Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate bet scandal’

Feel the Shame

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

by , Oct 2, 2011 | 5:33 am

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…


WPT Free-money Site Running UB Cheating Software?

Looks like shenanigans or lackluster commitment to security, even if it's not

by , Jun 8, 2011 | 2:04 pm

Though I’m not expert enough to confirm or deny any validity, this video did give me pause. To the untrained eye, it sure does look like possible (if not certain) cheating software in play on ClubWPT, the World Poker Tour’s subscription-based non-gambling site — you know, the one Mike Sexton is heavily pimping on Poker After Dark (in commercial spots previously occupied by Full Tilt) as the safest American online poker alternative out there.

Interesting to see the code explained, visually, for a clearer understanding of how God-mode in the UB Scandal probably worked … then extra-curious to realize Jim Ryan, CEO of WPT-parent Party Gaming, was CEO of Excapsa Software, Ultimate Bet partner, during the heyday of cheating on their site.

And while some may think little of it, because hey, it’s just pretend money … we all know free-play online poker isn’t just about the joys of truly amateur poker … it’s about preparation for real-money online gambling. The WSOP is pushing their free Facebook-app game throughout the Amazon Room, after all, and Zynga takes a rake in their “cash games”. Do a Google search for “Zynga poker rigged” or “Facebook poker scam” … The screams of cheating and scandal are more outrageous than AP/UB/Cereus ever coulda had to cover up.

Whether the apparent security flaws at Club WPT are a matter of coincidence, ignorance, incompetence, or shenanigans, it does make you wonder who will be ready for American players when real-money online poker comes into play.


Winners, Losers, Coinflips: Feburary 1-28, 2011

Or: Distilling every Poker Story into Bullet Form

by , Feb 28, 2011 | 9:00 am

February is not a huge month for tournaments, but that doesn’t mean there was a shortage of news. In fact, a very large part of the news this month was of the drama bomb variety, which provides easy cannon fodder for people such as myself and helps greatly in determining who came out ahead and who fell far, far behind. Given the sheer volume of stuff that happened, I have been forced agreed to do two of these a month, one for the first half and one for the second. If you want a weekly version of this, well, there is always my podcast, Rabbit Hunt (it’s a shameless plug but it was my excuse for not doing this every week…for the moment anyway). But enough rambling, let’s get going:

Winners

  • Jared Huggins (1) and Pokerstars (1): Thanks for the bait-and-switch Pokerstars! We thought you were a mean, faceless corporation that turned down a homeless poker player just cause and then you say “just kidding!” and he ends up on the show anyway. Jared Huggins is a huge hit over on 2+2, and he is scheduled to appear in the Big Game in the near future. Here’s hoping he not only wins, but wins big. That NAPT Passport (or whatever it is they are going to offer this year) is gonna be huge.
  • Matt Savage (1): Another LAPC, another huge Savage-tournament success. Sure the LAPC numbers aren’t where they were yesterday but it’s still pretty good considering there were a number of poker players that essentially said they wouldn’t give the Commerce business until they changed their stance on i-gambling. Although…I’m sure an exception was made for a $10k WPT tournament.
  • Donkdown Radio (1): They won this month for getting someone whom we are 99.44% certain is Travis Makar. These guys definitely are at the forefront of the “UB Sucks” crowd, and so getting someone that could blow a new hole in the current UB leadership is bound to be the best thing to happen to the show since…well…the last time something happened that was bad for UB I suppose. Of course, swords like this can be double-edged…and I would have simultaneously made these guys losers of the month too. Their saving grace is that it’s too early to tell what is going on in Makar’s head, and we have gotten a few nuggets out of the deal so far, so we will see what develops in the coming weeks. Certainly a good get though.
  • @pkrgssp (1): It’s not too often that someone comes out of nowhere, has a simple mission of just reviewing other people’s work, and gets a ton of attention in a short span of time. His blog is 100% worth adding to your list of things to read in a given day, and he has received props from various folks within the industry, so I think I will add my props by making him one of the winners of the month. Did he actually win anything poker-wise? No, but it might be a twitter/blog that many people will follow in the future (and quite possibly could become the critic version of Kevmath).

