Haley's Poker Blog

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just Conjecturin', Volume 12: The Absolute Scandal and the Day Occam Rolled Over in His Grave

One of the things that was amusing to me when I was recently forwarded information on the Absolute Poker online scandal was that attached to the account information for "PotRipper" was a screen grab, presumably done internally, of the IP address 200.122.181.104, which back in October of 2007 became vital as investigation into that infamous tourney continued. I've reformatted the table I've received just a hair here to make it fit better, though the data itself is as I received it, right down to the background colors:



(Larger version of image also available at http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/8643/coffbscott01.jpg)

I chuckled when I saw this, for not only did I know what it was, but I doubted that the sources I'd received the data from knew that I'd already seen the same thing, way back when the scandal was breaking. It made the information that I'd received that much more believable -- an unknown seal of authenticity, if you will. Matter of fact, I'd had that different version of the same information in my AP scandal archives ever since: It also appears, in different form, within Marco "CrazyMarco" Johnson's famous spreadsheet of the PotRipper affair.

I've recopied those lines from the original spreadsheet Johnson received into a separate spreadsheet page, which look like this (the extra fields are associated with the chip counts themselves during tourney play, and were "0" for all non-playing observers):



(Larger version of image also available at http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3558/coffbscottcrazymarco.jpg)

What both images show are the "observer" table log-ins for the famed "PotRipper" cheating tournament, for IP address 200.122.181.104, one of the same IP already tied to Scott Tom through other means. The PotRipper account itself played at Table 13 for almost the entire duration of the tourney history captured in that spreadsheet, and it was the "coffb@msn.com" account, whatever its name was, that by all indications was logged in from the same computer that had access to the "superuser" software. While I would normally redact an address such as that, its involvement in the PotRipper fraud was so seminal that it cannot be omitted from this story.

There were lots of people poring over that spreadsheet back in the last part of October, 2007 -- players, a couple of writers (including me), and other interested observers. It was obvious that the "coffb@msn.com" account was the key, for the bizarre, obviously-cheating play by PotRipper not only began the very hand after "coffb@msn.com" began to monitor the action, but this observing account never left Table 13 after that point. That in itself was highly unusual behavior, because the spreadsheet captured well over an hour of the entire tournament play, and nowhere else, to my recollection, did an observing account sweat any other table in this manner. It stood out in a big way.

Other investigators were looking into some of the other players, as was I, and I got the idea to search on that IP address: 200.122.181.104. That's when the single check-in/check-out of the same IP address popped up, but with a different e-mail address (scott@rivieraltd.com) and at a different table (Table 9). I was in chat that evening with other people searching into various things, and I typed something like "Hey, check out that scott@rivieraltd.com address and domain. It might lead to something."

It was my one small contribution to that investigation back then, though others did far more, and for all I know, someone else also might have been searching on that domain already. Still, if not for that brief, one-second click-in to check something at another table, perhaps even done by mistake when some tables were broken down into others, the scott@rivieraltd.com connection to all of this might never have emerged. At least that's how I remember it.

The chat came back to me all excited, and again, this is a re-creation based on my memory, as I'm not even sure which chat system we were using though I think it was MSN Messenger back then. It went something like, "That's it! That domain points to another company with Absolute Poker! How did you know?"

And I responded that I didn't know, it was just that the domain part seemed odd to me. It smelled bad, seeming to be out of place in an exceptionally corporate way in a sea of so many yahoo.com and msn.com and similar log-ons as used by most Internet players. I'd had experience with holding companies, and this address just seemed wrong. I'd scratched at that itch.

Within minutes the information had found its way into the investigatory threads then going on at 2+2 and PocketFives, but it was only a short time later -- perhaps an hour -- that I received another chat. It went something like, "They've just changed the domain info! They're covering it up!"

And indeed, to this day I believe that's what happened; the cheater(s) was or were in panic mode and when they saw the "rivieraltd.com" name mentioned on the forums, they immediately went into their domain registration access and changed the entry. It was either that, or they had changed it hours or days before and it had not just propagated yet, which would have made our find extremely timely and lucky. A simple search on that domain info today provides nothing of value; one would have to purchase the historical domain records to access the changes that have occurred, though that's hardly a prohibitive expense.

In any event, it was still just a bit later that very same evening that I received yet another chat message, which was something like: "We had a way to check that IP address, and it goes right to Scott Tom's house!"

What??? Well.

