Posts Tagged ‘cheating’

RE: 60 Minutes to Air AP/UB Story (2)

Tokwiro fears for reputation of online poker or Tokwiro?

by , Nov 27, 2008 | 9:53 am

Nat Arem sure has sources. He recently received a forward of an inter-company memo from Tokwiro Enterprises COO Paul Leggett regarding the upcoming 60 Minutes story. Leggett has reason to believe that there will be a bias against Tokwiro and its companies, going further to say that online poker will emerge with a bad reputation. Thus, they did not appear on camera for interviews. (A little like saying that the jury has a bias, the judge is going to declare me guilty, so why defend myself?)

Leggett wrote:

“We have every reason to believe that the 60 Minutes producers are intent on portraying the online poker industry and our companies in a negative light, and we do not expect that the program will be either fair or balanced.

Because of 60 Minutes’ apparent bias against Tokwiro and online poker, we have decided not to appear on camera. We have, however, had many conversations with the program’s producers. We provided them with extensive background materials and documents, and we answered questions on-the-record, but off-camera. Despite all this, it is not likely that our views will be properly represented. Therefore, it is important that all of our staff know the following facts about our company:”

The remainder of the memo states some facts about Tokwiro Enterprises and the cheating scandals, most of which were released to the public in UltimateBet, Absolute Poker, or Kahnawake Gaming Commission press releases or statements.

The tone of the memo and words chosen by Leggett indicate that the 60 Minutes piece could portray online poker in a bad light. In fact, what Leggett fears is that Tokwiro and its online poker entities will look bad. Well, that is entirely possible because the way in which the scandals were handled was bad, and if that comes out in the reporting, who is really at fault, especially when the company in question refuses to go on camera with a statement and show otherwise? And in truth, what is said about AP, UB, and Tokwiro really doesn’t reflect on the entire online poker world, and there still remains some hope that the reporters for 60 Minutes and the Washington Post will make that clear distinction.


60 Minutes to Air AP/UB Story This Sunday

by , Nov 25, 2008 | 2:40 pm

The day that UB and AP finally merge to create the Cereus Poker Network, comes this from the 60 Minutes section of CBSnews.com:

THE CHEATERS – 60 MINUTES and The Washington Post reveal how online poker players suspecting cheating were forced to successfully ferret out the cheaters themselves. That’s because managers of the mostly-unregulated $18 billion Internet gambling industry failed to respond to their complaints. Steve Kroft and The Washington Post’s Gilbert Gaul report. Ira Rosen is the producer.

It’ll be the first story on this coming Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast, and should be available online by Monday morning.


Cereus Launches Today

by , | 6:23 am

Reminded via a Tiffany Michelle MySpace status update — “Excited about the Cereus launch this week!”:

The player pools, tables, tourneys, etc. from Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet magically merge today.

Trying to keep an open mind … because theoretically it is possible that the combination of two sites caught in the biggest cheating scandals in the nascent history of the online poker industry — having learned painful lessons firsthand — could become a paragon of integrity and security, a model for fully legal American online poker in the future.

But I just can’t help to think back to the Dallas underground … when a saturated market had rooms and games beginning to merge, two shady operators joining forces seldom led to anything good (save for some pretty juicy opening-weekend tourneys).

That’s my bias, I suppose … but with that in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of how one of these sites seemed rotten at the core (with the exception of Mark Seif, I’ve yet to hear any former employee say anything good about Absolute), and the other … well, sure, they’ve changed management and have plenty of good peeps working for them (Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Mean Gene, et al.) … but the top of the pyramid hasn’t really changed as far as we can tell. And with all due respect to those who are just trying to throw good poker times … the mysterious, closely-guarded nature of Tokwiro+Kahnawake+UB+Chief Joe operating on the protected lands of the Mohawk Nation (with offices in Costa Rica) … that’s the definition of shady! Sorry, it just is.

Still, with $22 million in refunds, the action’s gotta be good.


