One of the ways I usually end up helping out at these shows involves handling various jobs associated with the maintenance of Vera’s horse. In other words, having long ago agreed to be her groom, I continue today as a different kind of groom for her.
I’m not a rider myself, but I am qualified for several of these highly necessary tasks, including the important one of periodically keeping the stall clean. That’s right. I’m talking about being able to use a long-handled tool especially designed for digging and shoveling.
And no, I’m not talking about shinola.
Anyhow, being away from home as I was, I was only intermittently “on the grid” for the last several days. However, I was sufficiently connected to become aware on Friday night that Russ Hamilton’s former assistant and would-be fall guy Travis Makar had suddenly made available a host of new information regarding the extensive and widespread insider cheating scandal and subsequent cover-up at Ultimate Bet.
I’m sure you know all about this release of information, too, including its highlight -- two audio recordings of meetings secretly made by Hamilton himself revealing details of both the cheating and the early stages of the cover-up. The recordings have been known by many to exist for quite a while, actually, but their having been made public now finally gives everyone a chance to listen and learn a lot more about how deep the scandal went and how devious Hamilton and others were.
As I say, I was occupied for much of the weekend, unable to sit in my usual workspace in order to listen, read what others were saying, formulate thoughts and take notes, and write. But I was able to hear the entire five hours’ worth of meetings on my iPhone as I went about my work around the barn.
Having only listened through once, I’m not ready today to offer any sort of comprehensive response to what appears on the recordings. I imagine I will eventually find the time and energy, however, to add another post (or posts) to the pile being created by others as well as the one I have built here at Hard-Boiled Poker over the years.
We all knew Hamilton was an immoral ogre, but on the recordings he seems positively inhuman. Others on the recordings (UB founder Greg Pierson, attorney Daniel Friedberg, attorney Sandy Millar), while being badgered about by Hamilton, seem nearly as repulsive.
I will say I thought more than once while listening about the Watergate tapes, which as someone with a special interest in Nixon I’ve listened to quite a bit over the years. The ambience and whole “we gotta contain this” purpose of the discussions almost uncannily recalls the experience of listening to those tapes, too.
Such a mood is firmly established at the beginning of the first-released recording:
Hamilton: “So, Dan… where are we at here?”
Friedberg: “Well, Greg said this thing is spiraling.”
Hamilton: “Say that again?”
Friedberg: “This thing is spiraling.”
I also had another thought as I listened, connecting the entire, complicated saga with what I was doing at the time. And yes, that thought was partly inspired by the sound of Hamilton visiting the restroom after the meeting concluded on the first-released recording, sounding as though he was (with great difficulty) emptying his bowels -- a hilarious coda seemed to literalize the overriding metaphor of the meeting that preceded it.
You push stuff around and dig and dig, and dammit there’s more there. Finally you just give up and stop digging, because otherwise it never ends.
Just like with UltimateBet.