Archive for April, 2012

TwoPlusTwo Forums Hacked, Members Advised to Change Passwords

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The largest poker forums on the Internet, the TwoPlusTwo Forums, have been hacked. According to a message posted on the site, “[the hacker] has displayed the ability to access e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords. He also indicated the ability to decrypt passwords.”

Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, formerly of Subject: Poker, has advised that people change their password on any sites where a password identical to their TwoPlusTwo one is used. It is currently impossible to change one’s TwoPlusTwo passwords as the forums have been temporarily shut down for security purposes.

Poker player Dale Phillips perhaps summed this situation up best in the below tweet:

Rumor: Full Tilt Poker Bought by PokerStars

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

11:01 am ET: In what would be a major development in the storied soap opera of Full Tilt Poker since Black Friday more than a year ago, it is presently being rumored that PokerStars has bought the beleaguered site for $750 million. The purchase would include enough to settle with the DOJ and reimburse all players.

At the time this was published, this possibility seems to be merely a rumor. However, the above-linked tweet by Alexandre Dreyfus was “retweeted” by leading poker media specialist Kevin Mathers which does seem to lend it some credence.

In a post on the Two Plus Two forums, moderator “Mike Haven” indicated a press release may be soon to follow. If the news is indeed true, it would mark an end to the much-awaited efforts by Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) to purchase Full Tilt which have been ongoing since last September. Stay tuned for further updates.

11:39 am ET: This rumor appears to have more fuel behind it as iGaming France reports that, “Laurent Tapie confirms deal is off for FTP buyout, insinuates external sabotage over DOJ negociations [sic].”

Laurent Tapie is the figurehead of the French company GBT which had previously been working to buy Full Tilt. News that GBT has confirmed their efforts to buy Full Tilt Poker are over seems to bode very well for the rumors that PokerStars has acquired the site.

4:01 pm ET: In a statement on their official blog, PokerStars has failed to confirm the rumors at this time. Said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars, “We’ve had a lot of enquiries and there’s lots of speculation on the forums, so I wanted to address the PokerStars chatter. As you know, PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on rumors. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.”

New Sunday Black Friday Poker Rap Song Released

Monday, April 16th, 2012

After an ugly parting-of-ways with their in-house autotune specialist SrslySirius, the folks at QuadJacks.com have wasted little time replacing his talents. One day following the one year anniversary of Black Friday, they have released a new poker hip-hop video titled New Sunday. The track, which laments the loss of Americans’ ability to play online poker tournaments on Sundays, was created by DRybes and Sonny Caine. Have a listen:

Full Tilt Hiring as License Application Submitted to AGCC

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

There is still no news regarding the rumored sale of Full Tilt Poker to Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT). But there are new indications that the deal could be close to completion.

Multiple job listings were posted on jobs.ie, an Irish employment website earlier today. Ireland is the corporate headquarters of Pocket Kings Ltd., the marketing and customer service arm of Full Tilt Poker. The job descriptions are for experienced, multilingual customer service reps. The ad states, “With an attractive salary, these 2-3 month contract roles may become permanent and offer an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant and energetic company.” It continues, “Working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment, this area of the business provides potential for rapid growth within our company, which is the support arm for Full Tilt Poker.” Each of the job listings stress the urgent need to fill the positions.

These job listings were posted on the same day as news that a subsidiary company of Full Tilt Poker has applied for a gaming license with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC). The company, Orinic Limited, was the only subsidiary of Full Tilt to escape having its license revoked last September. They are applying for a full category 2 license which would permit them to offer full online gaming services. Previously, the company held just a category 1 license which did not permit the handling of gambling funds.

It’s hard to say with complete certainty that these two news items indicate the deal between Full Tilt and GBT is imminent, but it certainly does appear to be a good sign following weeks of limited information. It would be surprising, however, if the AGCC granted the subsidiary company a full category 2 license without first ascertaining that the parent company has switched hands into new management. Therefore, one can’t help but question why the powers that be behind this deal did not opt to wait to submit a licensing request to AGCC under the new company’s brand after the deal is completed. Presently, it seems as though they are trying to backdoor a licensing upgrade through an existing subsidiary that likely would have had its license revoked had that license permitted them to offer full gaming services in the first place. It seems doubtful that this effort will be successful. But then again, this is all mere speculation on a topic that the poker world could not be receiving more limited information about.

QuadJacks Removes All SrslySirius Videos

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

One of the most triumphant creators of poker humor on the web, auto-tune and lyrical sensation SrslySirius, has recently had his integrity called into question by QuadJacks.com, a poker media outlet through which he was formerly affiliated.

The site released a statement today announcing that they are removing all videos created by SrslySirius from their website. Their reasoning for deleting SrslySirius’ portfolio of work which includes a poker rap making fun of Prahlad Friedman, a tribute song to Erik Seidel, and some much-needed Black Friday comic relief, were due to allegations that viewbotting had taken place on his latest video release Nightmare on My Street.

Viewbotting is the practice of intentionally spiking a video’s view-count on YouTube in order to fool the site into believing you have more viewers than you really do. The increased viewership is helpful for monetization purposes. More viewers means more ad revenue for the video’s creator. SrslySirius’ latest production, Nightmare on My Street, rose to over 1 million views in just two days. The video, which is anything but his best work, currently has 4.2 million views.

Said QuadJacks in their statement on the matter, “Viewbotting is an extremely unethical method of artificially inflating a video’s view count. It’s obviously a very dishonest thing to do, and it’s also a form of fraud.”

They elaborated on their reasoning for deleting the poker humor videos from their site in saying:

After having studied the situation thoroughly, QuadJacks is sufficiently confident that SrslySirius is in fact responsible for viewbotting in the case of Nightmare on My Street, which is something that genuinely shocks us and disturbs us. Given SrslySirius’s past working with us, it also implicates us. Did SrslySirius secretly viewbot on behalf of QuadJacks during his tenure? Not to our knowledge, and we have absolutely no reason to suspect this.

However, because we are unable to 100% guarantee this, and because of the controversy now linked to SrslySirius’s name, we have made the choice to eliminate all videos bearing his name.

SrslySirius is also being accused of copyright trolling. He allegedly filed a complaint with YouTube against QuadJacks stating that the site was hosting four videos on their channel which were his works. QuadJacks has stated that SrslySirius had no legitimate claim to these works as they were a collaborative effort by the site team to which SrslySirius belonged from May 2011 until February 2012.

This scandal is an unfortunate turn of events in what was once one of the most well-intentioned creative endeavors in the poker community.