Street Report: UB Refunds Showing Up

by , Nov 14, 2008 | 1:17 pm

If there seems to be a little more action than usual on Ultimate Bet these days, it’s because a lot of players have been given new cash with the promise “this time we won’t cheat you out of it.” Donkey Bomber got a rebate of about $1,400 — see, Tom, the economy is already looking up, as you just got back what you lost to me on the presidential election — which showed up unexpectedly in his account along with an email with a bunch of legal documents attached. That’s small potatoes compared to the couple hundred-k that Josh Arieh supposedly got refunded.

(If you were someone who unknowingly lost money to the cheating, wouldn’t you love to study the replays of the hands where your action seemed to go bizarrely awry?)

Further reports say at least one of the above-mentioned refundees has been playing with it, and winning a lot. Considering that most new players on UB clearly haven’t done some basic searching on the internet, it’s plausible that the games here are particularly soft these days.

I really wanna believe what Annie Duke says about the fantastic security now in play at UB … and heck, beyond playing there, might Pokerati actually be able to make some affiliate bucks off any pimpage? For now, of course, all we’ve got to go on giving necessary reassurances is an AP/UB infomercial explaining it all that has since been taken down once people actually started to see it.


RE: Paul Leggett Speaks (At Length) about Tokwiro, AP, UB, Kahnawake, Joe Norton

by , Nov 13, 2008 | 8:13 am

Of particular interest to me in this series of Tokwiro-sponsored videos was Leggett’s confirmation that no one was or will be legally prosecuted in the Absolute Poker scandal.

When the perpetrator was discovered in the AP insider cheating scandal, he was given protection from prosecution in exchange for information about the crime. If he told Tokwiro exactly how he got the hole card information, his name would not be released to the public and no legal action would be pursued. Leggett said that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission still reserves the right to prosecute if they so choose, but Tokwiro will not.

Leggett noted that the $800K that was stolen during the crime was still in the cheater’s online account and thus confiscated by Tokwiro to repay customers. However, Tokwiro had to pay an additional $800K out-of-pocket in interest to those customers. I guess the perpetrator’s inside info was worth nearly a million bucks…

Also interesting was the specific mention of Scott Tom in order to clear his name. Leggett said that he was only implicated because his IP address was used by the cheater. Really? So, does this make AJ Green a.k.a. AJ Grimard the one and only perpetrator, as no effort was made to clear him? And I suppose the lessons learned in the AP scandal better prepared Tokwiro to identify the problems in the UB scandal, not needing any information from Russ Hamilton and allowing prosecution in that case.

This is discussed in the video below (Part 2, Section 2) and starts at the beginning:


Paul Legget Speaks (at Length) about Tokwiro, AP, UB, Kahnawake, Joe Norton

And Annie Duke Says: “I don’t think there’s anywhere safer to play.”

by , | 6:49 am

It’s not quite 60 Minutes … in fact, it’s closer to 73 minutes. Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet honcho Paul Leggett speaks with the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcast Company) Susan Reisler for an extremely detailed and stoic Q&A. I can tell you I’m very suspicious. This looks like an infomercial to me. (The apparent title of the show is simply “Poker” — I wasn’t aware of that investigative journalism news program.) Though she gets into all the controversial issues — and even the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake — there’s no follow-up to anything that might sound peculiar (like the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake) … she just allows him to state the facts and timelines, as if he were giving a legal deposition under questioning from his own attorney.

CONFIRMED: This is indeed a production by Tokwiro Enterprises, aka AP/UB. Anyone wanna wager on how many attorneys were standing off-camera to keep all commentary in legal line?

Sorry if I sound cynical. Really, it’s an admirable effort from Paul Leggett, the guy Annie Duke stands so strongly behind. Via the mock news program format, he addresses just about any question any of us have had about the whole Black Sox of Poker sitch. Kudos to you, Mr. Leggett, seriously, and thanks for finally coming forward with so much candid info. Personally, I’m starting to see your point of view on all this … and there were only a few questions where your answers made me wonder why Ms. Reisler didn’t follow up with: “But don’t you think that sounds fucked up?”

Click here for the entire 9-part library
… bonus points if you can find the point where Leggett says “We were the victim here.”

Also check out the vid below, where Annie Duke speaks her mind on why she’s so loyal and has so much faith in AP/UB security … right down to algorithms and dealing with bots … and be sure to watch 4 minutes and 10 seconds in, where Reisler does her 60 Minutes style wrap-up: Everything is safe and secure, and Russell Hamilton is the Ultimate Bad Guy — he’s not part of Tokwiro and is in really big trouble if they can ever get their hands on him.

