It was inevitable that this would happen somewhere eventually. What's jaw-dropping about this story is how this guy was caught. No matter how often I hear about dumb criminals, there is always room for greater amazement. The "inciting incident" was his winning a $1000 buyin tournament by, on the final hand, calling an all-in bet holding ten-high on a KK74 board. Greatest read ever because his opponent had a 9-high flush draw. Naturally the guy who took second was a little miffed and emailed absolute poker saying he thinks he was cheated. They sent him a file that includes every player's hole cards, matched up to their username and IP address, for every hand of the entire tournament! Speculation says this was done intentionally by a whistleblower, because it's way too unlikely a mistake to be a coincidence. Analysis of the file shows the winner made nearly zero mistakes after the flop despite playing tons of hands. You might have to be a poker player to understand how obvious the cheating is, but it's as close to certain as it can be without a confession - and it would have been SO EASY for him to disguise it.
He could have collected six figures a month indefinitely with a near-zero chance of detection. The idiocy, it's too much to take. Once you've taken the difficult steps of discarding all ethical baggage and gaining possession of magic glasses, why not take one day off for some IQ lessons?
I speculate that this will not be anywhere near a fatal blow to absolute poker. The online echo chamber makes it easy to conclude something is a bigger deal than it is. People forget that 95% of poker players don't read poker forums, and some huge percentage of people already figured they were being cheated and kept playing anyway. On top of that, the people who would stop playing over this are on average going to be better and most likely winning players, which leaves the remaining population fish-heavy, which then draws almost everyone back in. It's just the way of it. Once you have a reliable population of fish at an online poker site, there's little short of a nuke that could put you out of business. Hell, we re-elected bush - if torturing people in our name isn't reason enough to disavow someone, then a little stolen money is peanuts.