Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Inside the UB Hand Histories, Part 1

"Sent down for the expert again, and this time he struck a most dazzling idea--he fixed the thing so that opening the kitchen door would take off the alarm. It was a noble idea, and he charged accordingly. But you already foresee the result. I switched on the alarm every night at bed-time, no longer trusting on Thomas's frail memory; and as soon as the lights were out the burglars walked in at the kitchen door, thus taking the alarm off without waiting for the cook to do it in the morning. You see how aggravatingly we were situated. For months we couldn't have any company. Not a spare bed in the house; all occupied by burglars." -- Mark Twain, "The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm"

I'm not sure exactly why the above excerpt strikes me as insightful when regarding the UltimateBet (now renamed UB.com) online poker scandal, and yet it does. After all, one must find a way to laugh at some of this stuff, else go insane. I've been throwing out the occasional post on the topic here, and even dropped in with a handful of posts in a related thread on 2+2. As a rule I don't post much on 2+2, for a couple of reasons. First, 2+2 tends to degenerate to a pack mentality, and I prefer to think independently; second, I just don't plan on wasting the best of my thoughts in a way that could put money in Mason's and David's pockets. Be that as it may, there has been some good thought expressed over there, so I've been obliged to chip in a comment or two.

One of the things I mentioned but in passing over there was my belief that the UB hand histories -- as being sent out -- were likely incomplete, and were chopped up to pieces and made incomprehensible as a bit of further obfuscation by UB. To this end I'd like to cite the hand histories sent out to Barry Greenstein, who had limited play against the cheating accounts, and did not receive a refund. Barry's in perhaps the most difficult position of all non-UB folks regarding the scandal, in the wake of his stepson Joe Sebok accepting a largish endorsement contract to shill on behalf of UB's interests. Barry's one of the most prominent and outspoken of all well-known pros regarding the UB scandal, and indeed has stated publicly his own feelings against Joe signing the deal with UB. As I mentioned in a post last fall, Joe's deal effectively neutralized Barry and Joe's popular PokerRoad site as a place where meaningful debate on the topic could occur. That pooch has been screwed; the PokerRoad playing field, viewed from afar, is tilted and has piles of dog poo littering its blades of grass.

It's forced Barry into protesting his own innocence as well, though anyone who knows anything at all of Barry knows the man is one of the game's straightest shooters, and is unlikely to have been involved with the scandal in any culpable way. Barry also defended Russ Hamilton early on, though only on the basis of Barry having talked to Russ about it and getting the feeling that Russ was telling the truth. Barry's since recanted that defense of Russ in the face of increasing evidence.

Another thing that Barry did is to post the hand histories that UB sent him, upon request. I've buried the lede deep here, but with reason: if I start out with a pile of tables and numbers no one's going to read on. Barry did not receive a refund from UB, yet did receive a smallish number of hand histories, which he posted on PokerRoad here.

As you can see, it's a jumble, and the vast majority of these files are two- and three-hand snippets with everything rendered in a way that makes deciphering any hand's contents a test of patience and tenacity.

Yes, The Hands and Formats Can Be Deciphered

Still, there's information to be had. Here's how the files were posted by Barry's minions, which is likely to be the same way UB sent them out:

68720,147524_9173956_67065_67202.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66826_66826.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1559_1561.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3770_3772.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44933_44940.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3674_3675.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66821_66824.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45005_45005.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44930_44931.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39001_39003.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3768_3768.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39024_39025.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24376_24378.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3678_3679.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3725_3728.txt
68720,147524_5026496_3190_3190.txt
68720,147524_5026496_3193_3230.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24541_24542.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45024_45026.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66799_66804.txt
68720,40018_9173956_51543_51543.txt
68720,40018_1612888_17144_17180.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44943_44943.txt
68720,40018_1747573_6712_6748.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44981_44982.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1555_1555.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3681_3682.txt
68720,40018_9100457_387_476.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24383_24383.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4518_4518.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39005_39008.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24373_24374.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3701_3706.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66834_66856.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66791_66795.txt
68720,966687_9173942_38994_38996.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3657_3661.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44946_44956.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44994_44994.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39021_39021.txt
68720,147524_10339613_31834_31868.txt
68720,40018_10339613_28578_28620.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3732_3732.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24544_24547.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4521_4522.txt
68720,40018_9173942_43575_43597.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66782_66785.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45028_45029.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3763_3766.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24529_24533.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3719_3721.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39018_39019.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24380_24381.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3668_3668.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3698_3699.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3691_3691.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3693_3696.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44975_44978.txt
68720,147524_1612888_17406_17480.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3745_3748.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44958_44963.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4511_4511.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3670_3671.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3753_3760.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3735_3736.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4505_4509.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1564_1565.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66787_66788.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4502_4502.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45009_45011.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44966_44970.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3663_3666.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66807_66815.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45020_45021.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3739_3740.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24536_24539.txt
68720,40018_8513464_43158_43260.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4513_4515.txt
68720,147524_10341187_9585_9656.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66819_66819.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39010_39013.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3723_3723.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1552_1553.txt
68720,40018_1612888_17187_17189.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44984_44989.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45017_45017.txt
68720,40018_10339613_37627_37627.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3688_3689.txt

Looks like a true M&M's chocolate mess to me. But there are patterns afoot, within these 88 files. Let's take all these filenames, dump them into an Excel database, and sort them. The results show clear groupings:

(Group 1)
68720,147524_10339613_31834_31868.txt
68720,147524_10341187_9585_9656.txt
68720,147524_1612888_17406_17480.txt
68720,147524_5026496_3190_3190.txt
68720,147524_5026496_3193_3230.txt
68720,147524_9173956_67065_67202.txt

(Group 2)
68720,40018_10339613_28578_28620.txt
68720,40018_10339613_37627_37627.txt
68720,40018_1612888_17144_17180.txt
68720,40018_1612888_17187_17189.txt
68720,40018_1747573_6712_6748.txt
68720,40018_8513464_43158_43260.txt
68720,40018_9100457_387_476.txt
68720,40018_9173942_43575_43597.txt
68720,40018_9173956_51543_51543.txt

(Group 3)
68720,445519_9973341_3657_3661.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3663_3666.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3668_3668.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3670_3671.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3674_3675.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3678_3679.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3681_3682.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3688_3689.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3691_3691.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3693_3696.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3698_3699.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3701_3706.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3719_3721.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3723_3723.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3725_3728.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3732_3732.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3735_3736.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3739_3740.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3745_3748.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3753_3760.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3763_3766.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3768_3768.txt
68720,445519_9973341_3770_3772.txt

(Group 4a)
68720,638132_8513886_4502_4502.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4505_4509.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4511_4511.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4513_4515.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4518_4518.txt
68720,638132_8513886_4521_4522.txt

(Group 4b)
68720,638132_9173942_24373_24374.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24376_24378.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24380_24381.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24383_24383.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24529_24533.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24536_24539.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24541_24542.txt
68720,638132_9173942_24544_24547.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44930_44931.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44933_44940.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44943_44943.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44946_44956.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44958_44963.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44966_44970.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44975_44978.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44981_44982.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44984_44989.txt
68720,638132_9173956_44994_44994.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45005_45005.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45009_45011.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45017_45017.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45020_45021.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45024_45026.txt
68720,638132_9173956_45028_45029.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66782_66785.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66787_66788.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66791_66795.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66799_66804.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66807_66815.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66819_66819.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66821_66824.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66826_66826.txt
68720,638132_9173956_66834_66856.txt

(Group 5a)
68720,966687_5415005_1552_1553.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1555_1555.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1559_1561.txt
68720,966687_5415005_1564_1565.txt

(Group 5b)
68720,966687_9173942_38994_38996.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39001_39003.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39005_39008.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39010_39013.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39018_39019.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39021_39021.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39024_39025.txt

There's at least a partial decoding for these hands, too. "68720" is likely the numeric ID for Barry's UB account "crazyplayer". The last two numbers are clearly the starting and ending hand numbers for each text file, and by clicking the link above and examining any of the files, one can see that the hand numbers match up. Notice that this also gives us an exact count as to the number of hands each text file contains, ranging from one (in several instances) to 138 in txt file "68720,147524_9173956_67065_67202.txt", the very first file in the original list. I'll even note these counts as (1) and (138) and others when we add more information in a bit.

Left to be determined is the middle section, such as "966687_9173842", which I deem to be a cryptic combination of table number, game type, and some translated date/time stamp. Since the dates are also included in the files it doesn't matter much; we have the information we need anyway. The 4a/4b and 5a/5b groups share like data in the first half of that field, and we'll look at that in a bit. The latter portion, such as "9173956", is tied to the table, so a given hand at a given table is expressed as "9173956_67065" or similar.

Barry's Hands are Curious... To Be Continued

Let's start with Group 1. This session for Barry started on November 26, 2005, at about 10:24pm system time, when he took a seat at table 9173956 during Hand #67065. Barry, again playing as crazyplayer, didn't receive cards until the next hand, #67066. The cheating account in play against him here, according to the file, was "snowball". (according to the KGC report, "snowball" was one of 19 different screennames used by one of the most active cheating accounts, #147524.) "snowball" played continuously against Barry and other accounts through Hand #67176, sitting out at that time, a little over an hour later. Barry himself sat out at this table in Hands #67079 through #67092. Therefore, Barry payed against this cheating account for only 97 of the 138 hands in this file. At the time Barry ("crazyplayer") sat down, snowball had $2,521, but all those hands later, snowball departed with $34,071, a neat $31,500 profit. Barry sat down with $5,000, rebought once for another $2,500, and 111 hands later, was left with only $1,935.

Here's the drama bomb: Barry didn't lose any money to snowball, though snowball was clearly up big in this brief session, and can be assumed to have cheated the other accounts. Barry mixed it up in several hands against snowball and lost sizeable pots only twice. The first time snowball won a big pot after sucking out a river flush against the odds while getting the chips in way bad in percentage terms. In the second hand, Barry raised pre-flop with K-Q, snowball flat-called with 4-3, looking for more action, and none came. The flop came 6-4-3, Barry bluffed by betting $850, and snowball immediately flashed a warning signal by min-raising with bottom two pair, all while presumably knowing Barry had air. It's hard to imagine a circumstance where a cheater, if trying to cheat Barry, wouldn't just call Barry's flop bet and let Barry try another bluff on the turn.

In the other hands in this file, assuming snowball was cheating during this stretch and had access to opponents' hole cards (which the huge profit for snowball suggests), the cheating account put in money bad against Barry while either drawing completely dead or against irrecoverably long odds.

Now, think about this: The best way to make a cover of this nature look real is to lose occasionally, on purpose. And how better to do it than against one of the most respected, intelligent players in the poker community, one who cold be presumed to be more likely than most to smell a rat under his very nose? After all, one pays the most attention to the hands one is personally involved in, and a bit less in other hands where one has folded early.

In this session, Barry lost his money against other players, and was well up here against snowball. It looks to me as though snowball softplayed against or cover-dumped to Barry during this session, and in some of the other files I've examined, I've seen similar curiosities.

I'll post some of these hands in the future, but the specifics of such wonders can wait for another post or two, as this should be enough of a drama bomb for today.

Or is it? There's still another dangler to wrap up:

Why All the Missing Hands?

When reordered as I did so above, it's clear that a lot of hands are missing from whatever UB sent out to Barry. Let's look at Group 5b from above, though I could have selected most of the groups above for this point. Here 'tis:

(Group 5b)
68720,966687_9173942_38994_38996.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39001_39003.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39005_39008.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39010_39013.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39018_39019.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39021_39021.txt
68720,966687_9173942_39024_39025.txt

We know the last two sets of digits represent the range of hands at a given table that were played, by hand number. But why all the gaps? Look at it this way:

(Group 5b)
68720,966687_9173942_38994_38996.txt [3 hands]
-- missing hands, 9173942_38997_39001 [4 hands]
68720,966687_9173942_39001_39003.txt [3 hands]
-- missing hands, 9173842_39004 [1 hand]
68720,966687_9173942_39005_39008.txt [4 hands]
-- missing hands, 9173842_39009 [1 hand]
68720,966687_9173942_39010_39013.txt [4 hands]
-- missing hands, 9173842_39014_39017 [4 hands]
68720,966687_9173942_39018_39019.txt [2 hands]
-- missing hands, 9173842_39020 [1 hands]
68720,966687_9173942_39021_39021.txt [1 hand]
-- missing hands, 9173842_39022_39023 [4 hands]
68720,966687_9173942_39024_39025.txt [2 hands]

Overall, Group 5B runs across a stretch of 32 hands, #38994 through #39025. However, six different clusters of hands,representing 14 of the 32 hands (in italics above) are missing. These hands took place on November 22, 2005 and all the mini-groupings featured Barry (crazyplayer) and others against "Crackcorn55" (ID #966687), another of the cheating accounts. There is no explanation for the gaps in the hands provided, yet as one can clearly see, these gaps extend throughout virtually the entire collection of hand histories.

Could UB please explain this?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Work! Keep it up...

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting stuff. any chance joe is there to cover up barry's involvement?

6:24 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

That's ridiculous, in my estimation. Neither Joe nor Barry is a cheat, as far as I can tell. Joe's just been naive throughout all of this.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Oddqueens said...

I would seriously doubt involvement of Barry or Joe, JOe is doing waht anyone would do when a poker site throws a large chunk of change at them! He's taking the money. If he can help shed some light from the inside of the storm then great. Interesting points on the missing hand histories haley .. its a wonder there are gaps as it implicates Ultimate Bet even more.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Haley said...

Dear Oddqueens,

Thank you for stopping by, but please, I've never said Barry or Joe was involved. I know them both personally, Barry just a little bit and Joe somewhat better, but regardless, they are not the cheaters.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Rush Poker said...

Joe has just been blinded by money and his ego. I think in Joe's heart of hearts he really doesn't want to be a part of UB. I guess every one has a price $$$ :)

1:24 PM  
Blogger Oddqueens said...

Haley,
Sorry I didnt think my post implied Joe or Barry were involved in the cheating scandal. I was actually replying to the anonymous quote above yours. I apologise if thats how it came across, Barry is one of the straight shooters and a great poker ambassador.

With Joe I was just saying that his involvement with UB might be a good thing in that he might be able to shed light on the issue. There is no doubt they threw a huge chunk of money at him to get him on board though so as Rush poker said he may be blinded by the money.

Keep up the good work, really enjoed this post, got here through a roundabout way (Tao of poker to Hard Boiled Poker and seamus recommended your post :-))

Anyway apologies I didnt not mean to intimate that either Joe or Barry were involved.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Haley said...

No probs!

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THX for all of the effort that you have put into this. The truth needs to come out and it seems like you are its only hope right now. There are many of us out here that appreciate this and can't wait to read more, I assure you.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Kevin Mathers said...

Seebs latest blog has an explanation for the missing hands you mention:

http://www.pokerroad.com/blog/joe-sebok/posts/haley-s-blog-tattoos-skydiving-los-angeles-ca

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hayley, I agree with the anonymous post just above. This is very important to a lot of people and I am anxiously reading and awaiting all of your new posts on the subject.

Keep it up girl, you're doing great.

4:34 AM  

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