Losers

  • Sorel Mizzi (-1): SHOCKING NEWS ALERT! Sorel has been accused of cheating, this time in a live poker setting, and not because he managed to copy himself, though I think he would have made headlines sooner if he did. No, he loses out this time for being accused of dealing from the bottom of the deck by John Racener (as relayed through Shaun Deeb onto 2+2) which set off a firestorm of angry posts in Sorel’s general direction. Still, it’s he-said…he-said, and who would you believe more, the man perma-banned recently unbanned from Full Tilt for cheating or the 3-time Florida DUI champion?
  • The Bellagio Robber (-1: Plus -1 for every year served in prison): You pull off an Oceans 11 style robbery, then completely screw up everything after that. Oh, and he’s the son of a judge. Oh, and he tried selling chips that the Bellagio had changed out months ago. Genius!
  • Joe Sebok/Paul Leggett/UB (-1): No matter what the motives are, however, UB is again in the crosshairs, and whenever that happens, Joe Sebok is forced to pick up his cross and defend the site…again. Seriously I hope they are paying him Phil Hellmuth-levels of money, because otherwise Joe has got to be wondering wtf he’s still doing there. As for Paul Leggett, one cannot say “I never offered a bribe” and then have a leaked email that says “I’m offering a bribe.” Yea…context is probably important, but it certain doesnt look good.
  • Mer “PeachyMer” Brit (-1) and Pokerstars (0): Speaking of 2+2 controversies, the sleuths over at 2+2 felt like Mer Brit’s Team Pokerstars Pro deal was a little too good to be true…and well it probably was. Even Pokerstars admits that there are occasions that her account was used when she was not in the one operating it, including one where she took 2nd in a WCOOP event. There are enough holes and inconsistencies to make most people wonder what vetting process Pokerstars seems to have. Because I personally think I need to get a pro to take over my account if that’s what it takes to get a deal signed these days.

Coinflips

  • Federated Sports + Gaming League (0): Until I see a list of players, I’m not willing to give this league the chance some may say it deserves. They’ve inked a deal with CBS and have a schedule out, but as of right now no one is invited to play and the pro-am idea, while great, is not likely designed to actually get amateurs into their big events (honestly, how many amateurs would/should take their temporary tour cards and drop $20k of their own money into a shark tank?)
  • Peter Eastgate’s Retirement (0): On the one hand, I’m not particularly surprised that a young poker player that “retired” from the game has come back. On the other, Peter seemed like one of those people that would have stuck through it.
  • Haseeb Qurashi/Ashton Griffin/70-mile runs (0): Personally, I hated the amount of coverage this story got…which is why I spent over 10 minutes out of a 45 minute podcast talking about it, because I’m a hypocrite. Still, I think that while we got a fairly uncensored and in-depth look at some of the insane prop-betting that goes on these days in the poker world, I can’t help but thing we simultaneously saw some darker elements that just gives some ammunition to those that would like to see talk of online poker go away, and quickly.
  • Travis Makar (0): Jury is still out on this guy…or at least my jury is. If he has the information he is claiming, this completely longer than necessary leaking of incriminating evidence just feels like a squeeze. Who is he squeezing? No idea, but really if I would in Travis’ shoes, and I was broke, accused of cheating people of millions, and knew of people that had up to this point gotta away with it, maybe I’d do this too. OK…maybe not, but there is something deeper here that we might, as the media, be overlooking for the sake of the initial “ZOMG UB SCANDAL 3.0!” story.

The “Eff You, Sir/Madam” Award


Obviously there were enough stories to go around this month, but there is one particular entity that wins special mention, even if, at the moment, we don’t have a confirmation of additional shenanigans:

  • UB (-3…because fortunately for them my rules allow for a maximum penalty of -3): I joined the poker media unofficially in early 2010, and have been forced to repeatedly cover the UB scandal in all its various forms, from minute amounts of new evidence to the prior scandal to the encryption  bullshit to Donkdown Radio’s repeated calls for the sites demolition to this. And honestly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of talking about UB in the present tense, and I’m sick of constantly having to listen to people preach that “THIS IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG! THE AVALANCHE IS COMING!” Personally, I hope they do find something huge, and that they find it fast. I hope they find that every non-poker pro employee of UB is guilty of being involved, and that they owe $100 million more to players, or whatever number it will take for the site to go under. Not third-tier site under, under-under. And it’s not even because of any personal hatred toward UB (though I have plenty of that), but because it’s because of their continued existence that we keep having to bring up a shining example of what’s wrong with the poker industry not as a historical lesson, but as a current issue. That said, if all this Makar stuff turns into smoke and mirrors, then UB will be able to continue it’s existence….at least until the next minor change in evidence brings all of this up again. (Writer Note: I’m just tired of covering this, so until UB folds or is found innocent, or whatever, I will likely continue to have this vitriol. If they do go under eventually though, maybe this can be called the “UB-Memorial Eff You, Sir/Madam” award.)

Entity of the Month

A bit short on players this month, so the trophy has been changed to the “Entity of the Month” trophy (you’ll note it looks the same). I’ve done a fair job of limiting myself with those in the winner’s box this month, but I think if you have to have a negative for the story you have to show the positive.

