Four months of collaborative journalistic investigation by the Washington Post and CBS television's famed "60 Minutes" television producers culminate this weekend in the much anticipated screening of an expose on the multi-million dollar online poker cheating scandals at UltimateBet and Absolute Poker.
The program will be screened in the United States on November 30th at 7pm ET, and according to CBS pre-publicity material reveals how online poker players who suspected that cheating was going on were forced to successfully ferret out the cheaters themselves. "That's because managers of the mostly-unregulated $18 billion Internet gambling industry failed to respond to their complaints," claims the blurb.
60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, producer Ira Rosen and The Washington Post’s two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Gilbert Gaul will appear in the program, along with a host of players and experts involved in the scandal.
"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 in the scandal, 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."
It is known that Mike Sexton, Greg Raymer and Linda Johnson were also interviewed by the producers.
The cheating, which netted the cheaters more than $20 million claims the Sixty Minutes publicity material, occurred on two of the Internet's most popular sites, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet.
"The two sites operate out of a shopping mall in Costa Rica and run their games on computer servers housed on an Indian reservation outside of Montreal," the material informs viewers. "They are licensed by a Mohawk tribe that has no background in casino gambling, a tribe that previously made the majority of its money selling tax-free tobacco. Though such gambling is illegal in both Canada and the U.S., the betting laws in those countries have no jurisdiction on the sovereign reservation."
Headlined "How Online Gamblers Unmasked Cheaters," the program is sure to attract a wide viewership among online gamblers, who have followed developments in the scandal on message boards and information websites over the past year or more.
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