60 Minutes considering Absolute Poker story

I’ve been holding off on telling people about this because the 60 Minutes producer prefers that it be kept under wraps for the time being, but it appears that some other poker news sources are jumping at the opportunity to break this story. I don’t think I can reasonably sit on this any longer. Therefore, I am going to go ahead and just let the information out of the bag.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by 60 Minutes in conjunction with a reporter from the Washington Post regarding a story about the Absolute Poker scandal from last fall. I was told that they wanted Adanthar and myself for on-camera interviews with Steve Kroft. I later found out they were also interested in interviewing Michael Josem and Marco Johnson. Basically, I spent a little while on the phone with the producer and the Washington Post reporter and recapped the whole story as well as I could from memory. I talked about my involvement and contribution, along with all the other people who were involved.

After that conversation, I found out that 60 Minutes plans on going to a number of different locations. I’ve heard that Canada, Costa Rica and Las Vegas are all possible travel locations. I may or may not be meeting up with 60 Minutes in Costa Rica, if and when they come down. There’s also the possibility that I will end up on-camera in Atlanta.

In terms of agenda, I’ve been told that the goal is to “tell the story from soup to nuts.” I don’t really know if that means a negative agenda for online poker, but I get the feeling that it might. That means that this story is unlikely to be a good thing for online poker on the whole. I wish that programs like 60 Minutes would always tell the whole story (ie, get PokerStars involved, explain why some sites are secure and clean, etc), but I can’t really be sure that will happen. If I do end up on-camera, I will be sure to explain that this scandal was online poker’s “Enron” — ie, the biggest and worst scandal in the history of the industry. It is not a commonplace occurrence and people should not take it as such.

In terms of the “certainty” that this will get on the air… I’m not sure. I’ve been told that it’s definitely happening. But, considering that it has not been shot yet, anything is possible. And if it does end up on the air, I have no idea when that will be or what the 60 Minutes airing schedule looks like.

I’ll post more as I get more information.

EDIT: If you’d like to read the post that I made last October during the scandal, here’s a link: Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal.

24 thoughts on “60 Minutes considering Absolute Poker story

  1. Pingback: 60 Minutes to Do Major Story on Online Poker?

  2. Gnug315

    I think this may well be a situation where it hurts short term to blow the scandal wide open (ruins the public view of online poker), but is for the good of the industry on the whole (punishes sites that allow cheating as hard as possible, so that they have more incentive to stay as clean as possible ion the future).

    Personally, I’d like AP to be punished by complete and total bankruptcy. I’d like to see the major sites spend some of their huge profit margins on avoiding anything like this from ever happening again. Security is a cost of business almost everywhere (just look at the airline industry).

  3. Getta Clue

    >In terms of agenda, I’ve been told that the goal is to “tell the story from soup to nuts.”I don’t really know if that means a negative agenda for online poker, but I get the feeling that it might.That means that this story is unlikely to be a good thing for online poker on the whole.I wish that programs like 60 Minutes would always tell the whole story (ie, get PokerStars involved, explain why some sites are secure and clean, etc), but I can’t really be sure that will happen.<

    It’s NOT going to happen. They have an agenda against gambling, and this is going to be a hit job. I can’t tell you what to do, but you aren’t going to get them to do anything positive. With you staying out of it, it just might kill what I am certain will be a VERY negative story. We don’t need this right now, with things that are going on legislation-wise.

    Here’s the Stahl story, refresh your memory:


  4. josh

    This story needs to be aired. People need to know what happened so it doesnt happen to them. I hope this will lead to online poker somehow being held more accountalbe for its actions. The indiviguals who were involved in the cheating at absolute poker should be behind bars right now. I hope sixty minutes tries to track these low lifes down.

  5. Bankroll Boost

    I expect 60 minutes will turn this into a smear campaign against online poker in general. I think the important things are to ensure that the facts are kept straight that this was a one time thing with AP and like you said, that these situations aren’t commonplace. Try not to say too much, because if you give them a lot of material to work with, chances are they will just edit out anything positive you do have to say.

    Good luck!

  6. runout_mick

    When they film you you have to sign a release, right?

    Can you not place a stipulation in the release that they can only air your comments if “X” is included, Where “X” is the exact transcript of your explanation that this is not commonplace, and many reputable sites exist?