  • Donkdown Radio (3): Sorry, this is easily the potentially biggest story of the month at a time where poker pros didn’t even manage to grace the winner’s circle. It’s certainly a case of “right place, right time”, but this could change the face of a scandal that has up to this point just seen a couple people come up with vague suggestions about what “really” happened. If things happen in the exact why the folks at Donkdown hope to see happen, there could be some very hard choices for the pros that are sponsored by the beleaguered site. Not really the site itself…I can’t see them making any “hard” choices necessarily. Either way, you can bet that they will get to the bottom of…whatever bottom they will get to with this.

I know that I didn’t talk about Norm McDonald’s premiere episode of High Stakes Poker, but I feel like everyone needs to see more than one episode of a new host before passing judgment. Come March 15th though…I should definitely have something to say…if there is anything worth saying anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prep for another UB scandal related interview (no joke, unfortunately).


Merchdawg’s Weekly Podcast Roundup

Travis Makar/Ultimate Bet Scandal Updates

by , Feb 25, 2011 | 1:32 pm

Alright everyone, I usually give you all three podcast to listen to, but since one of the shows has a run time of four plus hours we will only be bringing you two shows. This week we are bringing you some of the newest information from the Ultimate Bet scandal.

Rabbit Hunt:

Our friends over at the Rabbit Hunt started off this weeks show with some news but the part we are all interested in starts at the 16:00 mark. The guys got mookman5, who is a wealth of information when it comes to the Ultimate Bet scandal, to come on the show and discuss the latest Travis Makar bomb that was dropped the week before. They discuss reasons why Makar would be coming out at this point and speculate on this lawsuit that he made mention to throughout the interview. Take a listen to the show on either the Cardrunners site or download it directly from iTunes to listen to this interview.

DonkDown Radio:

I usually do not repeat shows in back to back weeks, but these guys are at the center of the poker podcast world this week and have came back from last weeks bombshell of a show with a followup show that has a run time of over four hours. Do not be worried though, we will tell you where to skip ahead to so that you can save some time.

  • 22:30 – Bryan Micon starts to discuss his meeting with Travis Makar, where he discusses some of the documents that he saw during the meeting.
  • 45:10 – Brad Booth joins the show to discuss being cheated by the super-user accounts.
  • 1:20:00 – Micon starts to break down the Addressing a Few Rumors on the UB Blog.
  • 1:41:00 – Haley Hintze joins the show to discuss who may have actually made the payments to Zoltan “Brainwashdodo” Rozsa.
  • 2:35:35 – Travis Makar calls into the show to ask Booth some questions, the first of which is how does he know that Russ Hamilton actually cheated him.
  • 2:48:00 – Booth ask Makar what it is that he is truly looking for from bringing this information public.
  • 3:19:36 – Dustin Woolf joins the show to discuss how he was cheated.

You can listen to the show at the DonkDown site or subscribe and download it via iTunes.

Finally, keep an eye out for a new episode of The Micros tonight, as it was posted on their Facebook earlier today that a new episode should be up tonight at around 9PM PT or 12AM ET.


DonkDown Releases UB Scandal Email

More UB Scandal Dirt

by , Feb 23, 2011 | 4:19 pm

Yesterday we brought you the transcripts of the Travis Makar transcripts thanks to the guys over at DonkDown. In the short synopsis that we gave you we made mention that Bryan Micon had planned on meeting up with Makar to take a look at some of the documents he supposedly was in possession of.

Well that meeting happened yesterday and Micon was able to walk away with more than just some mental pictures of the documents. He actually got Makar to let him leave with one of the many emails that he made mention of during the interview. You can view that email and Micon’s thoughts of the meet-up over on the DonkDown Forums.

If you are still wanting some more information on the meeting then be sure to check out the DonkDown Radio show tonight at 10:30 PM ET where Micon will be giving more details and be answering questions throughout the show.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, UB COO Paul Leggett has posted his own response to the original Travis Makar interview here.


DonkDown Radio Transcript of Travis Makar Interview

New UB scandal dirt

by , Feb 22, 2011 | 3:14 pm

This past week in the Weekly Podcast Roundup we highlighted DonkDown Radio due to an interview they had with Travis Makar. For those of you that do not know who Makar is, head over to our Wicked Chops Poker and read Part II of the Ultimate Bet Super-User Cheating Scandal.

The guys were nice enough to publish a transcript from the interview that can either be found in their forums. Here are a few of the highlights from the transcripts:

  • Makar says he knows where the missing hand histories are.
  • According to Travis, Russ Hamilton is taking the fall for others.
  • Not all of the names used to cheat have been released.
  • Annie Duke borrowed money from Hamilton to buy a house but has never paid the money back.
  • Company people were accessing random high roller players accounts, playing on them, and transferring any winnings. If they lost they lost.
  • Travis is going to try and meet up with Micon to show him some of the documents.

We will keep our eye on this story and bring you all the new information as it becomes available.