I’ll be completely honest. I am just about done with writing about UB. As I have mentioned before, the search stats tell me a lot of folks come around Hard-Boiled Poker looking for information on the insider cheating scandals at UltimateBet. Those that do land on a number of posts (although frankly, the real, hard information is better found on the forums and elsewhere). Those posts do provide okay summaries, though, and some point to other, better sources. These are the ones the seekers normally hit:
March 8, 2008: “Cheating ‘Scheme’ Confirmed at UltimateBet”
May 6, 2008: “Report on UltimateBet Cheating ‘Scheme’ Due Soon”
May 16, 2008: “Multiple ‘Super-Users’ Cheated on UltimateBet”
May 23, 2008: “UltimateBet Cheating Scandal Finally ‘News’ (Sort of)”
July 23, 2008: “On the Horizon: The Future of UltimateBet?”
September 18, 2008: “Former UltimateBet Owners Face $75 Million Claim”
October 1, 2008: “Hamilton, UltimateBet, & the WSOP”
Like I say, seems like over the last couple of days all I’m hearing is UltimateBet this and UltimateBet that. So here’s one last recap of the latest. Then, like I say, I may have to let this here subject go for a while. As I was writing about yesterday, I have a lot of other interests I’d like to be pursuing.
First, over the weekend I listened to the latest Pocket Fives podcast (the 12/11/08 episode), the first half of which included a brief interview with Tokwiro Enterprises Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett.
The first three minutes of the interview involve questions about the 11/30/08 segment on 60 Minutes reporting on the insider cheating scandals Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. As he has done at length elsewhere (such as on his new UltimateBet blog), Leggett roundly dismissed the segment as “superficial,” “inaccurate,” and “biased,” adding that the producers “tried to sensationalize everything about Tokwiro and the KGC [the Kahnawake Gaming Commission].” (Not to defend UB or the KGC, but Leggett ain’t completely off-base with these charges, actually.)
Then, after a quick question about Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy leaving UltimateBet, the last half of the interview (five minutes or so) is taken up with talking about all the great things associated with the launch of the new Cereus network. Basically a commercial, that. Feel free to skip.
Next, on Sunday (12/13), David Sklansky started yet another enigmatic thread over in the “News, Views, and Gossip” forum on Two Plus Two which he titled “Major Player Doubts Russ Hamilton’s Guilt.”
You’ll recall Russ Hamilton, the 1994 World Series of Poker Main Event champion and a consultant-slash-possible-part-owner of UltimateBet, was specifically implicated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission as “the main person responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents” (from the KGC’s September 29th presser). Hamilton was also a focus of sorts for part of that 60 Minutes segment.
Ever the provocateur, Sklansky begins his post saying the player “specifically told me I can’t use his name but you all know him.” He then goes on to say that while he himself doesn’t know enough about the situation to have an opinion on the matter, this “major” player said he believed Hamilton was not, in fact, guilty (presumably) of the KGC’s charge, adding “that he [the unnamed player] believed that Russ was a convenient scapegoat for the present owners.”
For what it’s worth, Barry Greenstein hops in the thread on the second page to inform the world that what Sklansky heard wasn’t all that newsworthy. Or even gossipworthy. “People come up to me every day with their theories about why Russ wouldn't be involved or how he was too greedy and is involved,” writes Greenstein.
Then yesterday morning I saw another piece over on the Poker News Daily site (dated 12/15/08), an interview with Phil Hellmuth by Dan Cypra (also part of the PocketFives staff).
Here is the first question of the interview: “You’re the main face of Ultimate Bet. What makes the online poker site so attractive?” You can guess how the piece goes from there. (Not incidentally, the article -- like all articles on the site -- is full of affiliate links to UB.) Hooray for Hellmuth! Hooray for UltimateBet! So attractive!
Finally, I heard Annie Duke interviewed on PokerRoad Radio (the 12/14/08 episode). Unlike Hellmuth, who barely addresses the fact that the site has had “some issues,” Duke willingly discusses the situation with the PokerRoad guys.
As if to counter directly Sklansky’s second-hand report, she professes her steadfast belief in Hamilton’s guilt, saying there “isn’t any question that he’s at the center of the storm.” She hopes he ends up in jail and/or the “seventh ring in hell [with] fire and having sulphurous crap poured over [him] and fingernails pulled out and things like that.” To be fair, Duke has tongue in cheek with that last fantasy. And yes, the seventh ring of hell is the one Dante reserves for those guilty of fraud.
Duke also throws out a number of other interesting items regarding the UB scandal (though fatigue prevents me from addressing them all here). She says the company has “made everyone whole” -- i.e., has fully refunded all who were cheated. However, Duke also says other accounts involved in the cheating could still be found, though that is “unlikely.” Thus, the case isn’t necessarily “closed” and more refunds could still be made if other such accounts were discovered.
Along those lines, Duke says all players who have played on UltimateBet can request their hand histories from the site, and “we’ll send anybody who requests it their lifetime hand histories.”
I found that statement especially interesting, since back in October I did, in fact, request my lifetime hand histories from UltimateBet, and was told then that “due to the amount of information, we are not able to send you all your hand histories.” I only played on the site for about a year (perhaps less), and sporadically at that, so I cannot believe the “amount of information” for which I am asking is that overwhelming. We’re probably talking less than 10,000 hands, total. I mean, damn, when I asked PokerStars the same question they promptly sent me four years’ worth of hand histories -- over a quarter million hands!
So I thought I’d try again. Here’s an email I sent to UB this morning:
I’ll add a postscript here with their response, so I won’t have to bother with yet another post on UB. ’Cos like I say, I’d rather post about other stuff. Such as sites I like, e.g., PokerStars, where I’ll be playing in this evening’s World Blogger Championship of Online Poker event.
Okay, that’s it. UB done now.
(EDIT [added 12/17/08, 4:30 p.m.]: I heard back from UB and they tell me they are indeed willing to send me my hand histories, although the process may take up to two weeks.)