Posts Tagged ‘cheating’

Pitbull Poker Shuts Down in Dark of Night

by , Sep 30, 2009 | 8:49 am

Those looking to cash out from Pitbull Poker may have to wait in perpetuity.

From LasVegasVegas:

Pitbull Poker has seemingly closed its doors for business.
Players can visit the website but are unable to login to the poker client, and sources say the owners in Costa Rica were seen moving out computers in the middle of the night.

Pitbull was originally launched under WSOP.com, a domain registered by former Binions employee Federico Schiavio … Recently Pitbull Poker had been accused of having “superuser” accounts, similar to the Absolute Poker scandal, in which one player can see everyone else’s hole cards.

WSOP.com was one of the first big post-boom poker lawsuits … with Harrah’s successfully wrangling the domain name from the old Binion’s tech guy who held onto it after Binion’s handed over the keys to the WSOP.


Joe Sebok Joins UltimateBet as Media & Operations Consultant

Seeks to Release Scandal Hand Histories & Cheater Names

by , Sep 21, 2009 | 9:30 pm

Didn’t really see this one coming, but Joe Sebok explained in great detail why he made the decision to join the UltimateBet team. His latest blog post on PokerRoad starts with his skepticism about joining UB when he was asked on previous occasions, and it ends with the reasons he not only agreed to be a sponsored player but a consultant for the company in charge of media and operations.

The stipulation for joining the team came with wanting to ensure that the company moves forward – away from the scandal – in a positive direction and maintains a spotlessly clean reputation and record. Feeling responsible to the poker community that is part of PokerRoad, he wanted to be sure that he will represent a company that he believes in and one that the poker world can again trust. And to show that UB is willing to be as open as possible, the company has agreed to let Sebok’s first priority be the release of all hand histories associated with the scandal and the names of those paired with those accounts. Though KGC wanted no part of releasing the names of Russ Hamilton’s 31 co-conspirators, UB seems to have changed its mind on the subject.

Sebok wrote:

The first order of business with my position at Ub has been to help aid in the release of not only ALL of the hand histories from the super-user scandal, but also the accounts that were used to perpetuate the scandal itself and the actual physical names of those individuals who we believe to have been directly involved in disparate ways with the actual cheating. As most of you know, two-thirds of this has now been accomplished. Please take this as a first step in showing that things will be different at UltimateBet moving forward. I commend Paul and the management team over at Ub for being open to this release and making it happen at my insistence . They deserve all the credit in the world today in taking these first steps in ensuring that this case gets closed, and closed correctly.


KGC Spokesperson Says List of Hamilton Co-Conspirators Will Not Be Released/Leaked

by , Sep 11, 2009 | 6:03 pm

As soon as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released its final decision in the UltimateBet cheating scandal, the questions started hitting. Most of them concerned the secrecy around the list of 31 names said to be associated with Russ Hamilton. A discussion with Chuck Barnett, member of the Board of Supervisors of Mohawk Internet Technologies, provided his reasons for not releasing that list of names.

Mr. Barnett first told me that implicating Hamilton in the scandal was not a problem, as it was “very clear” that he was directly connected and responsible for the crimes being alleged. The names of the 31 individuals associated were another story, he says. The Commission had lengthy discussions regarding the release of those names and ultimately consulted their legal team and law enforcement officials.

On the legal front, they deemed it a civil liability issue, as the suspects are directly linked to Hamilton or the 117 accounts listed BUT there is the possibility that they had no knowledge of the scheme. If they were accused and found to be completely oblivious to or innocent of the crimes, there would be liability in falsely accusing them. There is also some question as to each person’s level of culpability, which can’t be known until they are questioned by the proper authorities. And per law enforcement, naming the individuals would impede a criminal investigation, as anyone named may be able to flee the country, hide, etc. With all things considered, the KGC made the decision to withhold the names.

When asked about the law enforcement agencies involved, Mr. Barnett wouldn’t say much. Legally, all he said he could say was all information from the KGC investigation was turned over to “law enforcement,” which had expressed a distinct interest in pursuing the case. He could not say, however, whether those were Canadian or U.S. authorities, only that there were discussions with “regional and national” agencies.

If/when indictments are handed down or prosecutions are made, or if some other permission is given by law enforcement, the KGC will make public the names – and be happy to do it. Until then, based on overwhelming advice, the list will remain a mystery.


KGC Issues Final UB Scandal Report

Account Names Released, Hamilton Said to Have 31 Co-Conspirators

by , | 2:13 pm

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s investigation into the UltimateBet cheating scandal has been concluded with the release of its final decision. The 11-page document does provide some new information.