[Cue neoclassical new-age healing music.]

NOTE: KafkaCR? That’s the new YouTube video uploader’s name … OK, the CR is for Costa Rica … but Kafka? The Jewish-Bohemian novelist who, according to Wikipedia, wrote about “troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world”?

Oh, wait … I get it … Metamorphisis! Very clever project name, whether intentional or not.


Dallas Poker Underground Criminal Update

“Black James” wins more bracelets in the World Series of Prison

by , Oct 28, 2008 | 11:38 am

Those of us who may or may not have taken pleasure in throwing a killer-turned-colluder-turned-killer-again under the bus can breathe a slight sigh of relief, knowing there’s one less person out there who might want to do us harm, with his release from prison now looking virtually impossible.

James McDaniel (aka “Black James”) has had eight new charges pressed against him — including [accessory to the?] murder of Meaghan Bosch. If you recall, he was a suspect in the SMU coed/railbird-hottie’s gruesome death, but it was only parole violations that sent the underground poker room operator back to prison (for eight additional years on his ex-cop-killing sentence).

He goes to trial on the new charges in February.

I hate to mix poker talk with murder, but considering that Meaghan gave her life, I have no problem knowing I’ll never get a chance to get back the $300-$400 he stole from me at Choctaw. Ha ha! Fuck you, you Queens-cracking, colluding cheating bitch! Karma, dude.


No Online Poker, This Week on 60 Minutes

by , Oct 23, 2008 | 9:29 pm

CBS has posted their sked for this weekend — and while adjusting story line-ups is standard operating procedure for any real journalistic operation, that rumored Oct. 26 date isn’t so. What is on the agenda for this next Sunday [from CBSNews.com]:

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008
CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS – Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. L. Franklin Devine is the producer.

T. BOONE PICKENS – The oil and gas maven is on a mission to lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil. Charlie Rose reports. Michael Radutzky and Tanya Simon are the producers.

GORONGOSA – American Greg Carr is using his great wealth to try to help some of the poorest people in Africa by attracting more tourists to their neighborhood – the beautiful national park of Gorongosa in Mozambique. Scott Pelley reports. Rebecca Peterson and Henry Schuster are the producers.

And a few minutes with Andy Rooney …

My personal guess is that they will time it with the final table of the main event … either the weekend immediately before or immediately after.

UPDATE: More good info on what 60 Minutes has in store on the NWP Radio podcast (about 45 min in).


Sorel Mizzi (Temporarily) booted from PokerStars

by , Oct 22, 2008 | 2:03 pm

Another issue of multi-accounting — not in a collusive way, but simply having multiple accounts and/or letting someone else play on it … initial suspension was for 6 months … but Imper1um appealed to the PokerStars judiciary and got his sentence reduced to 3 months.


Phil Hellmuth Speaks (in 2004) on Online Cheating

by , Oct 17, 2008 | 10:04 am

I was shoring up on some fundamentals just last night, re-watching Phil Hellmuth’s Million Dollar Online Poker Secrets. This whole video series is pretty funny now, because it was recorded in 2004, in the early days of the poker boom (when online sites were making a whopping $100k a day!) … and you see a much younger PokerBrat not being too bratty to the folks who shelled out $25 or so for his winning wisdom.

Anyhow, it was really just background music here at Pokerati headquarters until I came across the chapter about “Online Cheating”. Though this vid was not a UB pimp-fest (Full Tilt had just started to pioneer the concept of logoing up the pros), it’s clear by references to his play at Ultimate Bet (in other chapters) that whatever relationship he has/had with the site was starting to take shape … which makes the comments below all the more funny/ironic:

“As far as the sites being crooked or not, no,” he says. “It just drives me crazy when I see a lot of people complaining about being cheated. I just shake my head and say, ‘I’d like to see their hand histories.'”

Be careful what you wish for, no?

Interestingly, his advice for if you do think you are being cheated … simply leave the table and go somewhere else. “Click out of that game and click into the one right next door.” Fair enough, which is why I hope he understands why some of us still have a hard time recommending the site he represents.

