Haley's Poker Blog

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just Conjecturin’, Part 9: The 'Shut Up and Settle, Dammit' Scene

Thanks to the infighting and legal positioning connected to the sale of UltimateBet software owner Excapsa, and that firm's subsequent movement into what's now become a suspect liquidation status, observers are able to get a peek into some of the structure behind the now-infamous firm. More on that one soon; it's on the list. A few posts back I wrote about how the initial sale to Blast Off, an entity owned by Joe Norton's Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, was not popular with a minority of Excapsa shareholders, who believed -- and posted some of their anger on popular poker forums -- that they were being frozen out of the company.

When the time came for the firm's owners to settle up in the lawsuit brought by Tokwiro et. al. for damages connected to the insider cheating scandal, that was pretty much shoved down their throats as well. While one wave of cheating refunds had already been made at the time Blast Off (Tokwiro) filed against Excapsa, still more cheating accounts had been identified and millions more were needed immediately. The hounds were afoot and UB might have been in danger of folding at that moment, with Tokwiro then seeking an alternate method of recouping its losses from the earlier Excapsa owners. Neither side wanted to derail the gravy train, even a damaged one.

While the damages originally asked for by Tokwiro ($US $81 million) represented the majority of the note the firm still owed to Excapsa (somewhere around $110 million), the actual cheated amounts were, seemingly, somewhat less. The likeliest scenario has Blast Off computing the total of cheated monies cashed out through this second wave of identified accounts, then settling with Excapsa for the majority of that sum, which was $14.625 million, or as it's commonly referred to, $15 million.

Not all Excapsa owners were happy with the proposed settlement, particularly since it was shoved down their throats. The person(s) behind the blind trust named SC Fundamentals expressed a legal concern, according to one document, "that such irrevocable consents" (as needed to sign off on the settlement) "were obtained by misrepresentation or otherwise inadequate disclosure."

Eventually, perhaps through a bit of behind-the-scenes arm-twisting, the person(s) behind SC Fundamentals was or were persuaded to go along with the settlement, a Canada court hearing for which, in October 2008, had been scheduled in a rush-rush manner. But while this trust finally consented, it also left behind its laundry list of complaints about the way the settlement with Blast Off was shoved through. This letter, attached as exhibit A to a document called the "Unofficial Typewritten Version of Endorsement," dates from October 13, 2008 and is worth publishing in its entirety. Note that some of the matters contained herein now seem easy to explain, while others are still out there, hanging in the breeze:

(dated October 13, 2008)

SC Fundamental and its affiliates own approximately 7 million shares of 656059 Canada (the "Company"). We became aware only this afternoon of the possibility that a hearing will be held tomorrow, October 14, to approve a settlement of litigation (the "Settlement") with Blast Off Limited and its affiliate ("BO"). Evidently, the court would approve the settlement on the basis that 2/3rds of the Company's outstanding shares have given it their informed consent. We have concerns that either (i) that consent is not truly informed; or (ii) some or all of the consenting shareholders may have self-serving interests which are not shared by the balance to the Company's owners.

Our concerns can be divided into four separate categories:

1. Failure to disclose motivations and potential conflicts of interest. As is described in greater detail below, shareholders are being asked to approve a very substantial settlement of seemingly weak claims with virtually no relevant information on which to base their decision. It seems difficult to understand why they would do so unless they have some interest in the fortunes of BO. This impression is not lessened by the fact that certain shareholders are willing to forfeit their shares to facilitate the deal, and that others are willing to pledge theirs to guarantee BO's performance under its note to the Company. Who are these shareholders? What common interests do they have with BO? How can we reconcile their behavior with the assertion in the First Liquidator's Report that "there is no evidence of overlapping shareholdings between Excapsa and Blast Off"? Aren't shareholders entitled to a broader disclosure of any and all relationships between any proponent of the settlement including consenting shareholders, inspectors and the liquidator on one hand, and BO on the other?

2. Failure to analyze the legal merits of BO's position. The company proposes to pay almost $15 million in settlement of what are presumably very credible claims. Shareholders, however, are provided with virtually no analysis demonstrating that credibility, or even that the Company made a serious effort to evaluate BO's case. For instance, wouldn't the fact that the software be sold on an "as-is" basis, provide a very strong defense? Wouldn't the Court-ordered extinguishment of all pre-filing claims similarly forestall BO's demands? Documents provided to the Court and shareholders provide no analysis of these issues, or, for instance, of BO's assertion that the software "tool" which permitted cheating was known to, and not disclosed by, the Company. Indeed, the Liquidator's report provides no descripotion of any rigorous consideration of the relative merits of BO's case and the Company's defenses.

3. Failure to disclose BO's wherewithal. One purported benefit of the settlement is that it will induce BO to resume payments on its note to the Company. Even before discovery of the cheating scandal, however, BO had defaulted on the note. BO has asserted that it subsequently suffered tens of millions in unreimbursed losses, but nevertheless promises that, if the Company will only give it $15 million, this time it will really meet its obligations. Our skepticism about this is only heightened by BO's insistence that its financial statements not be made available to the Court or Company shareholders. It seems both incredible and alarming that Company shareholders should be asked to, in essence, lend more than $100 million to BO without being allowed to make an informed judgment about its ability to pay them back.

4. Other matters:

• According to the First Liquidator's Report, the original principal of the BO note was $125 million. It appears that approximately $13 million was paid between October of 2006 and the summer of 2007, during which time interest was accruing at 1% per month, or at a rate faster than the principal was being repaid. No payments have been made since the summer of 2007, during which time interest was presumably also accruing. According to the liquidator's report, the current principal of the note is less than $109 million. How can this be?

• The report says that the settlment will result in certain tax benefits for the Company. No further discussion of the magnitude of these benefits is provided, nor is explained how a company structured as a mutual fund with a view toward not paying taxes could even realize such benefits.

• There is no disclosure of who used the "tool" to cheat UltimateBet's customers, or what efforts have been made to recoup that person's ill-gotten gains. These questions would seem to have a bearing on both the merits of BO's case, and on the amount of damages it could claim from the Company.

• We're unclear (i) what the "declaration of shareholders" referred to in section 27.4 of the First Liquidator's report is, and (ii) why BO's owner would be unwillimg for the Company's shareholders to know its contents.

