Sunday May 12,2013 : ULTIMATE BET BAD PENNY TURNS UP AGAIN
 
You can't keep a good scandal down….
 
The multi-million dollar Ultimatebet hole card cheating scandal which ten years ago started creating reams of bad industry press, surfaced again over the weekend with the publication of a tape purporting to record a discussion on the cheating software between lawyers and Ultimatebet executives including the now notorious Russ Hamilton .
 
The tapes, which were allegedly released onto the internet by former Hamilton associate Travis Makar, are said to date from 2008, and a summary has been put up on Youtube here:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XrnmyWu1vS0
 
On the tape, Hamilton admits in a meeting he is alleged to have secretly recorded that he manipulated the online poker software for advantage.
 
The Youtube clip is a distillation of what was apparently a three hour discussion, and in it are admissions of taking money from players, along with assertions that there was no intention to compensate them.
 
Additional and fuller copies of the discussion have also appeared here:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SULnRvNQ0eQ and here:
 
https://soundcloud.com/professionalpoker-com/ub-recording-2
 
The disclosures triggered intense discussion on the twplustwo poker forum, where one player presented a series of cliff notes as follows:
 
2:55–Russ Hamilton: "Annie Duke regularly used [God-mode software] on a 15 minute delay"
 
5:07–Russ Hamilton: "I did take this money & I'm not trying to make it right … so let's get that out of the way"
 
6:30–Russ Hamilton claims he spread his ill-gotten gains to high stakes players: "Freddy Deeb got the most cash."
 
8:20–Russ Hamilton justifies his fraud by claiming he used it to pump up UB: "I spent a lot of this money on [UB promotions]."
 
8:30 to end : UB exec suggests some of Russ Hamilton's cheating was "sanctioned" by management to help UB survive a financially difficult period.
 
9:00 to end: UB exec suggest shifting blame/liability for fraud to software developer Excapsa
 
Significant amounts of money – up to $16 million – are detailed in the tapes, which allegedly feature Ultimate Bet attorneys Sanford Millar and Daniel Friedburg, along with one of the UB founders, Greg Pierson, in an exchange of opinions on how to handle the consequences of the discovery of the cheating, which was principally exposed thanks to solid detective work by experienced players.
 
Media-attention grabbing celebrity names like Ben Affleck are also mentioned – he was one of the losers to Hamilton.
 
The tapes come at a bad time for former Cereus COO Paul Leggett, whose name also crops up. He has recently been appointed to head online gaming activities for the Amaya Gaming group, an announcement that has triggered some caustic comments in the player community, and could have ramifications for Amaya's ambitions to enter the legalised US poker market through its Ongame Poker Network subsidiary, which has been inking deals with possible American partners.
 
In what may or may not be a consequence of the publication of the tapes, the Nevada-licensed Ultimate Poker online poker company, which launched last week as the first US-legal internet poker enterprise  announced over the weekend that it had discontinued the use of the online fraud prevention company Iovation, explaining:
 
"We understand that there were concerns among some of our customers, we hope this makes our players feel more comfortable.”
 
The concern over Iovation is apparently the news that it was founded post-Ultimatebet by Greg Pierson. The company also serves CAMS, a subsidiary of online risk management group Verifi which provides ID verification and geolocation facilities to Ultimate Poker.
 
Beyond these contractual associations, Ultimate Poker has no links with the former Ultimatebet.
 
The Nevada-licensed company is a subsidiary of Ultimate Gaming, which is in the Ultimate Fight Club – Fertitta Interactive – Station Casinos group of mainly land gambling interests.
 
Ultimate Poker execs have also stressed that Iovation was a contracted entity with no access to its software
 
Whether these new disclosures will attract the attention of the Nevada regulators who have approved Verifi-CAMS is at present open to conjecture.