Global Poker issues refunds in connection with ongoing RTA investigation

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: November 21, 2023 11:50 am EST

Four weeks after issuing a statement largely exonerating a player widely accused of cheating on the site by using computerized real-time assistance, or RTA, Global Poker has begun issuing refunds to other players who had competed against the player.

Though Global Poker’s investigation went on for weeks before the earlier exoneration announcement, it appears that continuing forensic examinations of the data may have resulted in proof regarding one or more players’ use of RTA. Global Poker, per company policy, has never named any of the player accounts that it has been investigating, though widespread posts by players on various poker forums and social media identified one of the accused players as “projectbaby97”.

Many of the accusations Global Poker received came with data captured from GTO Wizard’s new Fair Play Check tool, which is available to its subscribers. The tool allows third-party viewers to query GTO Wizard’s database of analyzed hands to see if any of those analyses occurred in real time, meaning that the hand may have part of a player using GTO Wizard as real-time assistance. Unfortunately, the initial version of the software tool as released was cited by a Global Poker representative as having generated many false positives that required further research, rather than representing instant proof of cheating.

Players post notices of refunds

Some impacted players began posting notices of refunds on Friday, including in a thread on the 2+2 forums, one of several online resources where users have tracked the situation. Another user declared “He’s banned!” without further reference or explanation, perhaps after noting projectbaby97’s absence from the tables in recent days.

The combination of players receiving refunds and the projectbaby97 account disappearing from action at the same time infer the account having been banned, regardless of a revised formal statement from the site. The refunds also don’t rule out that more than one Global Poker user was banned at roughly the same time for using RTA.

Nonetheless, some critics opted for an absolutist view, declaring that projectbaby97’s account should’ve been frozen immediately pending results of an investigation. The “He’s banned!” 2+2 poster also declared that projectbaby97 had taunted other players in chat about not being banned and about making large withdrawals, but whether such withdrawals actually occurred — or were another taunt — remains unknown.

Had projectbaby97’s account been frozen immediately, as happened in another Fair Play Check-related accusation against a WSOP.com player, the initial exoneration would have resulted in the projectbaby97 account being cleared to play (and to make withdrawals) anyway, at least until any longer-term imvestigation revealed evidence of cheating. That underlines the reality that the Fair Play Check tool, despite its great promise, is only one element in a larger mosaic of combating online-poker cheating.