Some may recall that the online poker site issued an “interim statement” back on March 6th in which UB announced it had “launched an extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert” to investigate the abnormally high win rate of a user named “NioNio.” The statement appeared to confirm that some sort of cheating “scheme” had been perpetrated, and the site promised to examine closely hand histories involving the then-deleted NioNio account as well as any other accounts that may have been involved in the scheme.
Arem, who is in contact with the “guy who is, basically, leading the investigation at UB,” says “there is significant evidence that there were superusers on Ultimate Bet as well as Absolute Poker. The evidence comes from around the same time period as the AP cheating.”
Arem expresses confidence that the current management team at UB has “done a very thorough investigation and they’re committing some very significant resources to make sure that it never happens again at AP or UB.” That being said, Arem says “If I were you, I probably wouldn’t play at UB or AP right now.”
Even if the sites both successfully clean up their acts, Arem still understands why some players may well choose never to play on either site ever again. “Make no mistake about it,” writes Arem, “there was blatant cheating on both AP and UB in 2007 and if the players never spoke up, nothing would have ever gotten refunded or fixed.”
Annie Duke, one of Ultimate Bet’s paid pros, has also weighed in on the matter this morning. It was recently announced that Duke had taken on a larger role with UB, overseeing the site’s tournament schedule and helping further promote the brand.
In a post over on Pocket Fives (from about an hour ago), Duke says she’s “satisfied with both the intent of the management team to deal honestly with the allegations, as well as with the integrity of the management team itself.” She hopes that the team will “make its findings public within the month,” or perhaps even “within two to three weeks.”
Still amazes me how little has been reported on this entire spectacle over the past two months. While much depends on what the report says, my sense is it will do little damage, relatively speaking, to Ultimate Bet.
Meanwhile, 60 Minutes apparently continues to pull together its story on the Absolute Poker scandal. (I heard Gary Wise reporting on his podcast last month he had been interviewed for the segment.) Remains to be seen whether that story will touch on the cheating that has occurred at Ultimate Bet or not. (The company that owns Absolute Poker [Blast Off Limited] bought out the company that owned Ultimate Bet [Excapsa] back in October 2006.)
In any event, as I’ve already made clear here several times, none of these reports is going to affect my relationship with either AP or UB. ’Cos I ain’t going back, no way no how.
(EDIT [added 5/7/08]: In other eyebrow-raising news, this morning the Poker King reports that yesterday's Bad Beat Jackpot winner on Ultimate Bet, a player named “dhc2lovr,” also won the BBJ back in March. The player picked up over $448K for yesterday's jackpot, and over $171K two months ago.)