Posts Tagged ‘Russ Hamilton’

KGC Issues Final UB Scandal Report

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

by , Sep 11, 2009 | 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.

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

“Mine is a really good one,” he says.

Online Poker Film by Rounders Writers, Starring Leo DiCaprio

by , Jun 16, 2009 | 1:45 am

The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting from Hollywood that Leonardo DiCaprio is pegged to star in a film about online casinos based in Costa Rica. Not only does the star currently aligned with the film give us hope that it won’t be another Deal, but the writers – Brian Koppelman and David Levien – are the same ones who penned Rounders. And Paramount Pictures has picked up the script. (Note to self: Check in with former employer Paramount for possible consultant positions available. Cha-ching!)

Hmmm, Costa Rican-based online casinos…like UltimateBet and Absolute Poker? Scandals and cheaters and Russ Hamiltons, oh my.

Since the movie is yet untitled, let’s throw out a few gems for Paramount to consider:

Titanic (ooooh, sorry)
UB and Me
Rounders 2 (or Part Deux for my French friends)
What’s Eating Russ Hamilton?
Gangs of Costa Rica
The 11th Hand

Okay, I’m done. Anyone else?

Russ Hamilton to Represent Full Tilt at WSOP

by , Jun 2, 2009 | 8:40 pm

Talk about a shocker, I know … and even though all our contacts at Full Tilt are being completely mum on the issue, that’s the word from the press box. Have a look for yourself at the Russ Hamilton main event champion banner, which just so happens to be hanging right over media row where some people may or may not occasionally leave patches lying around:

Necessary(?) FYI: JK

Russ Hamilton Chris Ferguson among ?-marks for Binion Cup

by , May 18, 2009 | 5:13 pm

One of the first “big” WSOP events will be the special, invitational Champions tourney … a non-bracelet freeroll for all previous main event champions, which will be one of only four televised ESPN events. This made-for-TV No-Limit Hold’em brouhaha — where players are competing for a shiny trophy and a red Corvette — should give the old-dog pros a chance to remind the 21st century WSOP millionaires who’s really boss … and the Varkonyis and Golds and Yangs a chance to say, “Hey, I didn’t just get lucky, Doyle Biznatch!”

27 players are eligible … and almost all have pre-registered. Bobby Baldwin ’78 has RSVP’d in the negative. But there’s one interesting name on the list of non-confirmeds* — well actually there’re five, but one of these is not like the others … in fact, as a member of the WSOP PAC, he’s probably on Jeffrey Pollack’s speed dial:

Mansour Maltoubi ’90
Hamid Dastmalchi ’92
Russ Hamilton ’94
Noel Furlong ’99
Chris Ferguson ’00

None of these are holdouts, from what we’re hearing … just MIA. (Though we’re not so sure the WSOP is looking that hard for Russ, because they could always give his invitation to Layne Flack.)

Wicked Chops is on the hunt for them here.

Bad Champs?

by , May 11, 2009 | 1:02 pm

Pokerati loves voting … and arbitrary lists! To that extent, we took part in helping PokerListings choose the least-popular presidents WSOP main event champions of all time.

Joan, Melissa Rivers on Ellen Show

by , May 3, 2009 | 6:48 pm

Ooh, I almost forgot to post these clips … we know Joan Rivers is willing to do what it takes to make something look better than it really is, and perhaps in an attempt to unoffend poker players and recharge her fan base, she and her daughter appeared on Ellen. The show started with a poker skit:

OK, hmm, interesting. At least this tells all those YouTube commenters that Melissa wasn’t acting in the original outburst.

Here’s their appearance/interview with Ellen (love the Lady Gaga intro — woot!), where Joan doesn’t exactly rescind her disgust for all things poker, but she does downgrade and de-Semitize her Annie hatred by calling her not Hitler, but The Bernie Madoff of Poker. She apparently doesn’t realize that title is already taken by Russ Hamilton — or maybe she does! — but whatever:

Poker Pariahs

A who’s who of poker bad guys

by , Apr 6, 2009 | 5:40 pm

We try not to engage in too much schadenfreude here at Pokerati, but the last post about Amarillo Slim’s efforts to restore his stature in the poker world has me contriving a poll in my head about who are/were the most undesirable people in/from poker.

Current Poker Sith Lords
Russ Hamilton — guilty til proven innocent, and with good cause.
Ernie Scherer III — he’s still innocent til proven guilty, but considering that he faces the death penalty for killing his parents to pay off poker debts — and the last 10 Google searches found on his computer were “countries that don’t extradite to the U.S.“, I think we can rest assured that he will not become a Full Tilt pro anytime soon.

Dishonorable Mentions
James McDaniel — this Dallas poker room operator was convicted of killing an ex-cop, engaged in collusion in Oklahoma (my personal observation and unproven accusation), and is currently on trial for supplying drugs to one of his railbirds who ended up OD’d-dead in a portable toilet.

