General update time here at the JC corral, where work continues apace. As a lot of you faithful readers have figured out, we've pushed the book back a ways from its planned late-2011 release, in large part because important news keeps happening and new sources keep coming forward. There's been a flurry of both just in the last six or eight weeks, from Brent Beckley surrendering to DOJ officials on the AP side to the new civil lawsuit filed against Excapsa and a pile of as-yet-unnamed John Does, whoch is directed more at the old UB.
I keep interviewing and writing and meshing different tales against one other, and with each passing day the proverbial "complete picture" becomes a little more clear. I'm really glad we didn't try to put out a rushed version of the book in time for the holidays, even if that is a disappointment for those of you want the whole story right now. I get it, I really do. Still, the emergence of the story takes time, just as I always said it would.
One expected problem of late was a recent hard-drive failure which cost me a pretty penny to repair, because it occurred just a couple of days after having received information connected to that massive UB/AP data leak several weeks back. While I had most of the data backed up already, I was temporarily without a few key pieces, though those have now also been restored. Sorry to disappoint anyone who would have hoped my data was gone for good.
I've received another series of even more important UB files from a second source, but the leaked AP/UB files do contain many entries with information worth knowing. For instance, what happens if you look for accounts connected with "Russ Hamilton" or "Russell Hamilton"?
Excluding a couple of unfortunate folks who were born with the same name but were unconnected with the R. Hamilton widely known within the poker world, a search of the leaked files provides some interesting hits. Here's one such:
Russ Hamilton United States email@example.com 4668866 ##158476 11/24/2008 22:24 UltimateBet 133140 0 7035.4 0 11/24/2008 22:24 UltimateBet.Com 7035.4 Blacklist User 299 Male 14872 9/16/2003 0:00 Affiliate Chernihiv Obla Ukraine Y 0 0 0
This is the complete record for one Russ account that was used in the cheating, though it appears to have had much of its data munged after the fact by the bosses at Absolute Poker. Hamilton's real e-mail addy was wiped and replaced with "firstname.lastname@example.org", the "#158476" was written over the screen-name field, hiding its original name, but the "Blacklist User" status was... correct.
The "11/24/2008" date seems to be a last-account-activity date, and I'd believe that, too, though a deeper look reveals that some large batch processes were done around this time. But for which cheating account this name was changed we may never know, since this comes from files transferred over to AP and then moved into the wilds of black-hat marketing by former Costa Rican workers jilted by their former Absolute Poker bosses. One of the "0" entries corresponds to the real-money entries, too; there were no funds left in this account as of 2011.
(By the way, that "Chernihiv Obla, Ukraine" crap is part of what appears to be a separate corporate scheme to defraud electronic payment processors into handling payments to and from US players. ALL US players have a similar entry in a series of extra records serving no other purpose.)
Russ's wife Carolyn's "SLOOP" account was also blacklisted, though it was left more or less intact, including a Las Vegas address already tied to the scandal in certain other records published a couple of years back. Yet Carolyn Hamilton has no known connection to the actual cheating herself, and whether or not this account was used for any transfer activity is no more than open conjecture.
But more on Russ. There should be no doubt that the "-RUSSH-" account was his:
Russ hamilton United States email@example.com (a real Russ H. address) 6217835 -RUSSH- 7/2/1949 las vegas NV 89134 11/24/2008 23:43 UltimateBet 100000 0 3.31 0 11/24/2008 23:43 UltimateBet.Com 3.31 Blacklist User 299 Male 14872 Affiliate Batna Algeria Y NV 0 0 0
No money in this account, either. But the "7/2/1949" entry seems to be Hamilton's real date of birth, although it differs slightly from the DOB data in the next account, and this account was apparently blacklisted along with the other one. The "6217835" was the account number after new account numbers were reassigned on the Cereus platform; neither it nor the other entries are the original UB account numbers.
And then there's this record, which to me is the funniest of all:
Russ Hamilton United States (real RH e-mail) (another real RH address) 02/22/1947 Las Vegas NV 7450438 APS POTRIPPER 80231 126.96.36.199 11/25/2008 0:35 8500 0 (real phone number) 0 0 11/25/2008 0:35 UltimateBet.Com Blacklist User 299 Male Other Madrid Spain Y NV 0 0 0
Another blacklisted account. A 1947 DOB instead of 1949, and a thank-you to whichever reader first verifies which one is real. However, the real hilarity is that this account's original screen name was overlaid with the entry "APS POTRIPPER". Why that, of all things?
There's only one real logical answer. It's because these originated from Cereus Network-era files, and the AP bosses had to know that common customer-service employees would be curious enough to enter "Russ Hamilton" into their consoles to see what turned up. These AP executives' efforts to cover their own tracks were ongoing, and if they could get some non-thinking workers to believe the lies that "Potripper" was AJ Green or anyone else but Scott Tom, so much the better.
But Russ Hamilton as Absolute Poker's POTRIPPER? Don't you believe it.