• We have been concerned about the prospect of a settlement with BO since we first became aware of the possibility. In this regard we attempted to initiate a dialogue with the company and its liquidator some number of weeks ago. Our attempt has not been an unqualified success. By way of example, Company inspector Melissa Gaddis refused to disclose the identity of the persons who solicited consents for the removal of the former liquidator (who was seen as impeding a settlement). In discussions with the current liquidator, we were assured that no settlement would be approved until at least 30 days after a detailed proxy settlement had been provided to shareholders. We were accordingly startled to discover that a hearing to approve the Settlement might be held as soon as tomorrow.

In closing, I should stress that we are not asserting bad faith on the part of any party to the proposed settlement. everyone may be acting in accordance with their duties and the best interests of Company shareholders. On the other hand, there are reasons to think that they may not be. At a minimum we lack the information to make a sensible judgment in this regard, and we respectfully request that no settlement be approved until that information is provided to the Court and all Company shareholders.

Peter Collery

SC Fundamental

. . . . .

Within a day Collery, the owner(s) he represented, and their law firm had been put back in line, and the settlement with Blast Off by Excapsa proceeded without further interruption. Nonetheless, the letter dropped in at least a handful of nuggets worth chewing on at a later date.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LOLStars

One of the benefits of my new part-time job is that it's poker-related, and I often have call to use my own e-mail account to assist in doing a slightly updated "sneaker net" version of shuffling various files around from one machine or user to another, meaning I can keep tap of my own e-mails as I work. Mid-Monday morning I received the offer from Stars regarding their latest upcoming online cornucopia, gave it a quick once-through read, and sent it back to the Stars marketing department along with a brief "to hell with this crap" note.

Look, I like Stars a whole bunch, but that offer was insulting not only to my intelligence, but to that of every member of the bloggosphere who might have half a clue on how the business works, including such topics as SEO and page rank and business presence. Jordan pretty much has it right in this post, though I haven't yet encountered other blog posts on the topic of which he writes. The kicker for me was that all participating bloggers have to sign on in advance without even knowing exactly what SEO demands Stars has yet to make, all in the form of what becomes content-oriented advertising, which remains a noxious bastardization of the line between editorial and advertising. All for a $22 ticket and a chance at a $109 ticket if one supplies a grand-enough virtual blowjob.

Others can make their own choices, but as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather turn on the tube and listen to clowns. (Cue Glenn Beck here.) Don't need it, don't want it.

Stars tends to make grand, sweeping gestures with their events, so I view this is a grand sweeping misfire toward the blogging world. I'm sure they'll get some folks onboard who have no sense of the value of their own creative efforts, but by and large, I'll just wish Stars all the best with the collection of content-free link farms and sub-sub-affiliate wannabes they'll acquire. I'm sure they'll get tens and tens of new eye impressions with the effort.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Conjecturin’, Part 8: Make That the 83% Solution

A piece at a time, the ownership package behind Excapsa (software-parent holding company for online poker/blackjack concern UltimateBet) continues to fall into place. While this is only a means to an end, as will be brought up in a later post, more and more of the Excapsa ownership picture circa 2007-08 begins to emerge, thanks to information gleaned from court documents connected to the ongoing Excapsa/6356095 Canada liquidation. Said liquidation has taken its own ironic turn in the last 18 months or so, which is yet another post topic on an ever-increasing list of topics to be explored in the months ahead.

A few months back, I cleaned up and re-published a list of known Excapsa ownership entities. All of these were obtained from signed proxies in favor of a switch of liquidators for Excapsa/6356095 Canada. Combining some of the smallest share blocs (less than 100,000 each) into a single clump produces this partial list:

Fred (J.) David -- 1,680,000
Daniel P. Cunningham and Melissa M. Cunningham - 2,085,872
Charles Schaupp (a/k/a Chuck Sharp) -- 3,843,504
Molly O'Hearn Living Trust -- 4,304,728
Jason Karl -- 255,984

Daniel Friedberg and Raywa Friedberg, (JT TEN) -- 331,069
Gerald Fujii -- 443,997
Melissa L. S. Gaddis -- 737,952
Uri Kozai -- 1,200,000
Daniel Friedberg -- 1,360,000

Chomvilai Hanchena -- 2,935,512
Roger K. Gaumnitz Family Partnership -- 3,074,800
The Jack McClelland and Elizabeth McClelland Trust -- 1,229,920
Duane J “Dewey” and Judith K. Weum, JT TEN -- 1,974,800
Fluffhead LLC (Annie Duke) - 2,975,839

Mansour Matloubi -- 3,846,256
Russell W. Hamilton, Jr. -- 4,304,720
Carolyn Heick -- 587,952
Daniel P. Cunningham, Dorothy B. Cunningham (joint tenants) – 130,740
Nicholas M. and Aimee K. Leonard, TEN COMM – 275,000

Omaha Beech Investments LLC (Ted Forrest) -- 4,000,000
The Desert Palm Irrevocable Trust (Ted Forrest) -- 4,304,730
The Clearwater Irrevocable Trust (Ted Forrest) -- 2,085,872
James P. Hendrie – 537,952
(Ida) Susan Albrecht – 922,480
John G. Lowe – 2,774,800
… 20 smaller share blocs of less than 100,000 shares each – 390,049


At least another dozen blind trusts exist as well, designed to shield the identity of the owner(s) of those shares. Eleven of those voted in favor of a corporate motion to replace Excapsa’s original liquidator, with the names and shares as follows.

RBC Trustees (CI) Ltd. (trustee of The Westwood Trust) -- 3,279,792
The Tip Top Irrevocable Trust -- 9,385,822
The Rising Son Irrevocable Trust -- 13,220,816
Manchurian Living Trust -- 1,574,800
The Mountain Ridge Irrevocable Trust – 410,792
The KMJ BelleFountain – 2,128,000
The Tranquility Irrevocable Trust (Close Trustees Cayman Limited TR) – 3,279,784
The Rough Diamond Irrevocable Trust (South Dakota Trust Company, LLC) – 3,384,800
MS Irrevocable Trust – 4,804,720
The Vision Irrevocable Trust – 7,489,323
The Grandview Irrevocable Trust (trustee, Meridian Trust Company Ltd.) – 13,220,816

(total of these 11 blind trusts) – 62,179,345

Among the several individuals who may be among the owners of some of these trusts are original Iovation honchos Greg Pierson and Jon Karl, longtime UB spokesman Phil Hellmuth, and perhaps even one-time Excapsa CEO Jim Ryan, who is now with PartyGaming. Doubtless two or three other notables have yet to be connected publicly as part of UltimateBet’s ownership.