To say I was flabbergasted at that news was an understatement. I fully expected at that point that the domain would trace to Canada or Costa Rica, perhaps even to a corporate block of addresses connected to AP, but to have it be reported back to me as a Costa Rican residential IP just floored me. It made no sense. If someone was doing it to set up another person -- in other words, to frame Scott Tom -- then they had to be both brilliant enough to plant some random phone-company or ISP dude to tell us the IP address traced to Scott Tom's house, while at the same time being stupid enough to cheat in the ridiculous manner demonstrated in the PotRipper tourney.

Occam, as you surely know, refers to Occam's Razor, that idiom that states that the simplest explanation for a series of events is also the most likely. The contrapositive to the idiom (the other true statement that can be derived, if one believes ol' Occam) is that as an explanation becomes exceedingly complex, it also becomes exceedingly unlikely. Expecting someone to have framed Scott Tom in the way the evidence rolled out would have required planting evidence in a whole bunch of different files, including this specific one-second click-in on a different table during this table, somehow setting up some faked home-ISP stuff in advance, being powerful enough to be able to change domain registrations on the fly, yet being so lacking in oversight as to think that calling an all-in bluff with 10-high for several tens of thousands of dollars of real prize money wouldn't arouse suspicion. And mind that this wasn't the only episode of cheating going on; it happened to be the one that drew the most attention, and even this one was denied by AP for weeks afterword.

The greater question was, if Scott Tom somehow were being framed, how could someone set up such a ridiculously perfect frame and still have no knowledge of how the core game -- poker, and how it is played... or badly cheated -- would be an impetus for others to search for the cheaters?

The overall mix clearly violated Occam's Razor. The far simpler explanation was that the cheating was done with arrogance and impunity by a person or several people with enough internal power to strangle any inquiries, should they arise. The problem with that attitude has to do with human nature; when people get screwed, they have this curious tendency to fight back. It instead likely meant that it wasn't a frame, and that people were getting fed up with whatever brazen shenanigans were going on.

As for those addresses, and related matters....

The "coffb@msn.com" address, to the best of my knowledge, has never been publicly released, though it is of course vital, given the later cover-up by AP, Blast-Off (Tokwiro) and quite probably the KGC.

Note that the "scott@rivieraltd.com" address is not the same address that adorned the PotRipper account when the screen grab that I published (previous post) was obtained. This would not be absolving or incriminating on its own in either event. Not only was an active coverup in progress in the days immediately following the PotRipper affair, meaning account information could have been changed, there's also no reason to assume that Scott Tom and/or cohorts used only two computers. There always had to be at least two -- one for playing and one for observing -- but the fact that there was excessive chip-dumping between cheating accounts during other episodes suggests that three or more could have been in play, at least two of which would have been active at the same table.

In addition, Scott Tom had access to many dozens of accounts that were created, all of which were shown be associated through the company's own internal ieSnare traces. Each of those would have had a separate e-mail address, so there had to have been lots and lots of extra e-mail addresses being used in connection with these accounts. I have info regarding some of those accounts, and will share that the next time out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just Conjecturin', Volume 11: Meanwhile, Over at Absolute Poker, It Seems Scott Tom Really Did It

You'll pardon this interruption from the ongoing conjecture about the UltimateBet online cheating scandal to visit the similar situation that unfolded during the same era at then-not-quite-sister-site Absolute Poker. While my investigation into the much larger cheating saga at UB.com* has always been rather clinical in nature, I've focused my attention on it for two reasons. First, the UB scandal was of much larger scope, a magnitude or more. Second, the AP scandal was more personal to me, because of the two -- not one, but two -- libel threats I've received in the past three years from Scott Tom, the then-official-boss at Absolute.

In any event, in trying to remain professional, I temporarily shelved the scandal involving my personal animosity in order to focus on the one that in solving would greater benefit the public good. While Scott Tom ran around threatening his silly libel suits against anyone that dared mention his name, trying to bully his way back into a position of industry responsibility, I let it be, even though I knew it was his name and e-mail account that was tied to the "observer" account monitoring the action in that infamous "Potripper" tournament cheating episode. Even though the IP address linked to that observing account was in turn traced to Scott Tom's house, it was hearsay evidence that wouldn't hold up in court on its own (like there was a court waiting to investigate this stuff, har-de-har), despite it being specific enough that falsification was unlikely.

