Posts Tagged ‘scandals’

October 2, 2011

Feel the Shame

It's the scummy poker world, not just Full Tilt, on trial

jesse may poker shame
Jesse May

OP-ED

It didnt’t really bother me when Poker Spot folded, because that guy had history. And I laughed about the money Aces Poker stole, because anyone who trusted them couldn’t ever spot a cheat. The Ultimate Bet scandal wasn’t really that surprising, as we’d heard stories about him for years. And it never shocked me when they cheated me in Atlantic City, or went partners against me in Vegas, or at Foxwoods tried to do a runner with my funds. The nips, the moves, the cheats, the angle shooters, and those that were just plain thieves. For the past ten years when the stars put on their caps and badges and smiled for the TV, we used to smile to ourselves. And then we’d laugh as we’d tick off the big names in poker and say, “But he’s really just a little scumbag, isn’t he?” Because they pretty much all were. And that’s the way it’s always been.

I didn’t always think like that, of course, and neither did you. I came into poker just like yourself, wide eyed and dough faced and on the back of a little bit of luck. Full of passion for the game and a romantic view of the poker world and a desire to be accepted by the rambling gambling men who ruled. It’s natural when you have a pocketful of money and a bellyful of gamble and all the confidence in the world, it’s natural that when it comes to people you can be a little naïve. I certainly was, and so probably were you.

I’m ashamed that I have sat by in silence while you all cheated, stole, and lied. I know you, you thieving tournament directors, you scumbag poker players, you dirtbag angle shooters with your names stitched on your shirts. I know you. And I’m ashamed that I’ve sat here for twenty years and let you rule the poker world as long as I was still getting paid.

But you get wiser because you have to. My circle got small and my radar got sharp and I could count all the people that I could really trust on maybe one hand. And I told them they could trust me. And pretty much everyone else were scumbags and cheats. In poker, that’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it’s been for me, and that’s the way it is for you. And we don’t ever talk out of turn. Because in this world if you shit where you eat, then you’ll end up hungry. That’s what you need to know about poker. That’s what you need to know about me.

I’ve been around long enough so that just one more scam, cheat, or mismanagement of funds, one more of those should be just like more water off another duck’s back. But something happened to me when Full Tilt Poker collapsed. This one is different. This has laid me low. It’s not just anger I feel, it’s not just disdain, and I can’t sit here like I always do and smile to myself and point fingers and call them scum. Because what I feel more than anything else right now, is shame.

More…

Posted by at 5:33 am

October 14, 2010

Phil Iveys of Golf and Tennis Named in Gambling Scandal

I’m not sure I really get the lawsuit, but Tiger Woods and Roger Federer have gotten caught up, by proxy, in some sort of big-time shady gambling allegations, where a printing company claims the owner of Woods’ and Federer’s management company, IMG, placed millions of dollars of bets, sometimes against his own clients, based on “inside” information. And somebody owes someone shares of the company to pay off debts?

Hmm, again, not claiming to really get these non-poker lawsuits, but sounds like it could all be as inconsequential as Crispin Leyser vs. Jamie Gold. Possibly truly scandalous, maybe not, but either way, don’t these guys understand real gamblers have a lot pending on gambling matters these days … and we don’t need douchebag pro athletes screwing things up for us by making gambling look “shady” or “bad”!

Jeesh … if you’re gonna bet against a friend, colleague, or client — especially with potential match fixing perceptions in play — you gotta at least tweet about it. Friggin’ non-poker amateurs.

At least they didn’t do whatever they did online.

Posted by at 2:05 pm

June 20, 2010

Russ Hamilton Seen at WSOP Seniors Event

Oklahoma Johnny Hale was scootering around the record-setting WSOP-Seniors event last night once they got down to about nine tables … he was splashing pots with $5 commemorative chips from Palace Station honoring members of “The Seniors” Poker Player Hall of Fame.

The chip plausibly stimulating additional action on the table I happened to be watching bore a familiar mug … none other than disgraced poker pioneer Russ Hamilton, which presumably could make for quite the collector’s item.