All told, these blocs added up to 113,969,851 shares, or about 56.4% of the total of 201,804,155 shares of Excapsa stock known to exist in late 2006. However, forfeiture actions connected to the UB online cheating scandal resulted in the cancellation of 6,923,272 shares. 4,304,720 match exactly to the known Russ Hamilton bloc in the above list, with an additional 2,618,552 not matching exactly, and being a composite of known blocs or, just as likely, a share amount coming from the remaining 43.6% of the company.

It was frustrating to have names (even blind-trust ones) for only a little more than half of the company. However, continuing court proceedings have exposed more of the ownership bloc to public view. First and foremost is the giant bloc now controlled by Joe Norton’s Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, which bought into the company under the name Blast Off LTD in the frantic days following the late 2006 passage of the UIGEA. In the complex arrangement, which is referenced in a 2008 letter to shareholders, “approximately 49,300,000 shares of Excapsa were pledged as security for the Blast Off indebtedness.”

There were three possible explanations for the way in which Blast Off’s purchase into or of Excapsa was accomplished, roughly described as follows:

a) Blast Off purchased a separate holding company, obtaining complete control of Excapsa in the process;
b) Blast Off purchased Excapsa itself in its entirety;
c) Blast Off purchased a share of Excapsa.

The truth seems to be somewhere between (b) and (c). If I’m reading the court documents correctly (yes, another future post), Blast Off acquired a bit less than one-fourth of the company in late 2006, (49,300,000 of 201,804,155, or 24.4%, which climbed over 25% when those nearly 7,000,000 million shares connected to UB cheater/owners were annulled). However, Blast Off was to acquire the entire company over time, with monthly payments extending over several years from UB’s ongoing operations. Contingent upon making all scheduled payments, Blast Off would then acquire all shares in Excapsa, or rather 6356095 Canada, its current name.

However, these shares were likely separate from the multitude of owner entities listed above, meaning that they represent another bloc of shares. True, Blast Off may own some or all of the 62.18 million shares in those various blind trusts, but it seems more than likely that somebody or several somebodies cashed out of Excapsa back in late ’06. 62,179,345 minus “approximately 49,300,000” would leave approximately 12,900,000, which doesn’t necessarily fit those blind trusts. One could construct a package approximating all those trusts but three, leaving out The Vision Irrevocable Trust (7,489,323), The KMJ BelleFountain (2,128,000), and one of three from RBC Trustees (CI) Ltd. (trustee of The Westwood Trust), The Tranquility Irrevocable Trust (Close Trustees Cayman Limited TR) and The Rough Diamond Irrevocable Trust (South Dakota Trust Company, LLC). I doubt it's that last one, in any event. Still, it’s just as likely that Norton’s group was either opposed to switch in liquidators or was blocked from voting on the motion for legal/technical reasons. Maybe someday we’ll find out. Assuming it was separate from the known 56.4%, this increases known possible ownership in Excapsa/ 6356095 Canada to a ceiling of about 81.0%.

But wait, there’s both less… and more. When Blast Off payments to other Excapsa owners were suspended and renegotiated in late 2007 and 2008, one of the contingencies of the new deal was that in exchange for reduced payments, half of Blast Off’s original bloc of approximately 49,300,000 was annulled. It was not returned to the original owner(s), who may have gotten out when the getting out was good and perhaps had little desire to reenter the picture. Since Blast Off (Tokwiro) would be paying less to acquire the firm, they should also get less of the company’s year-to-year operating profits. Blast Off therefore agreed to annul half of its own 49,300,000-share acquisition as part of a deal to keep the company moving forward.

Excapsa’s overall share count has dropped by about 15%, from its pre-scandal high of 201,804,155. The adjustments go like this:

Starting point, pre-scandal: 201,804,155

-- (minus scandal-associated forfeiture: 6,923,272)

Post-scandal total: 194,880,833

-- (minus secondary Blast Off acquisition adjustment: approx. 24,656,000)

New total: 170,224,000

The 113,969,851 shares of Excapsa stock originally exposed via published proxies were reduced by either 4.3 or 6.9 million, depending on the origination of the 2.6 million shares not connected directly to Russ Hamilton. This was explored in a previous post, but the answer remains shrouded. Let’s knock off the 4.3 million for sure, and add back in the other 24,656,000 which Blast Off still retains. More math:

Known original: 113,969,851
- (minus Hamilton amt.: 4,304,720)

Known, post-scandal: 109,665,131

+ (adjusted Blast Off shares: 24,656,000)

Known 6356095 Canada (Excapsa) stock: 134,321,131

That’s something on the order of 78.9% (134,321,131 of 170,224,000) which can possibly be accounted for, and yet we can add in still more. One other blind trust and its share amount can now be added in, due to its detailed mention in other liquidation documentations. Among those I mentioned as also being connected to ownership but without a fixed amount was a group named “Fundamentals”, with the names Peter Collery and Peter Case being tied to it. By all appearances this bloc’s owner was vehemently against the change in liquidators, and filed a motion to try to have change stopped to no avail. Nonetheless, another of the Excapsa/6356095 Canada liquidation documents notes the trust’s proper name as being “SC Fundamentals”, and notes it controls approximately 7,000,000 shares.

So…:

Known 6356095 Canada (Excapsa) stock: 134,321,131

+ (SC Fundamentals shares: approx. 7,000,000)

Revised known 6356095 Canada (Excapsa) stock: 141,321,131

This represents as much as 83% (141,321,131 of 170,224,000 shares) that can now be tied to various entities. It sounds impressive, but the exact ownership of as much as half of the original blind trusts remains hidden. Peeling this onion is an ongoing process for sure.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just Conjecturin', Part...7?? (Help Me, KevMath, Help Me)

One of the questions regarding the transfer of UB operations from Excapsa to Blast-Off around the end of 2006 is, how clean have the new management's hands been in dealing with the online cheating scandal, which began to crack open in 2007. I was willing to grant them that status barring indicators to the contrary, and there is no doubt that UB is a much safer place to play today, all things considered. (Disclaimer: I haven't played there since 2007, and won't return; however, I wasn't cheated.)