• In total, Tokwiro, owner of UltimateBet, refunded $22,054,351.91 to players affected by the cheating incidences.
• Tokwiro paid $1.5 million in fines, plus the costs of the investigation, to the KGC.
• Tokwiro is on a one-year “probation” period, during which time it must provide all details of daily operations, including financial and gaming records.
• Going forward, Tokwiro must maintain three sets of web/game logs, one of which will be housed at the offices of the KGC.
• All officers, directors, shareholders, and key people associated with Tokwiro must be known to the KGC.
• There were 23 accounts and 117 usernames used in the cheating.
• Much of the stolen money was disbursed through player-to-player transfers on UB.
• Russell Hamilton, associated at the time with eWorld Holdings Group, was primarily responsible for the scandal. The “vast majority” of the IP addresses used were directly connected to Hamilton.
• Hamilton’s actions that constituted “criminal behaviour” were associated with 31 other individuals, whose names were not released in the document.
• All information has been provided to law enforcement authorities to determine if criminal charges can be filed.

The entire decision can be accessed here by clicking on the “News” link.

The accompanying press release stated:

The decision released today reviews the corrective actions that have been taken by Tokwiro over the past 12 months, and concludes that Tokwiro has provided sufficient evidence to justify the continuation of its license to operate, subject to a number of additional conditions of licensure.

“Despite the unfortunate circumstances that resulted in this cheating, we are satisfied that the actions taken by the Commission provided an equitable result for affected players – our first priority. We remain optimistic that this experience and the lessons learned from it will result in a higher standard of gaming regulation for companies licensed and regulated within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and elsewhere,” said Chairman Montour.


UltimateBet/Absolute Scandals Revisited

by , Sep 7, 2009 | 11:02 pm

Many in the poker industry consider the UltimateBet and Absolute Poker scandals resolved, at least as much as we can expect them to be considering the sources of any information and the lack of the ability to involve U.S. law enforcement due to jurisdictional issues. And while some of us still have eyes and ears open for further developments, such as those that may appear on a Russ Hamilton twitter feed, Haley Hintze, former Editor-in-Chief of PokerNews, has decided to put out all of her well-informed conjecture on her own blog and gives one of the more detailed explanations of how, when, and why the UB/AP scandals were perpetrated. Though she has only posted Part 1, the rest of the story, we presume, is forthcoming.

Part 1 dives into the beginnings and how Hamilton got involved and possibly recruited help. Here is a portion of the post:

There are three reasonable scenarios for how the cheating spread, as spread it surely did:

1) One or more software engineers working on the UB code recognized the illicit profit potential for themselves, and also began to slice money from the games;

2) Hamilton himself recruited one or more Costa Rican workers to assist him in the cheating, as a way of expanding the total money being stolen;

3) Someone at UB caught Hamilton — probably noticing unusual withdrawal amounts relative to the amount of play Hamilton was logging — and decided to cut himself in for a slice of the action.

From some time in 2006, I believe, it was game on in a big way for the cheats. I’d heard whispers as far back as 2005 that something was wrong with the cash games at UB, but I played there very little, only at small stakes, and couldn’t really speak to it.

The post in its entirety can be found here.


Pitbull Poker in the Doghouse with Players

by , Aug 3, 2009 | 11:30 am

There seems to be a cheating scandal brewing at Pitbull Poker, or at least a group of well-documented incidents that don’t sit well with players, according to an ever-growing thread on 2+2. While they can’t seem to pinpoint what is wrong – not quite a superuser situation – many players are citing the fact that hand histories aren’t easy to examine, they sometimes disappear from the site, and hole cards that sometimes appear randomly.

It’s a bit confusing, but Poker News Daily seems to have broken down the allegations of superuser accounts, stack shaving, odd hand history formats, and software glitches. The latest, as of a few days ago and just before the topic was closed by 2+2, original poster chesterboy wrote the following:

I believe all relevant people and companies have have been identified.

If there was wrongdoing, I believe I should be hearing back from some people that can verify the stories, especially if the sweatshop story has any truth to it.

If there was no wrongdoing, I am now back in productive dialogue with [Network Manager Dave Brenes], and we should be able to verify these things in a somewhat timely manner.

I am sorry things had to get this unpleasant to get an appropriate reaction from pitbull. So far the only verified shortcomings of pitbull are poor communication and slow response times. Kevin, while having a questionable history has not yet been shown to have done anything wrong here. I too do not have a perfect past though it may not show up on the internet so easily. We can’t condemn someone in this case for past wrongdoings.

