Founders of Absolute Poker
Absolute Poker has become practically a brand name in the online poker industry. Along with its sister site, Ultimate Bet and previous owner of UB, Greg Pierson, the poker room forms part of the Cereus Poker Network, which was created in 2007. The formation of Absolute Poker itself, however, was carried out slightly earlier in 2003.
Scott Tom (son) and Phil Tom (father)
While there were originally reports that Absolute Poker was created by a band of college fraternity brothers, it can generally be confirmed that the main founder of this online poker room was in fact a Las Vegas college graduate, Scott Tom.
According to reports, Tom received financial backing for the new site from his father, Phil Tom and subsequently brought other college friends into the new venture.
Absolute Poker Opens in 2003
The full details of the creation of Absolute Poker are quite hazy. What is known is that Scott Tom attended the University of Montana in the late 1990’s and headed to Costa Rica with his college friends to create the online poker site soon afterwards in 2003. Following a development state and the opening of many test accounts, Absolute Poker finally opened for business.
An analyst believes that from the beginning, “it was probably pulling in between $150,000 and $250,000 a day”, and Absolute Poker employed hundreds of customer service staff in Costa Rica and Panama, under the management of Scott Tom.
Scott Tom Sells – Cheating Begins
In 2006, Scott Tom sold the business to Joe Norton, sole owner of Tokwiro Enterprises, which operates out of the Mohawk Territory in Canada.
The name Scott Tom first hit the headlines when poker detectives on popular poker forums tried to discover who was behind an alleged cheating scandal at Absolute Poker in 2007.
The amateur sleuths revealed that an observer was able to watch a collaborating cheater and win thousands of hands of poker against unsuspecting players.
The IP address and account name of this ‘observer’ were traced to a set of servers that hosts Absolute Poker, and in particular to Scott Tom.
Subsequent investigations by Absolute Poker after these accusations found that Scott Tom had nothing to do with the cheating scandal although the site refuses to divulge who in fact was.
Absolute Poker Statements
Officials at Absolute Poker hastened to put out a statement that Scott Tom had not worked at the site for over a year. However, the site was forced to retract that statement soon afterwards and admit that Tom had actually continued to manage the day to day running of the site right up until October 2007, when the heat of the cheating scandal was at its peak.
On September 3rd, 2007, it was reported that a small private jet due to take off at San Jose Santamaria International Airport in Costa Rica caught alight and firefighters were forced to come to the scene and put out the blaze. The passengers on the plane were confirmed to be Scott Tom and his pregnant wife, who was taken to hospital to confirm the well-being of her unborn child.
Reports say that the two were flying out to Columbia with $2 – $3 million in cash onboard, a fact that Absolute Poker denies.
Father to the Rescue
During the cheating scandal, Phil Tom defended his son in many interviews, at one time saying that Scott was “attacked viciously and unfairly by bloggers,” who accused him of being behind the scandal. “I couldn’t believe some of the things they were saying, how he was the cheater,” he said.
Phil Tom claims that his son still lives in Costa Rica and is difficult to reach at the best of times. “Even I have trouble reaching him,” said Tom. “I don’t call him, he calls me.”
Where Scott Tom is Now and His Activities
Scott Tom’s webpage has him listed as a resident of Las Vegas, where it claims he is involved in a wide number of philanthropic projects, including the “Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.”
The site also states that “in conjunction with his father, Philip Tom, Scott Tom brought together volunteers and funds to start the first Lakeshore Golf Open, an annual fundraising event supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Scott Tom’s work with the Salvation Army includes revamping the group’s center in Costa Rica, which now serves more than 100 homeless individuals a day.”
Scott’s hobbies are listed as skiing, running, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. He is also an avid reader and has studied business administration, finance and management.
In 2008, Phil Scott took part in the $5000 No Limit Hold ‘em Shoot #11 at the World Series of Poker tournament and won the coveted bracelet for finishing in first place. Tom defeated Greg Muller in the heads up match, after clearing a field of 3600 other players. A blogger, who had been seated at the same table as Phil Scott, wrote on a poker forum: “It is in fact Scott Tom’s dad. He was on my left for a second and he introduced himself to Howard Lederer and I caught his name and asked him about it. When he said he was I told my buddy who was sitting at the other end of the table who said “oh, so that’s the dad of the guy who robbed us of all that money, SWEET!” It was pure gold.”
In August 2008, rumors began to surface that Phil Tom had been indicted in conjunction with the Absolute Poker scandal, with the media reporting that sealed documents had been filed in the United States against the senior Tom.
The Government Steps In
It was also reported that Phil and Scott Tom, as well as other people involved in the creation of Absolute Poker, were unable to travel freely to the United States (and from it), out of fear of indictment from the US Federal Government.
Phil Scott, a portfolio manager by trade, was keen to do away with the negative publicity surrounding his investment in Absolute Poker and did his utmost to deny any rumors of indictments and cases against him by the Federal Government.
When asked about whether there was any truth in the indictment rumors, Phil Tom said to the media: “No. I don’t know what I’d be indicted for! How do they know what’s in the supposed indictment? It’s sealed!” Tom threatened to sue the website that published what he termed ‘lies’. “I’ve already had three phone calls today from people I know wanting to know if I’m okay. This rumor is getting out to people and I’m a portfolio manager. This isn’t good for business,” he said.
There are many in the poker world who believe that Scott Tom knows more about the cheating scandal at Absolute Poker than he is willing to let on. While the online poker site continues to support Tom’s insistence that he is innocent, management continues to refuse the true details of the real perpetrators – leading to more speculations and rumors.
It may never be proven that Scott Tom was directly involved in the Absolute Poker cheating scandal and all blame may continue to fall on his best friend, A.J Green, who some believe to be the main perpetrator in the case.
Absolute Poker was fined heavily by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission for its part in the cheating scandal. Tokwiro Enterprises has now turned its focus on moving beyond the incident that threatened the very existence of Absolute Poker through clever marketing and promotions.