Comparing the purchase and scandal timelines shows something unusual, which can be shown by merging the two:

October, 2006: Blast-Off Ltd. buys into and takes control of the UB operation in a corporate transaction made under duress of the UIGEA. An upfront fee of $5 million and monthly payments are the deal, and yes, I'll get back to this tres soon.

September, 2007 or October, 2007 [conflicting court-document dates exist]: Blast-Off Ltd. suspends payments to the old Excapsa ownership bloc. And I mean to Excapsa specifically, not connected to the other stuff going on at AP. The AP scandal went public at about the same time, but the two firms originally had separate ownership and separate software, as everyone knows. Ask yourself this: Why were the Excapsa payments stopped?

December, 2007: The last of the cheating at UB occurred in this month, according to the final KGC report.

January, 2008: The date when the KGC claims it began investigating reports of inside cheating at UB. The KGC report pointedly never addresses whether an internal investigation at UB preceded this date, though UB claimed an initial notification of January 12, 2008 in its March, 2008 interim statement.

February, 2008: UB first acknowledges the insider cheating scandal, and via KGC later states that the software holes were finally plugged as of 02/02/08.

August, 2008: Blast-Off, Tokwiro and others file US$81.4 million lawsuit against Excapsa. Not the $75 million as reported back then by MSNBC.

November, 2008: Blast-Off et. al. wins $14.625 million judgment (settlement) against Excapsa. The final KGC report (September, 2009) omits mention that the majority of the $22 million refunded to players was in fact obtained via this settlement. The payment was, in all essence, regurgitated as the second wave of payments made to cheated players. The almost $15 million represents a reasonably rough equivalence of the percentage of Excapsa stock held by its 2006-era owners, when held against the $22 million refunded to players.

During this period, the new UB also announced that it recalculated the formula under which refunds were distributed. Because of the obvious timing and amount connections, there is a strong chance that the recalculation was based in large part on the amount of the settlement Excapsa forked over, which was then likely converted into straight-line percentage payments against all known cheated hands. (And this is another part of why I want to get some of those hand histories from players who received refunds, meaning not Barry. I think it's possible to reverse-engineer the process and calculate the percentage awarded.)

. . .

Therefore, it seems to me that anyone who was cheated from September 2007 through the end of that year, and perhaps for a brief period before that, has a possible beef against the new management/ownership. The new UB chose to remain open and running continuously despite obvious indicators that a problem was present and ongoing, and I couldn't state this before because the timing problem wasn't in the documents available at the time. It's now fair to say that the new UB placed the maintenance of their revenue stream higher than the safety of their customers as they determined to stay operational, so no, they don't get the free pass they'd like. Blast-Off could likely have gotten its purchase back in its entirety in court had it just shut UB down, which must have been one of the options in play.

One small defense that UB does have is that they did not have options to port their customer base and balances over to another network, because most of those networks shut off access to the US in late '06 or early '07. They might have been able to do something like purchase the old Mansion Poker platform, lock, stock and barrel, but they chose not to do that.

The nature of the settlement between Excapsa and Blast-Off bears further examination as well, as does the smaller court case that dragged a lot of the stuff public, the one formally known as Ryan v. Excapsa. the liquidation process for Excapsa. It wasn't Ryan against Excapsa, as I may have previously mistyped elsewhere; that was just its title for legal filing needs. However, there is an open question regarding Ryan's departure from Excapsa in 2007, which we'll get back to at a later date.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Earthquake? In Illinois?

I know, ho-hum to you left coasters, but we don't get 'em here except for this morning.

I was sleeping on the couch, and a very loud boom woke me up. I sat up, and everything shook back and forth for about ten seconds, maybe three times per second, picking back up once before dying out. I was aligned roughly in the direction of the quake as I sat up, so it was to-and-fro shaking as I felt it, not side to side.

U.S. Geological Survey site put the epicenter about nine miles WSW of me, at a very shallow depth of 3.5 miles.

By the way, when the shaking stopped I rolled over and went back to sleep, thinking, "I'll have to remember to check if that was an earthquake," but distant relatives called me bright and early to check on it. Oh, ya, I said.

No aftershocks, as for now.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Inside Barry's Hand Histories, Part 3

Back again with a bit more on the Barry/Mimi hand histories, which have become the topic of some conversation. When last I posted, I’d become aware that Seebs had mentioned my blog and ongoing research in his blog, pertaining to the runs of missing hands prevalent in the hand histories (HH’s) sent out to affected players in the wake of the online cheating scandal at UltimateBet, now renamed UB.com.

I posted some of the choppy card histories on 2+2 and here, and they were noticed, as I figured they would. According to Joe, he got in touch with his security contact at UB, who explained that the script… well… here’s what Joe wrote:

"Transactions that have no monitory value or financial impact on the hand have not been considered. Transactions types like sitting at a table or balance that have no wagering implications on the hand have been excluded. All other transactions types have been considered."

So what the balls does that mean? It basically means that that the script that is used to retrieve the hands from the database only considers hands where the suspect contributes to the pot, [but] hands where the suspect is sitting at the table but is sitting out or folds preflop are not retrieved. This applies to all hand histories that have been sent out. The data guy has mentioned that this is because the script to retrieve hands pulls hands where the suspect contributes to the pot and not hands where the suspect is simply dealt cards.
-- from Joe's blog

I inserted the [but] because otherwise it doesn’t make sense. Anyhow, let’s see if this claim holds up. Here is one of the later sessions where Barry/Mimi’s “crazyplayer” account is supposed to have played against one of the cheating accounts, in this case the account “ticketless”. Also, note that this is the first time I’ve walked through one of these sessions with this goal specifically in mind, so you and I are going to learn all this stuff together.