  7. JamesAt15

    I doubt you would be able to modify the release – they’ll probably state apologetically but firmly that they need to retain editorial control of their program, so cannot agree to that. Even if you insisted, they’d probably just get the story from you, then not air any of your footage and just get a soundbite from Adanthar or one of the other players instead.

    Probably they will come across to you as friendly and sympathetic to your position, to try to get you to speak at length and unguardedly. They want to do a soup-to-nuts coverage of this story in the 17 minutes they have for the segment, doncha know, so they’ll want you to tell them EVERYTHING. Likely you will find that whatever you tell them, they’ll probably only use one or two sentences that match up with whatever slant they decide to take on the issue, so be careful what soundbites you give them.

    I think it’s a good thing the story gets out there, but who knows the slant they will take.

  8. Shorty

    While there will likely be some negative fallout from the story, (1) the story will only be more informed (and more favorable) with your participation and (2) it is an inevitable byproduct of online poker going “mainstream”. We cant hide the industry’s failings — what we need to do is create an acceptance that it is a legitimate industry (insert discussion that virtually every other country in civilized world regulates it as legitimate) that, like all industries, has its benefits and failings. Calling this “our Enron” only emphasizes the failings (and creates a nice repeatable soundbite that only hurts the perception issues).

    It would be nice to see emphasis on the “benefits”. A great message would be “here is an industry generating hundreds of millions of tax dollars that is screaming out for regulation (as it is in the EU and most other places) — but our dysfunctional Congress ignores it….even against a backdrop of record national debt, etc.”

    If there is any group more disdained than “gamblers” it is politicians. I would much rather see the trailer for the show quoting you saying “please regulate us” than “this was our Enron”….

    But in all cases, the poker world is much better due to your efforts..thanks.

  9. Dan M

    #7 = not smart.

    Why should we be afraid of the truth?

    If we are on the right side of everything, then great, all is dandy. And if we are not … well it’s probably a good time for us to consider that our flopped bottom set ain’t so good with four spades on the board.

    Frankly, I don’t care how dirty 60 minutes gets — it’s not an opinion show, save for Andy Rooney … if they find all sorts of nefarious dirt about the poker business, I’d like to know about it, wouldn’t you?

  10. andrewg

    I am a UK online player based in Scotland, i hope you get this cleaned up and sorted out as quickly as possible, i know that myself and plenty other’s in the UK are losing confidence in the online poker industry as a result of this cheating scandal, or ant other form of cheating like site’s going bust and stealing everyone’s cash. like all other honest player”s i hope these cheat,s are punished and put behind bar’s where they belong. We love playing poker here please don’t let these cheat,s ruin it for us, poker player,s all over the WORLD.


  11. Charles R

    Dan M

    You nailed it right on the head. If online poker is honest, they should welcome any national media coverage whether the news is its good, bad or ugly. Most online players are suspicious about the online poker room they play at but will never admit it. I think this has more to do with their hardcore gambling addiction and the possibility of losing the ability to play online out of the view of wifes, husbands, neighbors and friends. I also think that even if there was 100% proof that the entire online industry was corrupt, these fear mongers would still play.

  12. J

    Any word on the status of the 60 Minutes piece??? Seems like it was hot and heavy for a while, then dropped off the radar….

  13. Pingback: 60 Minutes Update

  14. Charlie

    I went logged out of my account on 09/14/08 with 197.00
    I log back in on 09/15/08 and there is no money in my account. AP said they found nothing wrong. They sent me history and it showed i had lost it all at one sitting of hold’em. Get your money out of this site now!!!!

  15. Pingback: 60 Minutes Story on Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet "Superuser" Scandals to Run This Sunday

  16. James

    Five years ago I remember getting reading heated debated in online poker forums regarding cheating in online poker. The “online is 100% legit” crowd argued that yes, there MAY be some fly-by-night poker sites that are not legit, but as long as you stay with a REPUTABLE site, they are ok. They would name the “big 4″ as examples of REPUTABLE sites… Party Poker, Poker Stars, Absolute, and Ultimate. Now that TWO of the FOUR in their “reputable” list have had problems,
    I read “well, that was isolated, it’s not happening anywhere else…”
    The “nothing wrong with online poker” argument has lost some credibility.

  17. like that

    The online poker makes the game lose half of the thrill and cheating is hard to prove. Big industry. tones of money.

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