Notable Poker Scandals that Rocked the Gambling Industry

You’ve seen the movies and heard the news- cheating is very much prevalent in the poker world. It can be found both in underground and legitimate casino-sanctioned games. While casinos have always made it a point to always be one step ahead of cheaters, new cheating tactics and technology still allow unscrupulous players to game the system.


Understandably, full-scale cheating has cross over to the online poker world. The advent of online gambling has seen the rise of elaborate cheating scandals that managed to filch millions of dollars from unsuspecting players. Here are a few that rocked the headlines recently:

1. FullTilt Was a Massive Ponzi Scheme According to Feds


This one came as a disappointing surprise when the news first broke out due in part to the large number of high profile poker players that were involved. According to the Department of Justice, FullTilt executives and personalities (which include Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey) stuffed their pockets with more than $400 million in monthly dividends from 2007 to 2011, while the company itself was wallowing in insolvency. As of this writing, the case has already been settled in court yet the damage against thousands of loyal Full Tilt customers cannot be repaired again.

2. Cereus Poker Network Employed Cheats


Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were once part of the Cereus Poker Network, and both companies, in the early to mid 2000s, have been involved in the midst of cheating scandals committed by their own employees. For example, online gambling forums reported the existence of a “superuser” in Absolute Poker. This superuser supposedly had the ability to read other players’ hole cards during. Upon the review of the superuser’s tournament history, the forumers’ suspicions were confirmed. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Absolute Poker’s system can be compromised by someone who works internally for them and have access to their security systems. A similar scandal was also uncovered in Ultimate Bet.

3. PokerBet Goes Down Along With Its Players’ Money


Founded by child prodigy Dutch Boyd (who attended college at the age of 12 and graduated from law school at age 18), PokerBet initially capitalized on the burgeoning online poker scene. It was among the earliest online poker rooms at the time, and naturally, people were pretty much gung ho on the concept. After nearly a year after opening, players found themselves unable to cash out their money from the site. As of 2013, Boyd still hasn’t been able to return at least $400,000 of PokerBet players’ money. Since there was still no regulating laws that covered gambling sites back then, so that the upset players have no legal way with which to retrieve their money.


Online gambling comes with its own inherent risks that are not limited to plain addiction alone. When you’re playing online, you’re basically entrusting your money to an unseen entity. It pays to be vigilant. Join forums and other communities of online gambling enthusiasts so that you’ll know which sites to avoid and which to patronize.

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