First, the session was split over nine (9) files, which I reassembled from the mess that was originally sent to Bear (Barry Greenstein, Joe’s stepdad). When I resorted it, it appears that the nine segments span a total of 75 hands that occurred on Table Fortenza on November 26, 2005, but only 55 of the hands are in these files. An additional 20 hands were not included, for reasons that none of us – even me, as I write this – have yet determined. Here’s the initial sorted roster of HH segments:

Nov. 26, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: Ticketless
68720,638132_9173956_66782_66785.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here, and that one is where crazyplayer sits in and posts BB
68720,638132_9173956_66787_66788.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66791_66795.txt [5]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66799_66804.txt [6]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66807_66815.txt [9]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66819_66819.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66821_66824.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66826_66826.txt [1]
-- 7 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66834_66856.txt [23]
(notable table at the end, with Ozzy 87, durrrr and Mahatma also among those present)
Hands present this cluster: 55/75

One at a time, shall we?

Segment 1:
68720,638132_9173956_66782_66785.txt [4]

The [4] means that this segment contains four contiguous hands, numbered 66782 through 66785. The starting lineup:

- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $15716. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $7450. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $18112.50. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $13033. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $9850. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9794. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM
- The button is moved to seat 7. 11/26/05 07:23:03 PM

In this hand (#66782), Ticketless (our cheater) opens for $350 from under the gun with the lovely Kc-8c, though each and every of these accounts can be noted for their radically loose opening play. It’s part of how they operated; it’s not unusual. In this hand, though, after two calls, ggducky makes it $2400 to go and everyone folds, including the cheating account, ticketless. We can’t know if the cheating account was actually cheating here, since both explanations (seeing hole cards / not seeing hole cards) could fit; ggducky’s bet is for a quarter of his stack and the cheating account would have had no way to know how it was going to play out around the table. [By the way, think of Seat 0 as Seat 10; I think it’s just rendered that way to save computer memory.]

Anyhow, during the hand, another player joins in:

- mierbi has joined the table at seat 1. 11/26/05 07:23:23 PM
- mierbi brings $10000 to the table. 11/26/05 07:23:23 PM

But just as the last player folds and the pot is awarded, crazyplayer joins in:

- crazyplayer has joined the table at seat 3. 11/26/05 07:23:48 PM
- crazyplayer brings $5000 to the table.

One second later the hand officially ends and the next begins:

- Hand 9173956-66782 ends. 11/26/05 07:23:49 PM
- Hand 9173956-66783 begins. 11/26/05 07:23:50 PM

On to hand 66783, which the HH includes, even though crazyplayer is sitting out, waiting for the BB. That’s contrary to the explanation given to Joe, which should have precluded this hand from appearing. However, one other player did sit in during the hand, filling the table:

- Gamble4You has joined the table at seat 4. 11/26/05 07:23:58 PM
- Gamble4You brings $10000 to the table. 11/26/05 07:23:58 PM

Hand 66783 was boring anyway. QuickSand17 made it $450 to go from middle position and everyone folded, even Ticketless, who had posted the $100 big blind but held only 9s-4h.

In hand 66784, crazyplayer is still sitting out, waiting for the big blind, but we still get to see the hand’s action. Ticketless posts $50 from the SB and gets a ho-hum Js-4d, but folds it, despite the only pre-flop action being a limp-call from QuickSand17 in seat UTG+2. mierbi checks his option, the flop comes Qc-10s-4h, mierbi checks, QuickSand17 bets $250 and mierbi folds. Totally ho-hum, if we ignore the possibility that Ticketless might have been cheating here, saw that QuickSand17 was slowplaying a monster, and decided not to complete from the SB. There’s just not enough evidence to say, one way or the other, though that’s not the point of this exercise, either.

Hand 66785, the last of the four, starts this way:

- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $15216. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- mierbi is at seat 1 with $9900. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $7000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- crazyplayer is at seat 3 with $5000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Gamble4You is at seat 4 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $17762.50. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $13427. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $11050. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9644.

Ticketless is now the button, mierbi the SB and maxypasy the BB. crazyplayer continues to sit out until the following hand. In this hand, it’s folded around to the Ticketless on the button who makes it $350 behind Qc-10c. Both blinds, mierbi and maxpaxy, call, and it’s three to a flop of 9s-7c-6d. Here’s some fun action for y’all to ponder:

mierbi checks
maxypaxy checks
Ticketless bets $1050
mierbi raises to $2200
maxypaxy folds
Ticketless goes all-in for $14866
mierbi folds

Mind you, that’s a stone-cold bluff reminiscent of the type we saw in the famed “potripper” sequence. One can’t help but wonder if mierbi had A-K or A-Q or A-8 and tried to steal it, and was snapped off by a cheating account that could see his bluff or semibluff in progress. But without the hole-card info, we can’t really say.

Besides, it’s not the point of this exercise. ;-)

Hand #66786 arrives! Our hero, crazyplayer, posts the big blind of $100 and joins the fun! Except the hand’s not here for us to see, being omitted from the HH’s supplied. I think that runs contrary to the assertion Joe received from the UB security guy, but that only makes it four hands out of five so far that we could say that about. I’m getting frustrated already. I’m a firm believer in Hanlon’s Razor, which states: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. But dammit, UB, you can only take stupidity so far before it ceases being a viable explanation. Maybe you really did only hire one Craigslist intern to process these things and then give him Japanese Hirobo toy assembly instructions as his sole guidance. But this is awful.

One thing we can do, which has some value, is to compute the closing stack amounts at the end of hand 66785, and see how they compare to the starting stacks for hand 66787, which is part of the next HH snippet provided. Hand 66785 started with these stacks:

- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $15216. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- mierbi is at seat 1 with $9900. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $7000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- crazyplayer is at seat 3 with $5000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Gamble4You is at seat 4 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $17762.50. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $13427. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $11050. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9644.

In that hand, Ticketless picked up $350 from maxypaxy and $2,550 from mierbi, which means that the stacks at 66785’s conclusion (less that $3 rake!) should be these:

- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $18113. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- mierbi is at seat 1 with $7350. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $6650. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- crazyplayer is at seat 3 with $5000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Gamble4You is at seat 4 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $17762.50. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $13427. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $11050. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:25:08 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9644.