NOTE: I finished up $68 on PokerStars while watching this. Thanks, Phil!


Kahnawake Gaming Commission Releases Initial UB Findings

Russ Hamilton Named as Main Person Responsible

by , Sep 29, 2008 | 5:54 pm

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has released its initial findings in the UltimateBet scandal. There are some jaw-dropping facts in the statement, like the $6.1 million figure that the KGC states has been reimbursed to cheated UB players, which does not include more reimbursements that are to commence on November 3rd. And Russ Hamilton is officially named as the main person responsible for and said to have benefited from the UB scandal.

Interesting to note that the KGC chose to release this statement as the Aruba Poker Classic gets underway…

(Thanks to Kevin Mathers for the heads-up, and MajorWager.com for being the first website to have reprinted the statement in full.)

The entire statement is as follows:

Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission Imposes Sanctions on Ultimate Bet with Regard to Cheating Incidents

For immediate release

(MOHAWK TERRITORY OF KAHNAWAKE – September 29, 2008) Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission (“KGC”) Chairman Dean Montour today announced the initial findings of the audit conducted on licensee Ultimate Bet, as well as the sanctions to be imposed.

According to KGC Chairman Montour, the Commission has reviewed the information provided to it over the past months from Frank Catania of Catania Gaming Consultants of New Jersey; Gaming Associates, an Australian game testing company; and the permit holder. Chairman Montour said, “The Commissioners have made several findings of fact with regard to the cheating that occurred on the Ultimate Bet web site that included the identification of some of the individuals responsible for these incidents as well other significant violations of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations.”

The Commission found clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusion that between the approximate dates of May 2004 to January 2008, Russell Hamilton, an individual associated with Ultimate Bet’s affiliate program, was the main person responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents. Furthermore, the KGC is currently in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agencies and intends to fully cooperate in the prosecution of all individuals involved in the UB cheating incidents.

Mr. Catania states, “My intention is to provide further information as it is uncovered, although the information already submitted to the KGC relating to Ultimate Bet warrants the KGC taking the actions it has today. Any further evidence uncovered with regard to cheating, withholding or destroying records in our continuing investigation will be reported to the KGC and the proper agency for appropriate action.”

As a result of the KGC’s findings of fact, the Commission called a special meeting, at which time it was unanimously decided to impose the following sanctions against Ultimate Bet:

1. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it shall, under the close supervision of the KGC, its employees and agents, commence refunding all players accounts found to have been adversely affected by the cheating of individuals under the control and supervision of the licensee. It is estimated that Ultimate Bet has to date reimbursed $6.1 million USD to players’ accounts found to have been adversely impacted by the cheating activity

2. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it is to remove any and all persons deemed as “unsuitable” by the KGC from all involvement with the company, which shall include all levels of ownership, management and operation. Ultimate Bet during that time period until November 3, 2008 is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company. These shall include financial as well as daily gaming records to Frank Catania and or his assigns. It is anticipated that this action will provide full disclosure and prevent any further improprieties or wrongdoing from occurring while ensuring that the public is being offered fair and honest games and all player monies will be protected.

3. Ultimate Bet’s control system as defined in section 9 of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations has been modified to prevent any further incidents of cheating or related improprieties.

4. Ultimate Bet will not delete or modify any logs including but not limited to web logs and game logs as required by the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations and will continue to have those logs immediately available for inspection by the KGC or its agents.

5. Ultimate Bet shall immediately pay a fine of $1.5 Million USD to the KGC for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities.

6. Ultimate Bet’s failure to comply fully with these measures will result in the immediate revocation of its KGC gaming permit.


MSNBC reports on UB/AP scandals

by , Sep 18, 2008 | 8:41 am

For those that have forgotten, an article today on msnbc.com brings up the scandal yet again. Mike Brunker ties in a $80m (Canadian) claim against the former owner of UB –Excapsa Software Inc. of Toronto by Blast-Off Ltd. of Malta (the current UB owner).

It goes over the details of the two scandals, including mentions of NioNio, Russ Hamilton’s alleged involvement, 2+2 posters help in breaking the scandal, among other items, definitely worth reading.