Jack Ward has only seen his fortunes in the WSOP-Seniors event improve since taking down the pot with a Russ Hamilton Hall of Fame overlay.

The winner of that pot, btw, and the hotly desired piece of poker memorabilia, was Jack Ward, from Gulfport, Miss. Not all the Johnny Hale splash pots happened to feature Russ Hamilton chips … there were also some Vince Burgios, Johnny Moss’s, TJ Cloutiers, and others. But since taking down the Hamilton coin, Ward jumped from about 50k in chips to 519k, which had him on the verge of elimination in Day 2 starting Day 3, today, in 7th position with 23 players remaining.

En route, Ward also happened to take out Berry Johnston, a current member of the Seniors Hall of Fame, who lasted longest amongst that group and finished in 39th place.

UPDATE: At this moment there are currently 13 left, with Team Pokerati’s Tom Schneider out in 14th, and newfound fan favorite Jack Ward in 10th.

You can follow the chip-for-chip action here.

Investigations into Hamilton Role in UB Cheating Scandals Ongoing

Meanwhile, Wicked Chops seem to be getting onto the multi-part longform-narrative bandwagon, perhaps realizing that’s the really the only way to tell the full story of the biggest poker cheating scam in history, and possibly a multibillion-dollar black eye to an online poker industry still struggling for legitimacy.

Be sure to read Part 1 of WCP’s The Ultimate Bet Super-User Scandal, as they piece together initial Nat Arem discoveries, Haley Hintze’s continuing investigative research, and their own original reporting to weave together a tale of how “Russ Hamilton pulled the strings to develop a super-user ‘tool’ that cheated friends, associates, and UltimateBet customers out of millions of dollars.”

While it seems like Wicked Chops may be putting together something more akin to the Warren Report while Haley nails down the dirty details of Umbrella Man, it seems clear that before all is said and done with Cereus, we’ll be looking at a true-crime aga of online poker shenanigans that goes far beyond any one man on a single chip playing dirty.

Posted by at 4:53 pm

May 20, 2010

BREAKING: Brunson Beer Pong Is Rigged!

I know because I rigged it

The bracket for Brunson Beer Pong came out Wednesday evening, and a few hours later, text messages began flying between players believing they might be witnessing some serious malfeasance in the pairings.

@JimShipley wrote:

How rigged was the beer pong seeding you fuck! You’re in the effin ladies bracket. Fuller and I play last yrs champion if we win?

From there the evidence was mounting. 2+2 posters did a statistical analysis and noticed discrepancies that stretched far beyond the realm of variance:

Facing all these allegations and (screams for a life-ban from poker), @Pokerati admitted “Indeed, there absolutely was no random draw involved! But I’m not sorry … I’d do it again!” In the meantime Beer Pong officials and Pokerati Corporate have invited the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to investigate.

Perhaps pressuring me into this ethical compromise, John Katkin had to back out as my partner, and that left me with untested PokerNews young-gun Drew Flynn as his replacement. though I think my team actually improves with the addition of a player under 30, I just couldn’t trust the results in this situation to a truly fair and honest game.

As details of the scandal have come to light, doctored pairings revealed:

More…

Posted by at 2:25 am

November 13, 2009

Pokerbowl continues to deal out bad beats 2 years later

According to this report, published in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Palms Casino took a $500,000 hit for being unlucky enough to host a few tournaments gone wrong including the now infamous Pokerbowl.

Posted by at 1:07 am

September 30, 2009

RE: Pitbull Poker Shuts Down, Owner(s) Arrested in Costa Rica

According to this Bluff Latino America piece, there were some arrests made when the night shift employees grew suspicious and asked the police to stop it.

According to, now former employees of Pitbull Gaming, the owners decided to tell the night shift that they were going to make maintenance to the building. The night shift crew were suspicious about this and decided to stay to see what was really going to happen. The employees saw how a truck started gathering all the office equipment. This is the moment when employees went to the police and explained the situation and went back with the police in order to stop the process. Apparently, there are some arrests and right now the employees are in court explaining the situation to the authorities, to explain them that he is in a “flight risk” situation and should not let the owners out of Costa Rica.

