Friday, September 19, 2008

The MSNBC Buzz

Of course I'm monitoring the situation. I've been tracking the AP and UB situations ever since last year, when I first requested a copy of the infamous "CrazyMarco" file from Nat Arem. The story about the $75 million lawsuit or motion or whatever is newsworthy but amazingly devoid of facts, so I'm still watching that to see what else emerges over the coming days.

What it seemed to do, though, was give MSNBC correspondent Michael Brunker the hook he needed to go public with the UltimateBet expose he's been working on for quite some time.

Excepting the Blast-Off Ltd. action, which is new, there was exactly zero in that piece that I haven't long been aware of. One thing of particular interest to me was the naming of Greg Pierson as perhaps being the "secret moneybags" founder of UB, something which I'd figured out a long, long time ago.

2+2 posters have done the majority of the legwork on the UB saga, but within that, it's been a handful of constructive researchers and hundreds of space-wasting others getting in the way of real progress. Greg Pierson's name has been bandied about for several months there, but I don't think anyone found a solid link to ownership. Even Brunker resorted to this in his piece:

"An undated and unbylined article on the Web site, titled 'The history of online poker,' alleges that ieLogic founders Greg Pierson and Jon Karl created the UltimateBet site at the end of 2000, along with 'some secretive high stakes poker players.'"

For chrissakes, can't anyone do research these days? I did my own digging on this stuff soon after I returned from Vegas and it took me all of 20 minutes to find a helluva lot stronger connection between Pierson and UB. How does this sound:

"Those who follow this column know that the issue of integrity and site security is one that I work with and care very much about. Greg Pierson, the principal founder of UltimateBet, has a new venture, Iovation, which develops new software not only to catch cheaters, but to protect poker site users against a variety of other evils, including phishers and hackers. Pierson strikes me as one of the smarter people I have ever met, and he somewhat reminds me of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, one of those guys who has made a bundle but whose mind demands that he continue innovating."

Boldface mine, natch. This was written by Card Player columnist Roy Cooke about Pierson at the GIGSE '05 conference, and appeared in some fall-of-'05 issue of Card Player. It's online here with a publication date of September 20th, 2005.

No one else seems to be able to find this.

Let's toss in a "duh" moment -- "LDO" for you 'Net freaks -- and add this in to the mix. Phil Hellmuth has quite publicly and repeatedly promised Greg Pierson his 12th WSOP bracelet, if and when he wins it. Ya think maybe there might be a reason why?

Now, I really couldn't care less about Phil or Greg or any of the people that I don't believe to be the thieves in the UB cheating saga. I only post this here because Pierson's been outed now by a source just a few magnitudes larger than this blog. I have no knowledge whatsoever of the way the ieLogic/Iovation thing unfolded, but I'd guess that the later company was created as a way for Pierson to market his security software beyond the confines of UB. Nothing wrong with that, by the way.

I'd also guess there is probably no one sicker about the whole UB mess than the esteemed and probably very rich Mr. Pierson. I believe Iovation's interests in Internet security software extend far beyond online poker, and I'd have to think that the whole UB mess is a significant problem for that company's interests going forward. It doesn't seem to be much of a selling point for any firm's security software when the online site associated with that brand has been through the wringer, security-wise.

I suppose there'll be more on this in the days to come. I'll be scanning for news, just like everyone else.

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