Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

Summary: MSNBC outed Ultimate Bet last week as being under investigation for enabling certain users to cheat their regulars out of tens of millions of dollars. The cheat involved allowing certain customers were able to view the hole cards of opponents.

SHARE:

MSNBC outed Ultimate Bet last week as being under investigation for enabling certain users to cheat their regulars out of tens of millions of dollars. The cheat involved allowing certain customers were able to view the hole cards of opponents. Like other incidences of online poker fraud, this one was an inside job:

The company blamed the intrusion on “individuals … (who) worked for the previous ownership of UltimateBet prior to the sale of the business to Tokwiro in October 2006.”

It is interesting that the same people who are behind the code base that runs UltimateBet are also running a security start-up called Iovation, which basically claims to approximately identify end clients and provide a second authentication factor for fraud prevention. Hopefully the Iovation team will disclose their involvement in the UltimateBet fraud case.

Also, MSNBC, online poker drop in popularity may not be related to the discovery of cheating scandals on poker websites. It could just be that the poker fad has run its course. Correlation is not causation.

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Legal, Security, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

15 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • And this is Zero Day material because...?

    Where's the computer security bit of the story?
    alecco
  • RE: Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

    That's a funny comment.
    escale@...
    • RE: Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

      @escale@...
      That is why I prefer <a href="http://www.betcroc.com/en-US/sports">BetCroc Sports betting</a>. It's much safer and more transparent in my opinion. The only thing that can happen is to encounter a fixed game.
      jamesTT
  • RE: Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

    Well Duh! There is no "true" security value in this story. Gambling is inherently insecure.
    Most gamblers believe they are a immune to all forms of dangers so they can "gamble" their way though things and some of the time they win but the most of the they lose. However with online or electronic poker the house can skew the results in favor of the house most of the time and since there is no regulation of these online gambling sites they can do anything without worry about regulators knocking on their door. Also most if not all of these gambling sites are off-shored out of US regulators reach so even if you had something to complain about you can't do anything about it.
    At least if your are in Las Vegas or Atlantic City there are some regulations and you have a better chance of winning something.
    "Casinos and prostitutes have the same thing in common; they are both trying to screw you out of your money and send you home with a smile on you face." ~VP Pappy
    phatkat
    • Iovation Is The Security Story

      The fact that a security company is mentioned in the article is the security story.
      sixminutemile
    • Difference Between "Gambling" and Poker

      "Gambling is inherently insecure." Okay, you are certainly entitled to that opinion, but understand that poker is not gambling in the same sense of the word. Poker, like chess and backgammon, is a skill game, that is played for money. In fact, many of the best poker players in the world got their start in chess and backgammon and are former world champions in each. So, let's be sure that proper perspective is given to the game at play here and the types of people who play them.

      Second, "with online or electronic poker the house can skew the results in favor of the house" -- that comment shows a clear lack of understanding about what the issue at hand is, or about your knowledge of online poker as a whole. The house ALWAYS wins in online or casino poker because they are NOT playing against anyone. The way they make their money is via "the rake", a fixed percentage of each pot that the house gets, essentially as a "service charge" for providing the forum for players to compete. The same holds true at brick-n-mortar casinos, though in some instances in lieu of the rake, the house charges players a fixed rate per hour or half-hour to play at the table. So, the "house" isn't what is at play here.

      What the issue is, is that some craft folks figured out a way to install some code that would enable the *player* to see the hole cards of the other players (the two "hidden", unknown cards). This provides an enormous advantage to the player who has the ability to see what everyone is playing with. So, the issue is about the insider threat, how that code wound up in the software to begin with and lastly, the fact that while blatant fraudulent activity was taking place, and there were supposedly anti-fraud solutions in place, the activity just so happened to go undetected for a three year period. Pretty crafty work but the characters who managed to pull this off. Thankfully, there were some smart enough online players who caught on to this by detecting the obvious anomalous behavior, and reported it.
      twhitman@...
      • What?

        Uhh, did you have anything to say there besides regurgitating the obvious? Jeez,
        twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
        • It appears that may have been needed

          It seems that a few people who posted didn't get it.

          Whats the computer security threat? Come on. Nothing is a computer security threat unless it involves computers, and it either does, or could cost you time money or other related troubles.

          This clearly involves computers. Last I heard there were more then just a few online poker players, so it might be a computer issue important to many people. And the threat? Inside job hacking to alter the base program in such a way that people paying to use it will be defrauded of their money.

          It qualifies.
          Cayble
      • "Poker, like chess and backgammon, is a skill game"

        Um, no. NOT like chess. Backgammon, maybe. Chess? Absolutely, categorically not.

        Chess is a completely deterministic game. Nothing is hidden, both players are always able to see every piece on the board, and there is absolutely no element of chance whatsoever in the game.

        Poker may be a game of skill, but it involves a huge element of chance. That's what makes it "gambling."

        The notion that the ranks of professional poker players are filled with former chess champions is simply silly.

        "that comment shows a clear lack of understanding about what the issue at hand is"

        Not really. In fact, it's pretty much spot-on.
        The company was allowing SOME of its members to see the hole cards of other members. This was not an outsider hacking the system and exploiting a weakness. This was a deliberate act of fraud by the company. And I guarantee you that the company benefited from this.
        bmerc
    • how to win baccarat

      teach you how to win baccarat:baccarat is a casino game that played all over the world. It deals two hands of poker, the player and the banker. All the gamblers can bet on the BANKER,so,how to win baccarat? plaese visit http://www.baccaratcheat.com/
      baccaratch
  • The Security Story is ...

    Good catch; and a good point.
    twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
  • RE: Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

    I will tell you this. I have played many hands of poker on that site, and know that I am a better player than what was going on there. I play live poker, and do much better than that place. I thought we had a chance, but there is no way we had a fair shake. I am sucker, and I admit it, but not another dime goes to them.
    boblinde@...
    • The problem is...

      the exact same thing could happen at any site. And you might never know.
      bmerc
  • RE: Another online poker site caught cheating: UltimateBet

    There will always be cheaters in poker.
    And with this much money floating around it was inevitable.
    Instead of putting in coolers, bottom dealing, stacking the deck (as in my day)...they have the computer savvy people taking the suckers money.
    Cutting off their supply is stupid. The rake alone is enough to make these companies millions! Greed, pure greed.
    What stupid people. The jig is up as they say,lol. But taking a really nice source of entertainment away from us smalltime players. Too bad, sigh.
    blackiejoe
  • baccarat cheat table

    Winning baccarat is very exciting. So which baccarat cheating system you will choose to win the game. You can see there are many kinds of products in the market and a suitable system can let you win the game easily and safely. http://www.baccaratcheat.com/products/
    cheatbaccarat