October 2007
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Proving Sklansky right

Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents’ cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose.

— David Sklansky’s Fundamental Theorem of Poker

It’s now pretty much a certainty that at least one player on Absolute Poker has been able to play real money games while being able to see all of his opponents’ hole cards. 

Absolute are saying publicly "this never actually happened" but privately "oh shit, we’re fucked".  I’m speculating, obviously, but it seems likely.   This is a poker site that used to dominate the newsletter with their almost-daily reload offers, but now they are top of their blacklisted sites list. have also stopped taking their advertising money, and I’m sure this is only the beginning.  Nobody with any sense will ever play there again for an amount of money that matters.

If you want to see the damning evidence and don’t want to trawl through many very long forum threads, jump straight to the latest updates on 2+2 or read this excellent summary on Nat Arem’s blog.

Or you could just hit play on this video.  Thanks to an administrative cock-up of gigantic proportions, Absolute have given out a master hand history that shows player POTRIPPER winning a $1000 buy-in tournament while playing just about every hand perfectly.  It really is just like he can see what everyone else is holding, over and over again.

This is just part 1.  Get parts 2 to 4 here.

Sure, he gets sucked out on a couple of big pots, but it’s exactly like Sklansky says: if you can see everyone’s cards, you’re going to win money. 

The basic strategy is to see a flop with any two cards, and then:

– If your opponent has a huge hand, just check and fold.
– If there is any hand you can represent to scare your opponent, bet or raise.
– If you have a monster or your opponent has nothing, let them catch up or give them chance to bluff.

The chances of this playing style being legitimate are as close to zero as you could possibly imagine.