They have been misleading regarding licenses but this is standard for the industry and not something I intend to pursue if there is no evidence of cheating on the site. I play in a state where poker is banned so it benefits me that some companies are willing to bend the law. Being that they are in Costa Rica it is possible they have not broken any laws.

Anyone have any history with Pitbull? Does anyone even play at Pitbull?


Russ Hamilton Joins the PPA?

by , Jul 21, 2009 | 3:53 pm

Howard Stern wasn’t the only one to join the PPA this week (aka “National Poker Week”). Caught up in the poker-politicky whirlwinds emanating from Washington DC, Russ Hamilton also became a member, as seen here:

Says Hamilton, according to sources plausibly fabricated out of thin air: “Joining the PPA is the right thing to do. It shows you are a good person who really cares about protecting poker players from internet malfeasance. We need US regulation to ensure a fair playing field for all, and so we can appropriately punish anyone who might steal 10s of millions of dollars from unknowing American players. Ha ha ha ha! LOL.”

Hamilton says he also plans to sign the Poker Petition (350k electronic signatures and climbing) and may even submit a video to MyPokerStory.com.

“Mine is a really good one,” he says.


60 Minutes to Re-Air AP Cheating Scandal Story

This Sunday, June 28

by , Jun 26, 2009 | 7:03 pm

On a day when the world’s eyes will likely be focused on Day 3 of $50k HORSE USA vs. Brazil, 60 minutes is rerunning their story on the biggest scandal to hit online poker.

Curious timing. It could just be a throwaway piece of filler, or it could be given an introductory time-hook connecting it to the kickoff of the WSOP. (The non-poker world that hasn’t been following us for the past month thinks the World Series starts next week.) Or … might the replay have been pushed in connection with National Poker Week and the supposedly soon-to-be-heard Barney Frank bill?

ADDENDUM: Yep, pushed back to September.

If that’s the case, you gotta wonder which side pushed for that — the side that contends prohibition is necessary because online poker is a crooked, degenerate pursuit, or the side trumpeting regulation in part because of the assistance needed to keep the game clean.


Marked Cards at the WSOP ?

by , Jun 21, 2009 | 10:08 pm

The card pictured here, according to @Andy_Bloch, was actually in use and in play at his table during today’s $5,000 NLH-Shootout.

Hmm, despite what some Batfaces may contend after a particularly good home-game run in 2005-06, I don’t know enough about card-marking systems to tell if these scuffs are a matter of defective product or an overzealous cheater. I’d tend to think the former — when you use a bajillion decks, there’s gonna be a bad one in there — but this pic is not the first murmur of marked cards at the 2009 WSOP.

But usually it’s in the high buy-in mixed games where the dangers occur (and floormen are operating on high alert). For example, smudges and nail marks were reportedly found on decks in the $10k 2-7NL-1D (won by Phil Ivey), where at least one specific player was targeted for enhanced interrogations intensified scrutiny.


Russ Hamilton Sightings

by , Apr 1, 2009 | 2:27 pm

We’ve called him the Bernie Madoff of Poker, but really, that moniker may no longer be apropos … because Bernie’s in jail. Now he’s more like the OJ Simpson of Poker … a man who most believe has so far gotten away with a shameful crime. Sure, no one has died yet, but honestly, it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? Folks are still being protective of names, but I keep hearing stories of people who were ripped off by Russ Hamilton the way Mike Matusow claims he was … playing heads-up matches, losing, having Hamilton ship the money back to them, losing again, repeat … pay him off in cash. The results have been mortgaged houses, broken marriages, dangerous drug binges, and near-nervous breakdowns. We are talking very real lives here being very really fucked up … and all accuse the same man, who has thus far dodged criminal prosecution.

What makes it worse for these folks is that they haven’t gotten any refunds from Ultimate Bet — because either they paid off their “debts” in cash, or they too have been flagged for further investigation because of the large money transfers between them and Hamilton. So with that in mind, and some $60 million that would otherwise be in the Poker Economy unaccounted for … it’s always interesting to know what this man who has been convicted of nothing (and, sadly, charged with nothing) is up to.

Micon from Neverwin spotted him recently playing 2/5 NL at Red Rock:

Elsewhere around town, reliable sources tell us Hamilton recently played a bar freeroll at one of the pubs at Flamingo and Jones. (Still seeking confirmation on the bar’s name.) No buy-in and no prizes beyond bar tabs and food coupons. Supposedly playing with him in this same event (about six weeks ago?): Layne Flack.

No word on whether either of them made the final table.

