Global Poker today issued a detailed statement regarding its weeks-long investigation into one or more players accused of using real-time assistance (RTA) in the form of optimized “solver” outputs to cheat in the site’s games.
The statement, authored by Global Poker’s “rollinas”, who is also a forum moderator, was published earlier today on its Discord server. Titled “PMGAME & PLATFORM INTEGRITY TEAM STATEMENT ,” the lengthy message exonerated the primary player account accused of using the GTO Wizard program to cheat. Though never named by Global Poker, the account — “projectbaby97” — has been widely noted and discussed on other sites and social media.
Global’s statement thanks its players for bringing the possible cheating situation to its attention while also describing the presented evidence as falling short of the needed certainty. Global also stated that the initial version of GTO Wizard’s new “Fair Play Check” tool, which triggered most of the reports, did not provide the accuracy needed to take action. “Once more accurate timestamps had been implemented,” Global Poker stated, “it became clear that a significant portion of the reported spots implicated other players or observers and not the accused player.”
The statement honed in one of the major issues that currently exists with the Fair Play Check tool. While it can identify a “spot” with community-card, timestamp, and other data in response to a GTO Wizard user’s query, what it can’t do for the user identifying the possible spot is provide an immediate match to the suspected player. Most spots, as it turned out, were likely initiated by other player-investigators who were monitoring a suspected player and using GTO Wizard in real time.
Global Poker notes that disconnection while also addressing the high rate of false positives generated by the Fair Play tool’s initial version: “When the ‘Fair Play’ feature was released initially, which coincides with the vast majority of the reports we have received, it did not offer the accuracy to take it as anything more than a trigger to start a far more in-depth investigation.”
Later, Global Poker stated, “We urge our community to refrain from jumping to conclusions early.” The statement concluded that Global Poker, just like its players, does not want cheaters in its games. “We have vested interest in removing bad actors but at the same time we must recognize the rights of every customer and shall not falsely accuse any individual. We appreciate your continued vigilance, and assure you of ours.”
The full Global Poker statement reads as follows:
First of all, I would like to thank all our vigilant community members who have reported their concerns to us in good faith. The nature of our work requires constant evolution and it remains our ongoing intent to work with the community to address the ever evolving threats. However, allegations of cheating are very serious and can have significant consequences both for the accused and the operator. Our industry demands a high duty of care, and we demand an even higher duty of care to the game, which includes giving those accused the due process of a rigorous investigation.
There are other reasons why we cannot comment on individual customer accounts, but the severity of the impact that such allegations may have on all parties involved is the main reason why our team does not comment on investigation status, stage, or scope (i.e. exactly what accounts are involved) and why we urge our community to refrain from jumping to conclusions early. If nothing else, doing so may tip off potentially guilty parties about the ongoing investigation, including those that were not directly identified yet, and affect the accuracy of our investigation outcome. At the same time, the structure of this process assures that when we do sanction accounts it is not “for nothing” and the data behind the decision can withstand the scrutiny of a knowledgeable external expert such as our regulators or senior management.
GTO Wizard and Fair Play concerns
At the outset, I would like to say that the battle against RTA tools has been ongoing for years, it did not start few weeks ago and will not stop any time soon – that is the nature of the ever-evolving technology and at least perceived upside to cheating that will always find its way in this and adjacent industries. When the “Fair Play” feature was released initially, which coincides with the vast majority of the reports we have received, it did not offer the accuracy to take it as anything more than a trigger to start a far more in-depth investigation. It did not provide the context behind the specific spot and, most importantly, the timestamp of the solution was bucketed into one-minute windows and not down to a second as it is right now.
However, it seems to us that the correlation between hits and specific accounts spurred a lot of chatter in smaller groups of regular players which is a good thing and it is how the issue was reported to us, but then later it leaked into the tables and, once more accurate timestamps have been implemented, it became clear that a significant portion of the reported spots implicated other players or observers and not the accused player.
This, of course, makes it difficult to attribute any value to even less accurate initial outputs of the “Fair Play” tool reported to us in early October and therefore we have to rely on the internally available data, as we would in any other case that does not involve GTO Wizard use.
The process of investigating allegations
Again, we regret not being able to discuss this in detail publicly, but what we can say is that the process of confirming or denying allegations is nuanced and involves compiling and parsing mountains of data both from the perspective of the accused players and the population. The data analysis includes everything from in-game decisions and frequencies to network and device information, recreating the timeline of events and evaluating any anomalies scientifically in the context of the game and population playing it, so that the decision-making path is reproducible by any knowledgeable internal or external expert at any point in the future, and highlights contributing and contradict factors to the hypothesis we are testing.
This is partially the reason why it took us a while to get to a confident conclusion – we investigate every possible aspect of the allegations and then explore the unknown unknowns, for example, certain players were reported but is there a cluster of accounts that potentially do the same and are flying under the radar, escaping our proactive measures and our players vision? That way we can tackle the problem holistically and confidently remove bad actors from our tables or discover previously unknown patterns of behavior. This is specifically why the GPI team never comments on the ongoing investigation or our processes – doing so only undermines the accuracy of the investigation outcome. This statement is the exception, of course.
While we will continue to listen to our players’ concerns, the bulk of our team’s defensive actions source from proactive work by our specialist team. We will continue to protect the integrity of our games thoroughly and consistently. You can be assured that for anyone removed by the GPI team there was a strong case behind it as there will be going forward.
At the same time, we are communicating with GTO Wizard representatives, and should new data surface confirming a breach with required certainty, we will take action retrospectively. It must be reiterated that we share the same goal with the community; we do not want cheaters in our games just like you don’t. Even if some malicious activity escapes the radar of our community, we know exactly how much it hurts our business and we have vested interest in removing bad actors but at the same time we must recognize the rights of every customer and shall not falsely accuse any individual. We appreciate your continued vigilance, and assure you of ours.