The next HH provided includes two hands, 66787 and 66788. At the start of 66787 these stack amounts were reported:

- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $18113. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- mierbi is at seat 1 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $6600. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- crazyplayer is at seat 3 with $4900. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- Gamble4You is at seat 4 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $17762.50. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $13427. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $11200. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:27:22 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9644.

ggducky won hand 66786 with a preflop raise that no one called. Meanwhile, mierbi topped off his stack, restoring it to what was likely his original $10,000 buy-in.

Here’s how hand 66787 went. It’s another hand that is open to multiple interpretations, depending on whether you believe that Ticketless was actively cheating at this moment in time. We do know that Ticketless received 6s-6d in the hijack, and crazyplayer (Barry/Mimi) had Ks-5c in the SB. Preflop action:

Two folds to ggducky, who limps in. Two more folds to Ticketless, who makes it $450 with his pocket sixes. Everyone else (including crazyplayer) folds back to ggducky, who calls the extra $350.

Flop: 7c-8c-5s, and Ticketless has an underpair and an open-ender. The betting action goes:

ggducky bets $350
Ticketless raises to $700
ggducky calls

Turn: Jc

Chances are that the Jc was a really ugly card for Ticketless, and indeed the action continues like this:

ggducky bets $1,800
Ticketless folds, $1,800 returned to ggducky
ggducky wins pot of $2,447

Ticketless’s min-raise on the flop bet might be curious, because one could argue a flat-call or a bigger raise would both be better options. Without seeing ggducky’s holdings, however, it’s just conjecture, and I’d conjecture Ticketless knew ggducky had the flush draw and tried to squeeze some more money into the pot while leaving room to bail if the club came off, which is what happened.

On to hand 66788. In this hand, crazyplayer is on the button and receives the powerful 5s-2s, which is dutifully dumped in turn after other pre-flop action occurs. So according to what the UB guy told Joe, why are we seeing it here? Ticketless gets the just-as-powerful 3h-2h and limps in with it after QuickSand17 limps UTG. Gamble4You folds what must have been crap in the SB and BB FantaSizo checks his option, so three players see this flop:

8s-9h-2d

Ticketless has flopped bottom pair (deuces, no less), has no conceivable draws other than the runner-runner heart flush, but he still calls QuickSand17’s $350 post-flop bet, with FantaSizo having checked but still in the hand. (Yes, Barry, I know I’m a solid-style player, but this is out there even for LAG types.) FantaSizo folds out of the hand, and after the Qh turn, giving Ticketless a draw to a flush, the action goes like this:

QuickSand17 checks
Ticketless bets $1,200
Quicksand folds

It looks like a classic float-‘n’-steal, but in the context of all these supposed better-than-average players and a session where Ticketless does this stuff time and again, it just doesn’t smell right. And by the way, C-bets absolutely suck at a table where another player can see your cards.

Hands 66789 and 66790 were omitted from the HH sequences sent to Barry, so the run picks up again with a five-hand sequence beginning with hand 66791. Now, here’s where UB’s dumbness gets insulting. We know that at the end of hand 66788, crazyplayer (Barry/Mimi) had a stack of $4,850, the $5,000 initial buy-in minus the $150 for the first small and big blinds.

Yet, as the HH’s resume in hand 66791, we find crazyplayer sitting in mid-late position (Seat 3), with $6,197. Ticketless is down a few hundred, too, but not to crazyplayer, as later inspection determined:

- Hand 9173956-66791 begins. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Hand #9173956-66791 at Fortenza (No Limit Hold'em) 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Started at 26/Nov/05 19:30:53 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Ticketless is at seat 0 with $17560. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- maxypaxy is at seat 2 with $10597. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- crazyplayer is at seat 3 with $6197. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Gamble4You is at seat 4 with $9400. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- FantaSizo is at seat 5 with $17612.50. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- QuickSand17 is at seat 6 with $12977 (sitting out). 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- ggducky is at seat 7 with $12347. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Ozzy 87 is at seat 8 with $10000. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Fisher n Sons is at seat 9 with $9644. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- The button is moved to seat 7. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- The button is at seat 7. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Ozzy 87 posts the small blind of $50. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM
- Fisher n Sons posts the big blind of $100. 11/26/05 07:30:53 PM

Let’s see… I’m eight hands into the first sample I’ve selected at random from among the groups showing gaps in the HH sequences, and already the assertion by the UB security guy as stated to Joe can be proven to be a pile of worthless shit. Are you really –that- incompetent, UB?

I’ll continue on with this, I guess, but it continues to just depress me. It’s all so hilariously awful, after all.

- - - - - -

Ok, I reread Joe's post and noticed something, and another poster PM'd me at the same time, and I've done some quick checking, which leads to this: The statement by the UB security might be true some of the time, but not all.

If you go back to the lists of hand sequences I posted, some of them are choppy and some of them aren't. The ones that are all chopped up may only include hands where the cheating account(s) gave action, voluntarily or not, meaning SB and BB hands are automatically included. Hands where the cheating account folds pre-flop were excised.

However, that only accounts for about half of the sequences. Others like these listed below include longer, contiguous runs of hands, where one can find many examples where the cheating account(s) did fold preflop:

May 27, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: NCWolfpac
68720,147524_1612888_17406_17480.txt [75 hands in file]

June 6, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: Starbucs
68720,40018_1747573_6712_6748.txt [37]

Mar. 25, 2005 Table: Oolong Cheating Account Present: 2yung2fast
68720,147524_5026496_3190_3190.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,147524_5026496_3193_3230.txt [38]

May 27, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: Starbucs
68720,40018_1612888_17144_17180.txt [37]

Oct. 19, 2005 Table: Blundeston Cheating Account Present: Skipmyloo
68720,40018_8513464_43158_43260.txt [103]

Oct. 20, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Skipmyloo
68720,40018_9100457_387_476.txt [90]

So at least two different extraction methods were used, and I think we could have guessed that, but now we may know why.

I'd guess that the more-chopped-up files were the later ones to be extracted, after the overall scope of the cheating became clear and greater containment methods were called for.

