according to the report. 

Frank Catania, the one time director of New Jersey"s Division of Gaming Enforcement, said "we owe it to the players in uncovering what happened."

The cheater was revealed as World Series of Poker winner, Russ Hamilton.  He and five co-conspirators seem to be getting away with it, the 60 Minutes report stated. 

60 Minutes didn't have much time locating Russ Hamilton.  They simply called his Las Vegas home.   

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