Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Just Conjecturin', Volume 24: Tying Together Some Leads

I added in the following thoughts in a 2+2 thread on these matters, and wanted to toss in a little bit more here:

Honestly, I don't know quite how to add up each and all of the pieces myself; I think I have it and then I rethink it again. Unless something hinky was going on, it just does not make sense. The original nacion.com story about the crash included what appeared to be a nod and a wink about the passengers stating that they were flying to the Caribbean when the flight's registered destination was Cartagena. A Sabreliner's cruising range is 2500 miles, and it can get anywhere in the Caribbean with ease from Costa Rica. So -refueling- at Cartagena is out as a possibility, which is what I think the nacion.com piece was winking at.

Look at this from both sides and you'll see the problem. Side A is that the money rumors had some truth to them. The persistent rumors involve money skimming and laundering, and if that were true, then a flight to somewhere like Antigua makes sense, because that's a little bit of a nexus (as is Netherlands Antilles) for some shady corporate banking practices. Panama has some of that, too.

Please keep in mind also for this that the amounts of money rumored -- if in American bills, the world's smuggling currency of choice -- would have filled up at least one duffel bag and maybe more if bills smaller than $100s were used. Such smuggling usually involves secretion inside the fuselage or similar subterfuge.

Now, if I were carrying a large quantity of cash and were moving it elsewhere, I'd be making an unnecessary stop in Columbia about when hell freezes over. So this line of reasoning ends in a big question mark, because there's clearly something false or wrong or missing or whatever among all these published tales.

Side B is that the rumors of large amounts of cash are wrong, and that the flight was indeed a wholly innocent, vacation-only trip. If that's true, and there was nothing wrong with the plane or no evidence of it being doctored in some way for use in smuggling, then why did the company owning it choose to abandon it after waiting two and a half years? That line of reasoning doesn't pan out either. The engines and electronics were barely or not damaged at all and were easily salvageable.

But all this really misses the point of the posts. No one has ever come up with a reason why the PotRipper cheating on September 12 was done so recklessly and with such wild abandon. All the stuff I've laid out, the timelines and stories and such in #22 and #23, point to at least one plausible theory: The person or people behind the PotRipper account needed money in a hurry to clean up a mess. That it turned into a bigger mess and brought down a cheating operation is just an indicator of how reckless it was.

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One of the points raised in comments is very valid -- as noted in the first comment (and so far only) comment on the previous post, there may have been other legitimate reasons for the subsequent abandonment of the plane. The counterpoint to that is that there were a whole of strange happenings going on all at once, and when too many coincidences pile up, it's time to keep digging.

First, the PotRipper tourney was the first cheating done after the cheating accounts' operator(s) returned from St. Lucia/Antigua. It was also tournament cheating, as opposed to cash-game cheating; lower initial investment for a proportionately higher payout. It doesn't mean that other tournament cheating wasn't done at some previous point, but it does support the hypothesis that there was an urgent need for money, and let's not forget things like these withdrawals (and cancelled withdrawals) for the house-run Graycat account:

Notice all the cancelled withdrawals on September 8th, 2007, which happened while the cheaters were off in the Caribbean somewhere. The cheater(s) returned on September 12 and immediately cheated on a relatively new account, PotRipper. Four days later, on September 16th, there's a verified withdrawal of $150,000 from Graycat, just before the presumed remaining $30,000+ is seized and the account shut down.

The plane crash may or not have a direct bearing on some of these other things, but the "needed some money in a hurry" theory as it relates to the desperate method of cheating exhibited in the PotRipper tourney is not a concept that can be dismissed with a wave of a hand.

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This image is unrelated -- I just can't connect to my free image-hosting site this morning, and need a spot to upload a miscellaneous doo-dad. Please ignore:


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