A judge has ordered a 15-month prison term for Darren Woods, a poker player from Britain, for cheating several European online poker rooms for years. A resident of Healing, close to North East Lincolnshire’s Grimsby, Woods has also been ordered to return a sum of £1 million within six months, failing which he would have to spend six more years in prison. Authorities say that this amount is just a small part of what he stole from online poker rooms.
Woods, who was once a sponsored poker pro at 888poker, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud last October. Widely known as DooshCom at 888poker and other online poker rooms, Woods was charged with opening multiple accounts and playing under multiple identities and then using them along with several Internet service providers and computers to cheat the online poker rooms and fellow players into believing that he was not the same, but different players playing from multiple locations. This allowed him to occupy as many as three seats at one poker table, view multiple hands simultaneously, and gain a huge advantage over the other players at the table.
He also stands accused of using fraudulent ways to profit from rakeback and loyalty programs at various online poker rooms as he used his multiple identities to take full advantage of the sites’ promotions.
Finally, he pleaded guilty to nine of the 13 counts against him as there was just too much evidence against him and he realized that he could not get away. Reports say that Woods has been accused of cheating online poker rooms and players from Jan 2007 to Jan 2012. In November 2011, several high-stakes players posted an online petition at Two Plus Two Forums, accusing Woods of cheating them through multiple accounts. The petition attracted the attention of Gareth “Gaz” Edwards, an 888poker executive, who assured the players that the operator was investigating the issue. But three years had to pass without any information being made public and the arrest of Woods was reported only last fall. It is still yet to be confirmed if the “Gibraltar-based company” that has sued Woods is 888poker.
Woods could have used the money he had stolen from online poker rooms to play live poker tournaments. Although he filed for bankruptcy in 2006, he could afford to take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2012, where he won a bracelet and a prize of $213,000.