Also, the preposterous stories that (a) it was A.J. Green (real name Allan Grimard) using Scott's house while Scotty was away on extended vacation, or (b) Scott's computers had been hacked into by another unknown villain, were just barely plausible enough in the absence of more evidence that they had to be let slide in major news outlets. Even if the ridiculous excuses were true, Scott Tom would still have been guilty of something best described as criminal negligence, for allowing his personal resources, as CEO or whatever of Absolute at the time, to be used in the theft of millions from Absolute Poker customers. It was almost as preposterous as the "low-level employee trying to prove a point" BS that Scott tried to peddle when the AP scandal first broke.

Yes, there were supposedly screen grabs showing some of the stuff, but they were quashed, too. Until today, that is. It's taken more than two years for me to obtain these, but I've managed to do so. With a little bit more of the background to follow, let's move on with this.

When the KGC handed down its punishments in the Absolute matter, they identified one person as receiving a lifetime ban from online gaming as regulated by the KGC, while a second person got the boot for a one-year period. Neither person was named, to the KGC's lasting shame. It was always presumed by observers that Green/Grimard got the lifetime ban, while Scott Tom received the shorter penalty, which he then subsequently was able to argue the remainder of away before the year was fully served by continuing to press his mostly spurious case... and perhaps apply other financial pressures.

The greater truth? Grimard and others may or may not have been heavily involved in the cheating, but Scott Tom was the real force behind the ongoing scandal at AP. While there is a miniscule chance that the evidence was somehow doctored itself before it reached me, its content correlates so well with what I'd already learned elsewhere that I believe it to be genuine. In full and honest faith, I believe the images you'll see to undoctored, and that Scott Tom himself was the primary Absolute Poker cheater.

One of the things that happened after AP bought UB was that UB's "ieSnare" anti-fraud tool was enhanced, to be able to look at the AP customer base as well. The snares were done by screen name, not player ID #, and could be directed to look at games running on either UB or AP, or both.

Scott Tom created a UB account, "PotChopper", in June of 2005, about the time UB and AP began to get buddy-buddy. The basis of that growing closeness was a budding friendship between Tom and UB boss Greg Pierson, though for the moment that digresses from this storyline. I normally would black out certain items of personal info but it hardly seems necessary here, since:

a) The given street address is an SBO box;
b) the home phone number given was actually that of AP's customer-service switchboard at the time;
c) Scott's "stom@fiducix.com" e-mail address is already all over the web anyway in connection to the scandal.

Yeah, go ahead and chuckle at the "PotChopper" bit. Here's that screen grab:



Clicking on the image should open a larger version of the above, and it's also stored independently online at: http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/6416/scotttom1.jpg

Now, part of the ieSnare's capabilities was, that as it built its relational database, it assigned a sequential device number to all new computers ("devices") that logged in. I believe this was derived from each computer's physical MAC address, one of the unique identifiers that a modern computer carries. In any event, Scott Tom's primary computer was assigned an ieSnare ID of "11451887" as it related to his account at UltimateBet. Here's visual evidence showing his log-ons at UB via his "potchopper" account:



(Larger version at http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3750/scotttom2.jpg)

The snare also grabbed the originating IP address for each log-in and assigned an "NUID", an internal identifier, based on the computer's physical ID. The exact nature of the "NUID" field has not been explained to me, but it may include a modifier based on the type of hook-up itself (i.e.: being hard-wired in versus using a wireless modem, or something similar). In any event, no matter where in the Caribbean Scott Tom logged in from, he was assigned either "24877017" or "24902502" when doing so as PotChopper. I suspect that "24877017" indicated his laptop in wireless mode, given Tom's island-hopping nature.

Now, when the ieSnare query was extended down the AP side of operations, based on Scott Tom's user ID of "11451887", it showed a direct link to several of the major cheating accounts. When run against that AP side, that same ieSnare produced the following for the account "PotRipper", that infamous account used in the cheated tournament that polarized the whole investigation. Here's the screen grab of that snare:



(Larger version at http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/2089/scotttom3.jpg)

It's the same device number, and in four of the five cases, the same NUID Set # as well. The fifth was generated at almost the same time as the one immediately below it in the list, suggesting that the two log-ins were related in another way. The top line in the screen grab, for September 13th, 2007, is for the span of time covering the $1,000-buyin Sunday tourney that PotRipper won through blatant cheating, meaning this is indeed a snare of the computer physically used to do that cheating.

But wait, there's more, much much more, though I'm only publishing a small percentage of it today. Device "11451887" (a/k/a Scott Tom) was tied to more than just the PotRipper account; it enjoyed a lengthy relationship over long stretches of time with several of the major cheating accounts. Here's how the "11451887" snare connected to cheating account "Graycat":



(Larger version at http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/2046/scotttom4.jpg)

Same user IDs, same NUID assignments, same originating IP addresses, etc., and this screen grab just shows the final two weeks of what was a much longer history for the account. As you'll see in a bit, the "hacking" story doesn't wash, not that it ever did.