It causes this problem: One of the most blatant ways that people recognized the cheating in the famed AP example was in those rare hands where another player held an AA or KK monster and the cheater wanted no part of it. With the sequences chopped up in this way, there's no way to determine exactly which player might have had the monster, unless each and every player at the table got together and compared their own notes and hole-card holdings. That is unlikely to happen for several reasons.

Even then, this is the sort of cheating-by-withholding-fair-action that's not included in the bottom lime of the scandal, which was instead most likely calculated by summing the net cashouts through the known cheating accounts. UB's made it clear that they're not going there, and I guess now I realize that these chopped-up histories fit that game plan.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Choppy UB Hand Histories, Part Whatever (Maybe Barry's Histories, Part 2?)

Got an e-mail from KevMath a few minutes ago, along with two that purported to be from Joe Sebok but were instead just porn and/or pharm spam. (I've got Joe's contact stuff anyhow, so that's just sorta funny.) As to why....

In Joe's latest blog, he mentioned how I had posted how choppy the hands were that Barry Greenstein put up on PokerRoad. I examined and resorted some of those hands, and I stated on 2+2, where I posted it, that a lot of hands were missing and promised to paint a clearer picture. I also examined some of the odd outlier HH's and found that they extended the dates a bit, mostly in '04 and '05, though most of the files here remain clustered around Turkey Day '05. Since I hadn't posted them here quite yet, though I was going to, I figured I'd run 'em in quick to stop any mysteries from getting steam. The resorted histories come next, along with a few thoughts at the bottom.

This also shows how multiple cheating accounts were rotated through the tables over time.

The latter part of the code for each file (taken from first entry):
1612888 - table identifier
17144 - start hand
17180 - end hand
[xx] - my count of how many hands were in that HH

HH Sequences:

May 27, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: Starbucs
68720,40018_1612888_17144_17180.txt [37]
-- crazyplayer leaves table and returns six hands later
68720,40018_1612888_17187_17189.txt [3]

... hours later...

May 27, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: NCWolfpac
68720,147524_1612888_17406_17480.txt [75]

June 6, 2004 Table: Flushing Cheating Account Present: Starbucs
68720,40018_1747573_6712_6748.txt [37]

Mar. 25, 2005 Table: Oolong Cheating Account Present: 2yung2fast
68720,147524_5026496_3190_3190.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,147524_5026496_3193_3230.txt [38]


May 3, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: CravinAA
68720,966687_5415005_1552_1553.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,966687_5415005_1555_1555.txt [1]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,966687_5415005_1559_1561.txt [3]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,966687_5415005_1564_1565.txt [2]
Hands present this cluster: 8/14


Oct. 7, 2005 Table: Tampa Bay Cheating Account Present: Omyfuknhead
68720,638132_8513886_4502_4502.txt [1]
(doesn’t sit in for this hand, but does in either hand 4503 or 4504)
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_8513886_4505_4509.txt [5]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_8513886_4511_4511.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_8513886_4513_4515.txt [3]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_8513886_4518_4518.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_8513886_4521_4522.txt [2]
Hands present this cluster: 13/23


Oct. 19, 2005 Table: Blundeston Cheating Account Present: Skipmyloo
68720,40018_8513464_43158_43260.txt [103]

Oct. 20, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Skipmyloo
68720,40018_9100457_387_476.txt [90]


Nov. 11, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Omyfuknhead
68720,638132_9173942_24373_24374.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24376_24378.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24380_24381.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24383_24383.txt [1]
Hands present this cluster: 8/11

… same table, some time later

Nov. 11, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Omyfuknhead
68720,638132_9173942_24529_24533.txt [5] (crazyplayer waits at start for the BB)
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24536_24539.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24541_24542.txt [2]
-- 1 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173942_24544_24547.txt [4]
Hands present this cluster: 17/21


Nov. 14, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: Omyfuknhead
68720,638132_9173956_44930_44931.txt [2]
-- 1 hand not present but irrelevant; crazyplayer posts BB in #44933
68720,638132_9173956_44933_44940.txt [8]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_44943_44943.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_44946_44956.txt [11]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_44958_44963.txt [6]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_44966_44970.txt [5]
-- 4 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_44975_44978.txt [4]
-- crazyplayer sits out for a while, on the BB for 44979
x 68720,638132_9173956_44981_44982.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
x 68720,638132_9173956_44984_44989.txt [6]
-- 4 hands missing here; crazyplayer sits back in somewhere in these 4 hands
68720,638132_9173956_44994_44994.txt [1]
-- 10 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45005_45005.txt [1]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45009_45011.txt [3]
-- 5 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45017_45017.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45020_45021.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45024_45026.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_45028_45029.txt [2]
Hands present this cluster: 58/100


Nov. 17, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: Skipmyloo
(no action against cheating account here)
68720,40018_9173956_51543_51543.txt [1]


Nov. 22, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Crackcorn55
68720,966687_9173942_38994_38996.txt [3]
-- 4 hands missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39001_39003.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39005_39008.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39010_39013.txt [3]
-- 4 hands missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39018_39019.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39021_39021.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,966687_9173942_39024_39025.txt [2]
Hands present this cluster: 18/31

Nov. 26, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: snowball
68720,147524_9173956_67065_67202.txt [138]

... later that day...

Nov. 26, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: Ticketless
68720,638132_9173956_66782_66785.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here, and that one is where crazyplayer sits in and posts BB
68720,638132_9173956_66787_66788.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66791_66795.txt [5]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66799_66804.txt [6]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66807_66815.txt [9]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66819_66819.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66821_66824.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66826_66826.txt [1]
-- 7 hands missing here
68720,638132_9173956_66834_66856.txt [23]
(notable table at the end, with Ozzy 87, durrrr and Mahatma also among those present)
Hands present this cluster: 55/75



Nov. 27, 2005 Table: Bhipak Cheating Account Present: Beeeemer
68720,40018_9173942_43575_43597.txt [23]

