Here’s a mystery story to distract you from the U.S. Banking Apocalypse. UltimateBet.com, “one of the top 10 poker sites,” has admitted that employees manipulated the software to cheat from at least January 2005 to January 2008, when some players started noticing an unusually high rate of wins for a certain user name. An Australian player mapped that user’s wins against accounts that had played a similar number of hands, and realized that “NioNio’s” wins were “less likely than ‘winning a one-in-a-million lottery on four consecutive days.’” But NioNio is just one part of the mystery.
As the players continued to dig, they concluded that NioNio was at the center of a web of accounts that were able to change user names with ease, making it harder for victims to detect the cheating.
UltimateBets launched an investigation when the players brought this to their attention, and in March of this year they issued a confirmation that certain players had been cheating by taking advantage of malicious code that had been inserted by prior employees.
As of September, no one has been named in the scandal, although some players have named a poker pro. Two other poker pros visited him in person, with a lawyer present, and now say they’re no longer sure he was the culprit—or at least not the main culprit.
Another problem is that the company that claims ownership of UltimateBet—”Tokwiro Enterprises, headquartered in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in southern Canada”—may be a front for Blast-Off Ltd., which has filed an $85 million claim against UltimateBet. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has ordered an investigation of UltimateBet, but that’s not comforting some victims:
[Tokwiro] has issued some refunds and promised to repay any players who lost money once an outside investigation is completed. But many players who haven’t received credits remain fearful they will never see a dime.
“Poker site cheating plot a high-stakes whodunit” [MSNBC] (Thanks to Patrick!)