This story covers a gambit of emotions. Depending on the point of view, you could easily change the title question to Who’s Dumber? Absolute Poker Cheaters or The Imitation Game.
That’s because if you want to get caught cheating, do exactly what the cheaters on the online poker site Absolute Poker did back in 2007.
In 2007, online poker players became suspicious of how a certain player was playing against them. This player seemed to know exactly what the opponents’ hole cards were and he played like it. The victims provided examples of these hands, which were very suspicious and others soon joined in the demand for answers.
Anyone who has ever played online poker knows that every hand is recorded. One of the players requested that Absolute Poker provide hand histories from the tournament. What the players received in return was much more than expected. It appears that someone from Absolute Poker sent a file with private information that would never be available to the public. Possibly it was a whistle blower.
The file contained every player’s hole cards, observations of the tables, and the IP addresses of every person playing. The IP trace showed strong evidence that someone at Absolute Poker knew about the cheating and was revealing there was an inside job. Thus at least one online poker player could see everyone’s cards and at least one inside person from Absolute Poker was helping him.
Here is a link to more interesting details of the evidence.
The evidence and the investigation is not what we want to point out. This is.
If the poker cheaters on Absolute Poker had any sense of control, they would have followed the example of Alan Turing and his team of Nazi code breakers featured in the movie The Imitation Game. By studying how Turing’s team used their advantage the poker cheaters at Absolute Poker would have learned how to never be caught. Unfortunately for them, The Imitation Game came out five years too late.
The move showcases how British intelligence MI6 recruited mathematics genius Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes during World War II , including Enigma. Enigma was used by the Nazis to plan events, attacks, battle strategies and a slew of other war decisions. Cryptanalysts had thought Enigma was unbreakable. Turing’s team analyzed Enigma messages while he built a machine to decipher them. They finally succeeded and became heroes.
What Turing’s team did which was significantly different from the cheaters at Absolute Poker is this. Once they cracked the code and knew when and where the Nazis were planning attacks. Higher administration decided when to use the information and when not to. They knew that if the Nazis found out they had deciphered their intelligence, the game would be up and the results of World War II would favor the Nazis more than the Allies. Thus they picked their spots on when to use it and when not to. According to the movie, it is estimated they saved millions of lives and shaved years off the war.
What did the poker cheaters on Absolute Poker do instead? They took their cheating advantage, and recklessly gave themselves up by making it so obvious they were cheating. Thus, they got caught cheating. If they had any restraint, the better strategy would have been to follow the example of the real people behind Imitation Game. They should have picked strategic times to attack and times to lose in order to not make it obvious they had an unknown and unfair advantage.
So what is the main lesson to learn from all this.
If the Golden Goose is laying Golden Eggs, don’t kill the Golden Goose! Milk it!