More Matusow on Hamilton’s impact here. (Scroll halfway down.)

UPDATE: The bar where Flack and Hamilton were spotted playing a freeroll is Torino’s.


Is Russ Hamilton about to Get Al Capwned?

IRS wants a word with excommunicated UB leader, too

by , Feb 9, 2009 | 5:31 pm

This is more than just Rumorati … it’s based on actual purported facts and second-hand semi-verified info:

Word is that the IRS has been in direct contact with at least two important and well-informed online pokerers who may or may not have important data on Russ Hamilton and the money stolen via Ultimate Bet. And this is not just some computer in Washington DC sending out form letters — there’s apparently a special agent in Nevada currently investigating the case.

What they’re interested in is 20 million untaxed dollars. And as is starting to get revealed since RawVegas went commando with their cameras, there is clearly more to this case than just an online poker cheating scandal and subsequent tax evasion … there could be some money laundering involved … which is kinda funny (not funny ha ha) because money laundering was one of the primary reasons given for the UIGEA … and now we have an example of how the law to prevent it may indeed have facilitated it.

I don’t know enough about how IRS investigations work to know what kind of teeth this thing really has — but I’d like to think that so long as the Feds keep an eye out for one-way tickets to Costa Rica by any R. Hamilton’s … in the end, one way or another, his fate is not going to be left in the hands of the Kahnawake.


Russ Hamilton Speaks! Or Doesn’t — Same Difference!

RawVegas gets what 60 Minutes couldn’t

by , Feb 5, 2009 | 2:43 pm

Must-see … via Wicked Chops … the RawVegas red carpet crew gets some face-to-face time with alleged Ultimate Bet supercheater Russ Hamilton (wearing a clubUBT.com visor, interestingly enough) to see what he has to say about being the Bernie Madoff of Poker:

Watch RUSS HAMILTON UltimateBet Super-User Cheating Scandal (Exclusive Video) on RawVegas.tv

Kudos, btw, to the WCP/RV guys for reminding us that old school gotcha journo-ing does have a purpose.


British Kids Playing Poker

by , Jan 11, 2009 | 2:21 pm

WARNING: This is one of those videos (and a follow-up) that some of you might see as “3 minutes of my life I’ll never get back”. For those of you with time to spare … (unintentionally?) funny vid from a young British chap named King Gamble … er-3 on what you need to be a “cool” Texas Hold’em player:

And here’s his strategy guide on how to win at poker:

And probably most fascinating — though this one will take more than 6 minutes of your life — is the kids for-educational-purposes-only lesson on “How to Cheat at Poker”:

I think I like the painting chips method best. This kid clearly has a future as a poker blogger, and afterward we can go play with our Star Wars action figures! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?


RE: DanM Live on Wise Hand Poker

by , Dec 4, 2008 | 2:23 pm

This was my “career horoscope” yesterday:

Assuming you understand others is a big mistake. Bypass the analysis and stick to your own work.

Oops, but oh well, too late now … The podcast is up.

Because Gary Wise relies on me to tell him and his listeners how to think Hevad Khan canceled … (right)click here to listen to/download the entire episode (including the opening segment with Dewey Tomko) or press the buttons below to hear my segment — where GW hems and haws as I analyze the 60 Minutes and Washington Post pieces, then speculate wildly on the cheating scandals and their relationship to the present business/legal/political landscape and what it all may or may not mean for the future of the entire world! poker industry.

Wise Hand Poker (feat. Dan from Pokerati) 42:08
RoundersRadio

[audio:12-03-08-wisehandpoker.mp3]

RE: 60 Minutes to Air AP/UB Story (3)

by , Nov 29, 2008 | 1:54 am

Dan Druff over at Neverwin breaks down the Paul Leggett memo in a way that might make some think the AP/UB scandal is still going on, or at least a cover-up is:

* Tokwiro agreed not to prosecute the perpetrator in the Absolute Poker cheating, and to protect that individual’s identity, because this was the only way to ensure that the ability to cheat was fully discovered and disabled. Because of this decision, AP could continue operating and begin to reimburse affected players as quickly as possible.

Pretty sweet deal for the guy, huh? Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that will agree not to prosecute you for stealing millions from them, provided that you just show them how you did it, if caught? There is zero chance that this is true. It would have been easy for them to deconstruct this after-the-fact without this asshole’s help. Obviously they are protecting him either due to continued association/affiliation (likely), fear that he will spill the beans on everyone and everything else there (also likely), or both (most likely).

Must-read for anyone who wants to understand what all the hubbub is about.