Poker podcaster Joey Ingram, known today as “Investigative Papi” on Twitter, took on Americas Cardroom (ACR) this week when he released two videos highlighting some flaws in their site which pointed to alleged cheating at the tables.
What is Americas Cardroom?
ACR is an unregulated online poker room that offers real-money games to players in the U.S, minus Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and Washington State. It is one of the few online poker rooms where international players have an opportunity to play online against U.S. players.
Americas Cardroom originated as Doyle’s Room and was relaunched under its new name after being purchased by the Winning Poker Network.
In his first video on the topic, Ingram talked about player collusion, the use of bots and possible super users taking advantage of a lack of security on the Americas Cardroom for profit. “I can’t recommend anyone play ACR cash games,” he posted on Twitter.
The accusations are just that — accusations — and they aren’t the first of their kind for ACR. There have been discussions on poker forums about the site and some questionable practices for years.
And while Ingram talks a good game, he offered little proof to support the allegations he made. After posting the video, Ingram was called out for not providing evidence to support his claim.
Ingram was quick to respond: “Clips for the accounts will be posted. Information on the collusion I’ve received. The site has to check the back end. The bots are obvious as fucking day.”
Even Doyle Brunson, who rarely gets involved in Twitter scandals, save for his occasional political tweet, weighed in on what Ingram had to say.
That is the old Doylesroom. While I have no interest in the cardroom now, I have a difficult time believing there is cheating going on there. Why? I know the owners and all my dealings with them were more than satisfactory.@ACR_POKER https://t.co/6p6HFQP8Hq
— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) February 3, 2018
Brunson wasn’t alone in questioning the allegations. There were plenty of people responding to Ingram asking for more proof.
On the other hand, you could also find a slew of responses that thanked Ingram for speaking up and voicing similar suspicions.
Players are on guard
Players take cheating accusations seriously. After the Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker scandals, players have been keeping their guard up.
But sometimes, the lure of playing online poker outside Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware (the states that have legalized online poker) is too great. Since April 2011, U.S. players have been taking somewhat of a risk playing on unregulated sites.
How you move your money in and out of a site can be subject to scrutiny under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). To help get around any gray area, ACR offers deposit and withdrawal options in over 60 of the top cryptocurrencies, which may be offering a false sense of security to its players.
ACR tournament loophole
On Thursday, Ingram released a second video that highlighted banned accounts and the exploitation of the tournament registration process at Americas Cardroom.
Apparently, there is a loophole that allows players who late register for a tournament to sit down at the same table.
As Ingram explains (starting at 6:24 in the video), a team of players can late register together as the money bubble approached. They can then collude to ensure they reach the money, and then chip dump to one player after the money bubble bursts.
Ingram provided a list of players, both active and banned, with win rates previously in the 30 percent range suddenly posting win rates in the high 80 percent range. And again, while suspicious, it still doesn’t actually prove anything. But alarm bells are going off.
Ingram also posted the list of questionable players to his Twitter feed for all to see. He called on Americas Cardroom to investigate beyond the loophole and look into the relationships between the players.
These are just two (Zynovij & GodTierBluff) instances we know of accounts that were banned on the same date for using the ACR tournament exploit in the most obvious way.
In the money % pic.twitter.com/yjiECV2MHr
— Joey (@Joeingram1) February 6, 2018
To which ACR responded:
Yes we caught these players NOT breaking T&C's but finding a loophole. Thanks for pointing out that we do police the games and ban when necessary!
— Americas Cardroom (@ACR_POKER) February 6, 2018
Responses to the allegations
The one thing that became evident when following the tweets, videos and responses to Ingram’s cheating allegations is that the accusations are surprising to some and not to others.
To one group, the allegations are confirming what they suspected.
To another group, the allegations are unfounded and Ingram is chasing another fifteen minutes of fame.
And then there are others who simply don’t understand the nature of bots and what Ingram is alleging.
You can feel the frustration in some of Ingram’s responses, but these two tweets seem to sum it up:
Yes, I am one man. No one else gives a fuck.
— Joey (@Joeingram1) February 7, 2018
If you can't figure out the exploit from this video, god help the world.
— Joey (@Joeingram1) February 7, 2018
While Ingram’s account of his observations is plausible, these types of allegations are hard to prove.
Americas Cardroom admits in their public response to Ingram that players took advantage of a loophole. They didn’t say they fixed it or had plans to fix it.
The big question: will the allegations be enough to keep poker players away?
Unfortunately, as long as regulated online poker struggles to make its way back across the U.S., players without other options will continue to play.
And as long as U.S. players continue to play on sites like Americas Cardroom, their bankroll could be be at risk.