RE: ShuffleTech (2)

by , Sep 7, 2008 | 7:10 am

ItsOverJonny wondered in comment below whether or not the new ShuffleTech noise machines auto-shufflers actually kept a count of the cards being riffled … I wasn’t sure (kinda assumed they did), so, because apparently this is what I like to do at 6:30 am on Saturday night/Sunday morn, I wrote to the folks at ShuffleTech (which happens to be based in the small village outside of Chicago where I was born) and they responded:

Dear Dan,

I’m happy to answer this or any other question, particularly for anybody from Shuffle Tech’s home town!

The ST-1000 does not count cards. Most of the machines that do in the casinos are also scanning the faces of each card, which enables those machines to not only count but also identify any missing card. You can understand how that could be abused in a private, unregulated environment: a clever programmer could reprogram the machine to identify the location of any particular card in a deck, and in the case of the casino machines (which function differently than Shuffle Tech) place certain cards in a certain position in the deck.

I hope this answer the question, and our reason for avoiding any mechanism or feature that could potentially be abused.

Best regards,
Rick Schultz


RE: Tokwiro COO Speaks on Security, Scandals, and Investigations

by , Aug 14, 2008 | 10:55 pm

As noted in the original post, I recently interviewed Tokwiro Enterprises Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett about a number of issues the recent UltimateBet and Absolute Poker scandals.

The interview transcript has been broken up into three parts and posted on PokerWorks. Part 1 focuses on Tokwiro’s purchase of AP and UB, and how any inkling of impropriety could be missed in the due diligence phase.

Part 2 delves deeper into the investigations – the internal UB one concluded by Tokwiro itself, the ongoing UB investigation by Gaming Associates, and the “surprise” assignment of Frank Catania to audit Tokwiro as a company. Leggett also discusses the reasons for the reimbursement process lag time, whether or not Russ Hamilton was involved in the cheating, and the roles of Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke in it all.

In Part 3 I gave Leggett a chance to discuss what has been done at UB to rectify the problem and improve security going forward, and why customers should have confidence in UB and AP.

I feel that Leggett was as forthcoming as he was allowed to be, considering the restrictions inherent in the pursuit of legal action. He helped dispel some myths and rumors, though his inability to discuss Hamilton’s alleged involvement or any evidence in the case keeps interested parties in limbo for awhile longer. However, he helped put somewhat of a timeline on information he hopes will be released to the public, and he provided some details about how Tokwiro has tried to overcome the scandals, close security gaps, and regain the trust of the poker public.


Tokwiro COO Speaks on Security, Scandals, and Investigations

Paul Leggett Answers Questions about UB, AP, and Russ Hamilton

by , Aug 12, 2008 | 10:52 pm

Some might say that I’ve been a raving lunatic somewhat vocal about my frustrations with the AP and UB scandals. This is true, and thus I attempted to contact UltimateBet once again in July for answers to some of my questions. To my surprise, I was contacted by the Vice President of PR at Tokwiro Enterprises, UB’s parent company, who said she would respond to my inquiries. After two weeks of no such thing, I was on the verge of writing another rant/post here sending a polite follow-up when I received an e-mail asking if I’d like to speak with the Chief Operating Officer of Tokwiro, Paul Leggett. Ummm, yes, please.

I conducted the interview on Friday, Aug. 8, via telephone, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at Mr. Leggett’s willingness to answer my questions as he was able and be as honest as the corporate attorneys would allow. He has been reaching out to other media outlets lately, having done guest appearances on 2+2 and Pocket 5 podcasts, and I was happy to finally have a door opened and someone coming out to answer questions.

The full interview has been submitted to PokerWorks in a three-part series due to the length of the transcribed interview. The first article is up now, and the others will be posted in subsequent days.

Highlights of the interview included dispelling myths and rumors, speaking of the utmost confidence that the perpetrator(s) will be caught and prosecuted, and giving details about new security procedures and systems to prevent future improprieties.

A few excerpts:

In response to a question about how two companies, AP and UB, could be purchased without any knowledge of cheating going on at the highest levels:

“There definitely was due diligence done at the time of purchase… but this is a very large platform that we purchased. Unfortunately, during this due diligence process, we simply did not discover the code that was put on there…”

More…