Absolute Poker Prop Program Should Have Been a Red Flag

Absolute Poker OnlineAbsolute Poker launched in 2003. It was the home of an insider cheating scandal. Black Friday eventually put the site out of business. It owed players somewhere in the neighborhood of $45 million when it ceased operations.

I was a prop at Absolute Poker from 2003-2005. There were a few situations that were a red flag that make complete sense today.

I started there just before the poker boom and the popularity of poker forums. It was also years before the cheating scandals were discovered. This made some of the actions that appear obviously shady today not seem like any issue 10 years ago.

Like most new sites at the time, it was full of propositional players, often referred to simply as props. A prop plays with his or her funds and is paid based on the amount of action generated. While most sites paid prop players 100 percent rakeback, Absolute Poker’s software was not capable of this until several years after its launch.  Props were paid a set amount per hand based on the limit.

Absolute Poker Prop Program Overview

Absolute Poker’s prop program benefited from the demise of Big Bet Poker. Absolute Poker opened about the same time that Big Bet Poker failed. This left many props looking for a new job.

The prop program had Absolute Poker had three divisions. There was the main prop program that was managed internally. There was an outside prop syndicate that ran about a dozen props. A few experienced props worked independently. This setup was unusual.

Prop programs were typically managed by an outside company at the time. Ultimate Bet is the only other site in that era I am aware of that managed its prop program internally.

There were several rules at Absolute Poker that applied to the main props that made it different than prop programs at other sites. Props were given set schedules they were required to play. At first, props were not allowed to play in games that were populated by only props. A list of all props was distributed in a private forum.

This became problematic for two reasons. Disgruntled props would post the list at poker forums when they quit. Another issue is that props would sit around and wait for customers to sit and land like vultures at a table when fresh blood took a seat. When that player stood, the props would be forced to sit out due to rules.

Suspicious Activity in Absolute Poker Prop Program

One bizarre rule in the prop program was that props were not allowed to play over 5/10 limit. A different account was required and there was no prop pay for this action. There was no reason given publicly. When I inquired to a site executive, I was told that Absolute Poker did not want its props to spew at these limits. In other words, it was forced bankroll management. This seemed like a reasonable explanation until I played under a customer account.

There was a single regular at 10/20 fixed limit. His username was Clearwater. He was your typical loose aggressive player that seemed to play so badly that it was impossible for him to win. In reality, he was the largest winner on the site. Props discussed this player in the private forum as his stats were impossible for his win rate. These concerns were blown off as paranoid. Claearwater’s username never made it onto any super user list, so perhaps it was simply a lucky action nut.

Steamroller appeared after Clearwater vanished. Steamroller played just like Clearwater. There was one difference between the accounts. Steamroller later ended up on a list of suspected cheaters due to insane win rates relative to his stats.

There was another odd rule at Absolute Poker. Props could not play more than 4,000 hands per week under a single account. The solution was to allow props to create unlimited numbers of accounts. Props could easily transfer chips between accounts.

I had four prop accounts at Absolute Poker and a fifth that I played with in unapproved games. This was allowed per the site rules, but in hindsight was extremely misleading to customers that could only have one account.

One last dead giveaway that something was not right at Absolute Poker was that someone I knew to be an insider was a prop there. He helped run the program but was not the main prop manager. His identity was never disclosed to me or anyone else that I know but he had a rule. You had to soft play him or else you would run into problems in the program. I simply avoided his tables. When I discussed it with other props, they did the same. That user eventually disappeared.

A lot can be learned from the insider cheating scandal at Absolute Poker. It seemed impossible before it was uncovered and forever cast a shadow on the industry. Hopefully closer regulation will prevent such a thing ever happening again. Until then, if a prop program has rules that prevent members from playing certain limits, or has a prop manager that insists on soft play, there is reason to be suspicious.

Up To $3,000 in Bonuses! Play Now
100% up to $3,000 Bonus

Bovada is our most recommended ONLINE CASINO and POKER ROOM for US players with excellent deposit options. Get your 100% signup bonus today.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply