A huge scandal is growing in the online poker community after an insider revealed a team of Russian online poker scammers.
Poker collusion is not a new thing, even centuries ago when poker was first invented sharpers and cons were always after easy money by fooling ordinary players. However, during the times of Wild West, if a sharper was caught – he was shot on the spot.
The new age brought new ways to enjoy poker – the internet. Sharpers moved on the world wide web and invented new ways to steal money from honest poker enthusiasts. It is now called collusion, playing with a “friend” or a group of people on one table and sharing hole cards in order to control the game. An activity most online poker operators are constantly battling, but since more and more people are doing it on a daily basis, there’s just no way to exclude and ban everyone.
The current Russian poker situation
Online poker sites in Russian Federation are banned. Just like any other form of gambling pretty much. Yes, there are the four designated gambling zones, but they are both underdeveloped if at all taken care of, and are located in very remote regions, leaving the local population without any legal means to gamble.
Since the change in the Russian gambling laws, both land-based and online poker has moved underground. Online enthusiasts resort to playing at a variety of foreign-based sites, finding new ways to deposit and withdraw funds every month. No wonder some of them are interested in cheating others.
Online poker collusion
Cheating at online poker is fairly simple: one or several people create multiple accounts and go play at one tablet against a couple of “normal” poker fans. They share their hole cards, and thanks to this information control the game ultimately busting the victims out of their cash.
The cheating can be done by one person or a group of people, making whole businesses out of this activity. Clever ones change their account info on a daily basis, and naturally use a lot of techy stuff to hide their IPs and real registration information.
Russian poker cheats
Alleged cheating poker operation revealed in Russia
• Unconfirmed insider information sheds light on poker collusion club in Moscow
• Land-based and online poker is banned under Russian gambling laws
• Authorities are yet to comment on the revelations
While poker collusion can’t be country specific, the Russians have a reputation of being the best at what’s illegal, take hackers for instance, the FBI most wanted list is full of Russian computer geniuses. Russian gambling news have recently received alleged insider information on one of such operations in the country.
Alleged rumor has it that Eugene ‘TechMePls’ Serebryakov, and Maxim ‘MaxKatz’ Katz have established a sort of “poker HQ” whose sole purpose is to facilitate poker collusion operations and cheat online poker players at various sites out of their hard-earned cash.
Moreover, the cheating poker operation is allegedly located in the same office as City Projects, crowd-funding operation looking to improve the way Russian cities look and function. The poker HQ was established 2 years ago, and according to the alleged insider info was welcoming employees for 3-5 year contract with subsequent possibility to buy them out.
Apparently the operators of the cheating club didn’t force employees to play from multiple accounts, but were constantly saying that it’s more profitable that way. A full infrastructure for multi-account play was created: comfy desks with several monitors, keyboards, mice, and other PC apparel. Accounts were created in friend’s and friends of friends’ names.
Has anyone addressed the issue?
It is yet unknown, if the operation is still running or not. It’s safe to assume that it’s been moved from the alleged address. It’s also very hard to estimate just how big the profits of the “poker HQ” were. If they were considerable, there’s a real chance it has been simply moved somewhere else and more precautions have been taken.
Naturally, the information about the leaders of the “project” is totally unconfirmed and is based on rumors and alleged insider information leaked onto the internet. However, it’s safe to assume that the law enforcement agencies have already shown “interest” in the operation and the investigation is under way.
As for the City Projects, their supporters should really think what kind of operation they are supporting with their money. If the office was indeed located in the same spot as the “poker HQ”, it’s almost certain that the crowd-funding money was used in the cheating poker activity.