Here's the same thing for cheating account "Doubledrag":



(Larger version at http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/5341/scotttom5.jpg)

The question that the doubter should be asking is, "Okay, maybe we have reason to place Scott Tom at the computer, but can we really say he was in control of all these cheating accounts?" Yes, yes we can. While he likely held significant help from one or more other high-level cheaters at AP, Scott Tom was pulling the strings directly regarding several of these cheating accounts.

Here's a screen grab showing the entire financial transaction history for the infamous "PotRipper" account. It had a notably brief life span, for obvious reasons:



(Larger version at http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3180/scottom6.jpg)

Note that the above is a financial-transactions history of the PotRipper account, not a recording of what happened at the tables. Here, $70,000 was transferred in from another cheating account, which seemingly immediately triggered an automatic black-list in the system, based on the transaction's size. That was immediately overridden by an operations supervisor based on directives from upper management (Scott Tom and others) for this and for all of the cheating accounts.

I'll get to these directives in a moment, but let's first examine the PotRipper account history. The account was first used on September 11th, 2007, had a large sum dumped into it from another cheating account, and two days later, was used to take down a large tournament score. That win on September 13th would have swelled the account balance to something like $150,000, barring other activity, so what must have happened between September 13th and 16th is that money was chip-dumped to other accounts during live play at the tables. Many of these affiliated accounts -- "ROMNALDO" is one of these, just off the top of my head -- were used in this manner, and chip dumping at the tables would not be captured by the transactions inquiry shown here.

In any event, there must have been plenty of internal heat at AP in the days immediately following the PotRipper escapade, because on September 16th, Scott Tom cashed out most of the remaining money in the PotRipper account, leaving enough behind and then re-blacklisting it, so it appeared there was still active play should anyone investigate at a later date. (He did the same thing with other accounts as well.) By then, of course, the vast majority of cheated monies had been siphoned off the site.

I mentioned those internal high-level directives to handle these cheating accounts with kid gloves. Several such accounts carried special notations like PotRipper's: "Please do not close this account for any reason. Issues please consult with Brent, Adrian or Nolan." So the customer-level support staff was being warned to leave these accounts alone, and this Brent is believed to be Brent Beckley, Scott Tom's step-brother, also involved with AP from its inception.

Here's the account overview for "PotRipper", the famed cheating account. I've gone ahead and redacted most of the name and street address, though I believe this to be one of Scott Tom's college buddies being used for money-laundering purposes. That said, a lot of the information here was still faked, from the mismatch between state and zip code to the use -- again -- of AP's own customer-service number in the phone field.



(Larger version at http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6580/scotttompotripperacctin.jpg)

Okay, that's enough of a "Ka-Boom!" for today. There will be plenty more in future posts, on both AP and UB. I've always believed that the truth in these matters would come out, and here's one piece of it, right here.



* Not its name at that point in time, but I can't help but create some artificial link candy.

Just Conjecturin', Volume 10: Defaults and Dividends, Chorus #2

Second verse, same as the first? Several readers have pointed out to me two recent public documents regarding entities connected to the Ultimate Bet -- UB.com these days -- online cheating scandal. The new documents involve the second suspension of monthly payments made by UB/AP purchaser Blast-Off Limited, which is just another name for Joe Norton's Tokwiro Enterprises ERNG, to the original UB owners Excapsa/6356059 Canada, Inc. these days. There are already whispers of shenanigans involved with these latest happenings, so we'll keep a close eye on what happens next. The complete documents are available here and here, but what the heck, I'll type them out so they can be re-read, click-free:

Document 1:

XMT Liquidations Inc.
1155, boul René-Lévesque ouest, bureau 2010
Montréal, Québec H3B 2J8

To: Shareholders of 6356095 Canada Inc. (formerly Excapsa Software Inc.)

From: XMT Liquidations, Inc. (its Court-appointed liquidator)

As you know, Blast Off Limited ("Blast Off") is indebted to 6356095 Canada Inc. (formerly known as Excapsa Software Inc.) in virtue of two Promissory Notes, each dated June 30th, 2009, in the respective amounts of US$41,900,000.00 and US$64,469,257.00.