Dec. 6, 2005 Table: Fortenza Cheating Account Present: 63vette
68720,445519_9973341_3657_3661.txt [5]
(crazyplayer sits out for a hand here)
68720,445519_9973341_3663_3666.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3668_3668.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3670_3671.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3674_3675.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3678_3679.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3681_3682.txt [2]
-- 5 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3688_3689.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3691_3691.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3693_3696.txt [4]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3698_3699.txt [2]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3701_3706.txt [6]
-- 13 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3719_3721.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3723_3723.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3725_3728.txt [4]
-- 3 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3732_3732.txt [1]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3735_3736.txt [2]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3739_3740.txt [2]
-- 4 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3745_3748.txt [4]
-- 4 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3753_3760.txt [8]
-- 2 hands missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3763_3766.txt [3]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3768_3768.txt [1]
-- 1 hand missing here
68720,445519_9973341_3770_3772.txt [3]
-- s/b more hands present / both players still active at table
Hands present this cluster: 69/115


Dec. 30, 2005 Table: Owen Sound Cheating Account Present: Beeeemer
68720,40018_10339613_28578_28620.txt [43]

Jan. 1, 2006 Table: Owen Sound Cheating Account Present: snowball
68720,147524_10339613_31834_31868.txt [43]

Jan. 3, 2006 Table: Owen Sound Cheating Account Present: Beeeemer
(sits in as crazyplayer leaves, no action between accounts)
68720,40018_10339613_37627_37627.txt [1]

Jan. 4, 2006 Table: Waterbury Cheating Account Present: snowball
68720,147524_10341187_9585_9656.txt [72]

Now, a few things to note. Joe says he contacted UB to check on these gaps, which are clearly evident, and their responses was: "Transactions that have no monitory value or financial impact on the hand have not been considered. Transactions types like sitting at a table or balance that have no wagering implications on the hand have been excluded. All other transactions types have been considered."

Well, that's wrong. Call this "just for quibbles," but I can show plenty of cases in the interrupted hand sequences where things such as just "sitting at the table" or "having no wagering implications" have occurred and have been reported. (Properly, I might add.) Now, while my true belief is that UB hired three Craigslist interns to work on these hand histories and then gave each a single, contradictory set of oral instructions for processing them, it points to something else.

I like Joe. I like Barry, too. But I'm sick of seeing Joe run like a puppydog to UB management and watching him spew out whatever they tell him, and we're supposed to take it all like the tablets Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai. Once Joe signed on to take UB's bucks, he does not and will not ever have that cachet.

There is plenty of information still to be had from Barry's hand histories, even if some of it is information by omission. By the way, these might be Mimi Tran's histories, as he's now publicly allowed in that lengthy 2+2 thread that he opened the "crazyplayer" account for Mimi back in '03 or '04. That stuff was legit back then and I have no problem with it, nor does it affect what I'm working on, other then it deflates my theory that Barry in specifically might have been getting a break from the cheater(s), who might have recognized his account.

Contrary to what one poster in that thread conjectured, I don't try to discard facts that don't fit my theories, so in this case it makes it more likely that this "crazyplayer" account was a fortunate victim, to coin an opportune phrase. See, I noticed something in the hands played by the cheater in the single longest session among Barry/Mimi's histories, a run of over 100 hands. Early on, the cheating accounting felted itself for a very short stack (about $2,500 each time) after playing hands in a bizarre way.

By bizarre I meant that the hands made no sense, collectively, if viewed under the assumption that the cheater could not see the hole cards of its opponents. But it was bizarre times two: The same hands also made no sense if one assumed that the cheating account could see the opponents' hole cards, either.

I tried to explain on 2+2 that it looked like this was an example of what I called "Better Cheating 202," where the account was playing horribly and quite illogically, very uberfishy in nature, but doing so only early on in the session. Meanwhile, of course, the overall stack sizes were growing. After posting three of these hands in that thread and enduring the expected "this hand means nothing" comments, I gave it up. I didn't feel like wasting more of my time on the 30% of the readers who knew where I was going with it by wading through the 70% of 2+2 readers who think that "tl;dr" is not only witty, but deep.

But here's what happened, later in this session. The cheating account got mixed up in one of those all-chips-must-go-in hands against Barry/Mimi's account, and doubled up to around $5,000 for the first time. From that point forward, the account pulled off several of those impossible bluffs we saw in the infamous "potripper" series as animated by PokerXFactor, where one could watch the hands as a series and realize that obvious cheating was occurring.

Here, the cheating was seemingly done by building a fishy cover, striking quick for a couple or three quick bluffs, then existing the table with $32,000 or so, a neat hour's profit despite the $10,000 or $12,500 in short-stack buy-ins. Do this tens of thousands of times over several years, rotating in dozens of different accounts, and you have a much higher level of organized cheating. But I haven't bothered to post the rest of those histories on 2+2, because it's just a handful of hands -- and a small handful of hands can fit a theory, but IT PROVES NOTHING.

Still, I'm pretty sure that's how they got away with it for so long.

Now, back to that jigsaw puzzle of hand histories. Joe wants to believe that all hands were excluded that were irrelevant to the action, because UB says so. Maybe that's true, too, but I can sure look at the dropoff and resumption points, check the seats and dollar amounts, and see if that's true. I've been planning to do that for several weeks now and haven't gotten around to it, since doing things like trying to find a steady job have taken greater preference.

Still, if Joe's right, I'll confirm it one of these weeks, and if Joe's wrong, I'll put up the correct information. But one thing I will never do is accept at face value supposed revelatory statements issued through UB's handpicked spokesman. UB has lied too much to give them a free pass in such matters.

Barry's right in not wanting Joe to be taking so much irrelevant heat, and there are tons of people slagging Joe for no good reason at all. However, Joe put himself in that spot, for his own reasons. UB can never be fully redeemed until the full story of the scandal is revealed, and it's not sufficient for it to be leaked in bits and pieces through the chosen one. UB, however, has known no other way than to try to manipulate in the shadows; they just don't understand that $22 million -- not counting the rumored amounts stolen from (and ingeniously laundered) from high-stakes live-game pros -- is just too much money. When you're talking $25 million, someone has to burn... and eventually, someone always does. Pressure seeks its own release.

The shame of it all is that the KGC had its chance to step into the spotlight here, and they blew it. They've complained that they have not been taken seriously by other regulatory bodies, and yet when they could have seized the moment, they simply could not man up and do it. More's the pity.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Big Brother is Sending Cheap Mailers

A friend of mine showed me this mailing he received from his bank last week. Meh: