Is Bovada Poker Rigged? Evidence of Cheating Released

4 years ago
Bovada Poker Rigged
19 Oct

A detailed report has appeared online which alleges serious security breaches at Bovada Poker, and claims that millions may have been siphoned from the site by some form of ‘super-user’ accounts coupled with the use of bots. This raises the question: is Bovada poker rigged?

The fantastical claims have been made by an anonymous team whose members “span industries including gaming, advertising, data mining, open source software development, security, and database solutions,” according to the report from dataminepoker.

They claim that:

“Based on all of the separate tests completed by our contracting team, it is evident that there are massive issues at Bovada Poker. There are issues with the number of multi large hands, collusion teams, and bots.”

Factors which they also allege they were able to exploit themselves on Bovada in trials afterwards, stating:

All of these situations were proven through data collection, analysis, and then using the techniques ourselves to increase our ability to win over average players.”

Online poker has always had more than its fair share of ‘paranoia’ among its players, usually based on the ‘luck’ factor which can see players run bad, suffer multiple bad beats, lose to ‘ridiculous’ plays by their opponents and then use the online community forums as a ‘sounding-off board’ for their tale of ‘rigged’ online poker-rooms.

Indeed, the DataMinePoker team describe such ‘paranoia’ as one of their starting points, saying:

As part of the initial research for this project, multiple online forums and gambling related social networks were combed for stories based on the potential unfairness of the Bovada Poker room. Based on the data collection of public posts within the past year, 1,461 separate stories of single or multi hand suspicious activity at Bovada Poker were found, collected, and verified.”

However, such ‘paranoia’ is not always mis-placed. The Ultimate Bet scandal of 2007 became the biggest in poker’s history when it was discovered that a ‘super-user’ account was being used, enabling the user to play in ‘God-mode’ with the ability to view other players hole cards, and winning millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

More recently, PokerStars investigated an alleged ‘bot ring’ emanating from Eastern Europe which was apparently exploiting their low-to-mid stakes PLO games, with many players being recompensed by the industry leader following their probe.

Whether or not these most recent allegations involving Bovada have any truth to them, the scale of the report – which DataMinePoker claim is only an initial public report, with secondary, more detailed, reports to come – is impressive.

After analyzing the Bovada Poker Mac and Windows applications, it was decided that these software applications were fairly secure and would require an advanced visual recognition system to collect the data required."

Although extremely detailed, with mathematical models, hand-history reading scripts and coding (which are beyond this writer’s ken , but will doubtless be subject to intense scrutiny by many online aficionados of the game and its perceived unfairness) the core results of the report allege that:

  • There is a massive problem where users are being edge-cased in big hands that they tend to lose a large pot over.
  • Our team can easily confirm that Bovada Poker is a haven for collusion activity.
  • It was determined that there are zero counter measures against bots and no front end way to try and detect bots/injectable systems.

Report states that:

These problems could be linked to a rogue employee(s) or hacker group that may have compromised the random number generator and shuffling algorithms used by the poker room software. It is also possible that this is a coincidental mistake made by the initial programmers of the random number generator/shuffling algorithms."

A third possibility does not seem to have found any real substance during their ‘research’, the team stating:

Another, less likely possibility, is that Bovada is knowingly using their own software loophole to steal large amounts of user money,” as they later reveal that “From our base analysis…what occurred at Absolute/Ultimate Bet is not occurring on Bovada Poker in a noticeable way.”

The report also states that one of the difficulties they faced in compiling the report was the fact that Bovada is a private poker room, and they also point out:

Since Bovada Poker is not located within the United States, it is confirmed that the software has not readily been verified by the Nevada Gaming Commission or related American gaming control boards.”

That's something which they claim led them to initial suspicions that the poker room “may have potential security risks not checked by adequate control boards,” a belief which they allege their report confirms as having led to serious cheating issues and which – somewhat confusingly it may seem to many, “show that Bovada Poker is operating an unfair poker room (even while passing modern gambling software verification tests).”

They also claim their team is creating security on other online sites including alongside Bovada including:

  • America’s Card Room
  • BetOnline
  • Sports
  • Black Chip
  • Carbon

Following these separate public reports, a large centralized report with access to all open source software tools, collection data, and image/video evidence will be released at once.

Whether this report turns out to contain any real issues of substance or not, the timing is not particularly good for the online gaming industry in general, coming in the wake of investigations into, and restrictions on, DFS and at a time when the big poker sites are doggedly clawing their way back into the US markets state-by-state.

It should be noted however that Bovada is, according to their own website, operated by Salmon River Technologies Ltd ("Salmon River Technologies Ltd", pursuant to a gaming license issued by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada).

PokerTube will bring you responses from Bovada and any other interested parties as soon as they become available.

Articles 1896

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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