On November 30th, 2009, Blast Off failed to make an instalment
[sic] payment of US$500,000.00. In virtue of such default, the Liquidator, after consultation with the inspectors, and through its attorneys, sent a formal demand letter:

1) claiming payment of the sum of US$500,000.00;

2) advising Blast off that unlesss
[sic] said default and all and any subsequent defaults were cured with the ninety (90) day-period allowed under the Promissory Notes, the entire amount of both Promissory Notes would become due and payable, and;

3) further advising Blast Off that the Liquidator intended to exercise all of its recourses to recover the sume due under the Promissory Notes, including the Liquidator's rights under the Malta Pledge, the CL Escrow Agreement and the DN Security Agreement.

Under the Malta Pledge, the shares in Blast Off are pledged as security for the Notes. Such shares are issued by Blast Off under the laws of Malta. Accordingly, the Liquidator has engaged legal counsel in Malta with a view, if necessary, to eventually exercising the security held over the Blast Off shares.

The Liquidator is also considering exercising its rights and remedies under the CL Escrow Agreement (in virtue of which the non-US customer base was placed in escrow as collateral security for the Notes) and the DN Security Agreement (in virtue of which certain domain names were given as collateral security).

The Liquidator will continue to update shareholders as developments occur.

The 90-day cure period expires on March 11, 2010. Prior to such time, shareholders are requested to keep the contents hereof confidential and not to disclose Blast Off's default or discuss same with anybody but another shareholder, or the Liquidator.

Dated this 26th day of January, 2010,

XMT Liquidations, Inc.
Per: (signed)
Sheldon W. Krakower, C.A.


So much for the initial notice. That was sent out to shareholders and negotiations with Blast Off commenced, with the following update (Document 2) coming just a few days back:

XMT Liquidations Inc.
1155, boul René-Lévesque ouest, bureau 2010
Montréal, Québec H3B 2J8

To: Shareholders of 6356095 Canada Inc. (formerly Excapsa Software Inc.)

From: XMT Liquidations, Inc. (its Court-appointed liquidator)

In our last communication dated January 26, 2010 (copy attached), we advised you of the suspension of payments by Blast Off Limited ("Blast Off") under the first Promissory Note and the onset of a 90-day cure expiring on March 11, 2010. Negotiations followed and culminated in an arrangement whereby Blast Off will pay US$1,150,000.00 to the Liquidator by monthly installments ending on May 31, 2010, of which U$450,000.00 has been received, plus an additional US$100,000.00 for costs due on June 15, 2010. The Liquidator has informed Blast Off that acceptance of any payments is not to be taken as a tacit forbearance, nor an acceptance, renunciation or waiver of any conditions, rights or obligations. Assuming that these payments are made on time and no other defaults occur under the Promissory Notes, the Liquidator does not intend to pursue any of its rights and remedies prior to June 1, 2010.

The US$1,150,000.00, together with the US$250,000.00 paid by Blast Off earlier this year, will cover the November and December 2009 monthly installments plus $400,000.00 on account of the January 2010 installment. This will leave arrears of $2,100,000.00 owing as of May 31, 2010 (i.e. $100,000.00 for January 2010 and $2,000,000.00 for February through May 2010). There is no agreement in place with Blast Off relating to payment of this sum and, failing an agreement, the Luquidator shall be entitled to exercise its rights and remedies under the Porimissory Notes and related security. The Liquidator anticipates further discussions with Blast Off and will continue to update shareholders as matters progress.

The Liquidator recently received a clearance certificate from Canada Revenue Agency authorizing a further distribution of up to $US10,000,000.00 to shareholders. The Liquidator hopes to make a distribution within the next 90 days, but will make this decision based upon the level of payments received and committed from Blast Off up to and following May 31, 2010.

Dates this 12th day of April, 2010,

XMT Liquidations, Inc.
Per: (signed)
Sheldon W. Krakower, C.A.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Bit of Poker, A Lot of Trivia

Last weekend was my annual migration to Stevens Point, WI for the World's Largest Trivia Contest. This contest has run for 41 years, and I've played for the last 18 or 20, the last 12 or 14 on the same team. Each year the contest draws over 400 teams and about 12,000 players, making it a true community event, benefitting the college's radio station.

The contest runs 54 hours, straight, making it an act of durability, too, though I'm no longer up to the challenge of that long a sleepless stretch. In recent years I get about 12 hours of sleep through the madness. And there's only two 40-minute breaks, one each at 6pm on Saturday or Sunday, when the scores are read manually and there's a bit of a break from the questions.