Reformed Reputations
Jamie Gold
Justin Bonomo
Dutch Boyd

Jury Still Out
David Sklansky — technically crime-free, but young aspiring female players are hardly flocking to his tutelage.
Amarillo Slim — he says he’s not guilty, and his family and a lie detector now apparently agree, even though his criminal record implies otherwise.
Layne Flack — everybody seems to like Layne, but unless he’s working undercover a la Poker Brasco, hanging with Russ Hamilton surely won’t help him get sponsored by Ultimate Bet.

So who else? Really, I’m not looking for a bunch of potentially libelous name-calling … but I am looking to create a list of once and future poker bad-guys, and maybe a rating system for criminals and outcasts and offenses that may or may not attract the attention of law enforcement, but still result in scorn and contempt from fellow poker players.

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.

I Am a VIP (with Money) at UltimateBet

by , Feb 26, 2009 | 2:55 pm

Generally found money is great money, right? I just got an email from UB telling me I have $219 in my VIP account. I haven’t played there since I went bust for all but $8 one day a couple years ago … took that $8 over to the blackjack table and turned it in to $1,000 in 20 minutes and got away with still $800 … then proceeded back to a couple 2/4 NL tables and lost it all in a couple hours.

Anyhow, a little curious to figure out where that money came from — I don’t remember playing Russ Hamilton, but ya never know — but will feel dirty installing the software on a new machine.

UPDATE: Installing UB for Mac apparently isn’t one-click easy. For now I’ll take it as a sign not to mingle with the site.

The National Bank of PokerStarzistan?

IRS says report your online bankroll as a foreign money account

by , Feb 24, 2009 | 8:33 am

With banking matters all over the place these days, the IRS reportedly investigating Russ Hamilton, and Barney Frank putting together a bill that would simply strike down the UIGEA as if it never happened, I gotta think, well … I really don’t know what to think. Though it seems major shifts are happening, global-economic finance is admittedly a little beyond my ken. But I’m trying to figure it out, and so far I’ve concluded that banks are clearly important, and anyone who handles the transfer of billions of imaginary dollars has major issues to attend to.

Brilliant, I know.

And actually, not even billions … just $10,000 or more. Apparently a new IRS rule has gone into effect that requires online poker players to treat their online accounts — PokerStars, Full Tilt, et al. — as offshore foreign bank accounts.

Yeow, that’s different. Sources who were winning players online tell me nothing more than a WG-2 was necessary before. Again, I’m not really sure what that means (or what enforcement mechanisms are in place) but do I know this change theoretically affects lots and lots of people and probably at least a few billion dollars. If I’m reading this tax expert right, basically, if all your money in all your accounts added up to $10,000 or more at any point in 2008, you have to file a special form (TD F 90-22.1, which goes to the Dept. of the Treasury, not the IRS) for these accounts, and the fine for not doing so is either $100,000 or half your bankroll, whichever is greater.

That sounds pretty tough. But maybe this is just what comes with the territory as G-men set up a framework for how these online piggy banks, er, poker sites have to work in the future? No word yet on whether or not you’ll ever be able to pay your taxes in PokerStars W$/T$ or Lindens.

The Poker Beat: Hour of Power

by , Feb 20, 2009 | 4:01 am

So we’re really kinda having some fun over at The Poker Beat. Turns out the shop a bunch of us media types talk amongst ourselves is kinda interesting to at least a few people … and dare I say even more captivating than an hour-long episode of ClubWPT? What’s really making the show work, I think, is that all of us panelists actually wanna listen to the segments we’re not on … it’s turning out to be a great way to find out reliable info about important stuff we may not cover closely, which all turns out to really be just a 57-minute set-up for Joe Stapleton jokes (which really are kinda funny).

On this week’s episode, BJ reports from the LAPC about field sizes and Scotty Nguyen’s repeat performance in the $10k HORSE Event; I chime in to discuss WPT Season 8 and try to fill BJ with job insecurity; Parvis and Gary Wise get all Durrr Challengy vs. Patrik Antonius; and podcast newbie Chops joins the fray to break down the Erick Lindgren vs. Dane Cook comedy feud and Mike Matusow’s fiddna to go ballistic on Russ Hamilton.

The Poker Beat
Huff, Nemeth, Michalski, Wise, Parvis, Chops, Stapleton


NOTE: The five guilty in South Carolina just got fines, not jail time.

Beating … Episode 3

by , Feb 12, 2009 | 12:53 pm

Just gettin’ ready to go “en studio” to record the next episode of The Poker Beat. This should be a good one … topics open for discussion between me, BJ, Gary, Stapleton, and Parvis (under the Scott Huff whip) will include:

— Russ Hamilton and Layne Flack on
— The Bluff Magazine Online Challenge (complete with breaking news about JJ Prodigy; oops, he did it again!)
— Steroids in poker?
— The poker event sponsorship biz
— Vanessa Rousso and Tiffany Michelle baring some but not all

Listen live here.

And feel free to call in and harass at 866.925.8255.

The Poker Beat Podcast
February 12, 2009


Joe Navarro analyzes the Russ Hamilton video

by , Feb 11, 2009 | 6:09 am

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