PokerStars refunds $35k to player after hacking discovered

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 06, 2013 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

hacker-300x200This week another online cheating scandal played out in real-time on the 2+2 poker forums as Douglas “WCGrider” Polk was refunded nearly $35k after PokerStars discovered that his opponent, “Forbidden536,” was able to see his hole-cards due to a compromised computer.

According to the story detailed by Polk on 2+2, he was introduced to someone by the name of Joshua Tyler (who apparently has his own sketchy history) through Daniel “jungleman” Cates. Tyler stayed at Polk’s house on two different occasions, and after both stays Polk and his roommates felt something was rotten in Denmark.

After the first stay it was Polk’s roommates who went on downswings under suspect circumstances:

“A few days after Joshua left, one of them lost something to the tune of 13 buyins to a 1 tabling fish, playing the same style. He told me that it was as if the guy could see his cards. Another one of my roommates lost 22 buyins over the same stretch to the same opponent, while beating everyone else on the site. Finally on March 9th, a third one of my roommates was beaten for 8k at 3/6 with them playing the exact same way. Lots of leading when they don’t have it, etc.”

After the second stay it was Polk who net with misfortune, losing $35k to a “fish,” who could seemingly see his hole cards:

This fish at 5/10 went on to turn his $650 into about 3.8k. He was opening 69%, and had a defend of something along the tune of 80%…

At this point my opponent said zzz this is boring in the chat. I questioned as to why a player with zero play history at high stakes, whose primary game is $5 sngs would suddenly find his bankroll being on the line to be too boring… I asked him if he wanted to play 25/50, to which he obliged.

I began to get absolutely wrecked… In 3 bet pots he raised every spot I didn’t have it, and was c/f at an alarming frequency when i had the goods. I was beginning to get worried.

… He then challenged me to 50/100.

… what I do know is that over 300 hands of hunl my opponent made 1 incorrect call and it was at 5/10, with all hands at higher stakes being played for a raise or a call.

At this point I was just too worried about the integrity of my hole cards, and I sat out. Forbidden then left the tables, and didn’t sit any other reg

After quitting the match Polk contacted PokerStars who essentially told him “don’t hold your breath,” but lo and behold the site was able to prove that “Forbidden536” was in fact cheating, and could see WCGRider’s hole-cards! PokerStars then refunded Polk $34,397.10 (the entirety of Forbidden536’s account); just a couple hundred dollars shy of what Polk lost in the session.

It should be noted that Polk ended his post with the caveat that “Certainly none of these instances on their own prove that Joshua is a hacker. However, it is my opinion that given the timeline and factual evidence of what did occur, there is enough evidence to make Joshua one of the most likely suspects.”

The Past and Conflicting Reports

Daniel Cates and Douglas Polk are both well-known poker players within the poker community, and both have some prior history with scammers, albeit on different sides: Cates was at the center of the Jose “Girah” Macedo scandal from two years ago, and Polk gained a bit of unwanted notoriety prior to the 2012 WSOP when he was victimized by Brad Booth, and lost $30,000 after falling victim of what was little more than a cash-grab orchestrated by Booth.

Cates involvement in the current situation, while periphery in nature, is somewhat concerning, as it opens the doors for a number of different possibilities. There is also the issue of both players’ stories not quite matching up:

Polk’s version: “On January 27th, my friend Daniel Cates brought his UK friend Joshua Tyler over to my house to introduce him to me. He had told me previously that he was one of his good friends, and that he wanted me to meet him. He said he thought Joshua was a nice guy, and they had gone out together on several occasions.”

Cates’ version: “I didnt vouch for Josh, i never said he was nice, certainly didnt say he was trustworthy, or any such thing. Doug could have decided not to invite him over or whatever, especially after the fees car incident. I had no influence whatsoever on this decision.”

Tyler also has a reputation dating back at least a year, as one 2+2 user wrote almost a year ago during the Matt Marifioti hacking investigation: “I would put my life on this to be true as I’ve seen Matt become very friendly with Josh Tyler lately ( and he is known to be a well known computer hacker and fraudster from the UK,”

Tyler was mentioned during another poker scandal by a different poster, who stated, “FWIW Feldman tweeted someone owes him 500K and he actually outed Joshua Tyler as this person on twitter before deleting the naming tweets and keeping the tweets which didn’t name anyone. Apologies if someone has already said this.”


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