So while we were breaking on Sunday eve, I took that chance to fire up Stars and see if the recent doomswitching was in effect. I started up three SNGs, and... ran well! In the first one, I got the chips all in early with Q-Q against A-K and K-Q (?!?), and the board brought rags until the river, which was the case Q. The early triple-up led to a second-place finish, and I pocketed a third in another. And in the third, I doubled up in about the third level in one of those "it's never this easy" hands.

It went like this: Blinds were 25/50 and it was folded to me in middle position, where I made it 150 behind pocket fives. Action was folded around to the button, who smooth-called. The flop came a heavenly 7-5-5, giving me quads. I checked, the button jammed -- on a bluff with K-Q, no less -- and I snap-called for the easy double-up. From there I went on to take the thing down, giving me a win, place and show in 40 minutes and three turbo SNGs played.

If it were only always that easy, right? Unfortunately the trivia went not quite as well, as our perennial top-10 team stumbled its way to a 16th-place finish, out of the trophies for the second time in three years after a run of eight straight in the hardware.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dear PokerStars...

You can turn off the doomswitch any fucking time now. It's been months of run-cold -- ridiculous beats by the hundreds and enough coolers to chill drinks for the next Super Bowl. Enough is enough.

*sigh*

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Silly Happy Poker and More

Spring is in the air... finally... and while for me that includes participation in the World's Largest Trivia Contest (Stevens Point, WI), it also gave me the chance to stop in with my old trivia friends on the Saturday night of Easter weekend and play some old-time, silly poker.

I'd forgotten how much I missed sitting down at a table playing silly made-up games for a dollar or three. Sure, there were the occasional hands of Omaha or 7-card stud, but blessedly not a hand of hold'em in sight the entire night. Instead it was such old home-game stalwarts as Black Mariah, 2-22 and 7-27, though the latter with am occasional twist -- jacks were "shit on your neighbor" cards (they each received cards, whether wanted or not), diamonds were double and hearts didn't count.

Hilarious. Don't expect to a see a chapter on it in Super/System 3. Nor on Standard-1 or Blind Melon, true slam, among the night's other faves. Suffice it to say the night's strategy for most players, including me, was never fold a hand that had a reasonable chance of snagging a piece of a pot.

The game broke about 4am, with me up perhaps a hundred and still facing an additional 90-minute drive further north. It was worth it anyway.


* * * * * *


And then the good news from this morning, though non-poker related. I was not selected for three months of once-a-week grand jury duty, after being summoned in and sifted through interviews with the defense lawyers. Too many disqualifying circumstances among me and my immediate family for them to even want to consider me; after about three questions, the lawyer said "That's enough, let's keep the line moving," and sent me back to my seat.


* * * * * *


P.S.: More "Just Conjecturin'" posts coming soon. At least four more. I promise! I'm confident there will be other news on this front some time soon as well.

I've also seen the recent stories regarding Full Tilt being investigated by the SDNY. If true, it's pathetic to see the feds targeting FT before UB or AP, but there's reason to believe that the impetus was planted as part of PartyPoker's prior settlement with the US, as in, "We'll settle, but only if you promise to go after Tilt or Stars next." I've believed that was a poison-pill play by Party since day one, an attempt to clear out the market for a possible reentry to the States once formal regulation arrives.

But, gee whiz -- the UB owners are almost as publicly known, include plenty of Americans, and the site's history included not only a mega-millions cheating scandal, but the offering of a "house" game (blackjack). Neither condition applies to Full Tilt. I'm not a huge fan of Full Tilt, but the politics in play here are hilariously thin.

Thus cometh the sandman. It was never of question of if, for those of you with heads in the sand, but always a question of when and how.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Kahnawake Gaming Commission Identifies Authorities Assisting Ongoing Investigation in UltimateBet Scandal

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission today confirmed its ongoing efforts in the long-running UltimateBet online poker scandal by releasing a roster of noted authorities to whom information regarding individuals connected to known cheating accounts has been released.

According to a Mohawks of Kahnawake spokesperson, "We believe this confirms our diligent efforts to see the UB perpetrators brought to justice, and strengthens our own international reputation as a bastion of well-regulated online gaming. However, due to the secret nature of these authorities' ongoing investigations, it is possible for us only to show pictures of each authority, rather than listing them by name.

"As one can see," continued the Kahnawake source, "the authorities depicted here represent the top level of international oversight, along with a good measure of derring-do. We continue looking forward to working with these respected authorities in hopes of one day making the entire UltimateBet cheating scandal an inconsequential sidenote in online-gaming history."

The complete roster of authorities: