Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Following the Story of the Story (AP & UB)

What Really Happened...Yesterday there were a couple of poker-related news items that grabbed my attention. Yours too, probably. Both concerned the Cereus network’s terrible twins, Absolute Poker and UltimateBet.

One was the news that Haley Hintze has a deal with Dimat Enterprises to write a book covering the insider cheating scandals at the two sites.

Just about anyone who has heard of the scandals is aware that Hintze has been investigating this twisted, troubling tale for quite some time. Since they first started to appear in the fall of 2009, Hintze’s “Still Conjecturin’” posts regarding the scandals have been required reading for anyone with any interest in what happened (and has continued to happen) at AP and UB. As someone with such an interest -- and as a fan of detective stories! -- I can’t wait to read Hintze’s account.

I have a couple of other reasons for being excited about the news of Hintze’s forthcoming book. For one, I’ve long thought she was one of the better writers/thinkers in this little field, and so would be interested to read anything Hintze wrote, regardless of the subject. I’m also a fan of Dimat and Matthew Hilger (whom I had a chance to interview for Betfair back in April 2010). I’ve found books published by Dimat have been of consistently high quality both in terms of content and presentation, which makes me even more pleased about yesterday’s news.

See Hintze’s blog for more on the book announcement. Also, check out Hilger’s Internet Texas Hold’em site where a special thread has been set up for discussions about the book. Some fun title suggestions being batted back and forth there at the moment.

The other AP/UB news item from yesterday concerned the announcement that both sites were cutting loose all of their sponsored pros, which I believe includes one from AP (Trishelle Cannatella) and 10 from UB (Eric Baldwin, Brandon Cantu, Bryan Devonshire, Prahlad Friedman, Maria Ho, Scott Ian, Adam Levy, Tiffany Michelle, Joe Sebok, and Dave Stann). That news comes on the heels other stories regarding raids in Costa Rica, bankruptcy rumors, and what appears to be a steadily decreasing likelihood of players ever recovering funds from accounts on the two sites.

In the wake of that announcement, much of the subsequent focus yesterday afternoon fell upon Joe Sebok, who as both a UB sponsored pro and “media and operations consultant” for the site has drawn a great deal of attention from the poker community over the last year or so.

After a week of Twitter silence, Sebok penned a blog post yesterday in which he addressed the news of his parting with UB and reflected on his tenure with the site.

When Sebok first signed with UB, I wrote a post (“The Sebok Surprise”) in which I likened my impression of the move to sweating a friend who looked as though he might be misplaying a hand. Judging from yesterday’s post, it appears Sebok did just that. Sounds like his holding was never that strong, he thought he had more chips to play with than he did, and his read of others at the table was way, way off.

Sebok joined UB in September 2009, coincidentally right around the time Hintze started publishing her “Still Conjecturin’” posts. I suppose one could say that over the last 20 months both have been similarly motivated to publicize the story of the scandals.

But if it’s true both shared a similar goal, one was obviously much more efficient than the other when it came to achieving it.

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Blogger Drizztdj said...

Personally I think Seebs waaaaaaaay underestimated how a corporation runs and what kind of information they'd "allow" to be told to the public.

Think my company would allow me to make their pricing model public? Why would Seebs assume they would basically allow him to do the same?

Horrible business judgement and now his rep is trashed and may never recover. Still wish him the best in future.

5/10/2011 12:59 PM  
Blogger NT said...

It's interesting to note that Phil Hellmuth quietly got the heck out of UB and, essentially, online poker altogether before all the substance hit the fan.

Who knows what he knew?

5/10/2011 10:51 PM  

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