Posted by at 9:07 am

Pitbull Poker Shuts Down in Dark of Night

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.

Posted by at 8:49 am

September 7, 2009

UltimateBet/Absolute Scandals Revisited

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.

Posted by at 11:02 pm

August 13, 2009

AP/UB Scandals to Be Revisited

Todd Witteles is saying over at Neverwin that there’ll be another report on a “major network” regarding corporate greed — and part of the show will be mentioning the UB/AP scandal.

Doesn’t sound like necessarily new info — but regardless, the kinda rehash that both sides of online-poker legislation will try to claim as an example of why we need to legalize/ban online poker.

Posted by at 1:41 am

August 3, 2009

Pitbull Poker in the Doghouse with Players

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?

Posted by at 11:30 am

April 9, 2009

RE: Legislative Pulse

More PartyGaming, Poker Beat

On today’s episode of The Poker Beat, BJ and I lightly sparred about the significance of Party Gaming’s $100+ million settlement with the US Department of Justice. I’m pretty sure I beat him in everyone’s mind but his own … but still, I also know I got a few things wrong that might unsettle the Insider, so it’s good to know the Washington Post pretty much agrees with my take on the fluid situation:

Today’s news sent online gambling stocks soaring overseas. That’s because some financial analysts see the settlement as possibly leading to others, thus reducing uncertainty in the industry and opening the door to industry consolidation and expansion outside the U.S

Moreover, it’s taken some hard work to educate the masses on our semi-complex issue, but it’s good to see the message the (super-influential) non-poker media is putting out there:

… some legal scholars and Internet gambling proponents see the government crackdown as a disconnect between 21st-century technology and the 20th-century laws used to protect Americans from gambling.

The Justice position is considered controversial with some members of Congress and gaming analysts arguing it has steered U.S. players to unregulated offshore sites. “The U.S. government has now succeeded in driving out the reputable publicly-traded Internet gaming operators,” said Joseph M. Kelley, a professor of business law at the State College at Buffalo, who has also served as an expert witness for gaming and government interests. “It has not decreased online gambling, but has reduced the ability to monitor suspicious transactions.”

Posted by at 6:22 pm

February 11, 2009

Joe Navarro analyzes the Russ Hamilton video

After Raw Vegas’ attempt to interview Russ Hamilton didn’t go so well, Dave Farra called up former FBI agent and expert on non-verbal communication Joe Navarro to give his opinion on the video.

Watch Joe Navarro on Russ Hamilton Video on RawVegas.tv

Posted by at 6:09 am

February 5, 2009

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

RawVegas gets what 60 Minutes couldn’t

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.

Posted by at 2:43 pm

January 2, 2009

UB issues another statement on UB software issue

On December 31, Ultimate COO Paul Leggett issued an update on previous software issues that happened earlier in December. It’s linked here, or you can click on the button below to read it in full:

More…

Posted by at 11:54 am

December 23, 2008

UB and Tokwiro issue statements on UB software issue

Ultimate COO Paul Leggett has given an update to the blog at Ultimate Bet about the Phil Hellmuth v DOUBLEBALLER hand that caused all sorts of controversy in the online community since Saturday morning, a portion of that comment is excerpted below:

As we explained in our press release, the incorrect payout was caused by a software malfunction. The software malfunction occurred when the winning player was disconnected from the hand at the precise millisecond the software was determining whom to award the prize. This in conjunction with the “player’s state” data being cleared from memory caused this extremely improbable incident to occur.

Originally we were unable to reproduce the error in our test environment, until we programatically forced a disconnect to happen at the precise millisecond the hand was being awarded.

We have never had an issue like this reported previously and we have reviewed all of our database and application logs for December and November and have been unable to find any historical occurrences. We are continuing to go back further into the historical data to ensure no hands from the past need to be corrected. Analyzing this data takes time but we will continue to go back further and further into our history to ensure no one else was affected.

Leggett’s entire statement can be found at the Ultimate Bet blog.

Tokwiro Enterprises, who own Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, issued their own statement on the matter, after the jump:

More…

Posted by at 7:32 pm