We all love comfort. We all love convenience. And when you can do something exciting and fun from the comfort of your own home? It's a spectacular experience. Who wouldn't want to pretend to be a high roller in sweatpants? That's what online poker offers.
But when you decide to make a move into the online poker world, you enter into a trust. You trust that the only thing that decides your game will be a lot of talent and a dash of luck. You trust that you aren't going to get fucked in the ass by people you don't know. But of course? Trust means nothing when there are billions of dollars at stake.
Absolute Fraud Reporting by Steven Ware a.k.a. Cornell Fiji
The superuser scandal began about one year ago. In August 2007, a player known as POTRIPPER won the $1,000 weekly buy-in tournament with an incredible play. He came in raising with an abnormally high pre-flop percentage of hands, and he played pitch-perfect post-flop poker. And he won his hand on a crazy call.
On the final hand? The board read 4hKdKh7s. POTRIPPER’s opponent, Marco Johnson, playing under the name CrazyMarco, made a massive check-raise all in with a flush draw 9h2h only to be called by POTRIPPER’s Tc9c. POTRIPPER’s ten high, no pair, no draw held up to win the tournament.
Marco asked for a hand history, and after three other players were chrushing high limit games with a losing strategy? He found that, for example, POTRIPPER only made four pre-flop folds and every time the other player held a massive pair. He played like he saw the hole cards. He held a superuser account, and Absolute Poker covered it up.
So knowing the what, when, where, and having the why on the matter, the only thing that's left? Who was POTRIPPER? The e-mail address and IP address linked to the Superuser Account was the same as that of another observer using the e-mail address email@example.com, the owner of which was allegedly Absolute Poker co-founder Scott Tom.
And as far as Rivera Ltd.'s e-mail servers go? The investigative team at two plus two's forums found that Further investigations revealed that the mail server IP (188.8.131.52) was allocated to Absolute Entertainment SA at Mohawk Internet Technologies data center (po12.dr4.kdca.mohawk.ca.) And this data was proven to be covered up soon enough after that point.
Why was this covered up? Because Mohawk.ca means the Canadian Mohawk Indian Tribe. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the regulatory arm of the Mohawk Indian Tribe. The former Grand Chief of the Mohawk is Joe Norton. Joe Norton currently runs Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG. Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG owns and operates Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet.
So what was the Absolute Poker aftermath? Not much. There was an internal investigation. They said that while there was no superuser account, game security had been compromised.
But the fact of the matter? They knew this was going on, and they had no time nor inclination to fix this. If it wasn't for Marco, this may still be going on.
After the Absolute Poker scandal it was clear that the poker sites were unwilling to regulate themselves and that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was also uninterested with protecting the game. Frustrated by what seemed to be another major cheating scandal by a Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG poker site, posters on twoplustwo set out to find the truth.
While reviewing hands that they had played, twoplustwo posters 'trambopoline' and 'dlpnyc21' noticed that they had both lost significant sums of money to the player ”NioNio”. In only 3,000 hands against trambopoline and dlpnyc21 ”NioNio”, had profited an astonishing $300,000.
”NioNio” had an incredibly high VP$IP of approximately 60/40 (meaning that he put money into the pot preflop with 60% of the hands that he was dealt and that he raised preflop with 40% of his hands, abnormally high statistics for a winning player in these games). He cold called 3 bets and 4 bets at an abnormally high frequency and he made very thin value bets and repeatedly made what would otherwise be questionable calls against bluffs. Essentially, his play was consistent of that of a poor poker player, not one who was winning $300,000 in 3,000 hands.
NioNio's play was nearly identical to the play of POTRIPPER with one exception; where POTRIPPER would only raise or fold on the river, NioNio would on occasion call. It would eventually become obvious this served to make his omniscience less obvious.
Concerned about NioNio's play trambopoline turned to www.MyPokerIntel.com, a website which records all high stakes games that are played online, to gather more evidence.
MyPokerIntel.com provides a summary of anyone’s last 14 sessions. In those 14 sessions, NioNio had 13 winning sessions and was up approximately 135k. His one losing session consisted of a mere 2k loss. The stats on MyPokerIntel.com also showed that NioNio had beaten the games at a rate of 114 big blinds per 100 hands over the 8,000 hands that he had played. As a base of comparison, the absolute best players in the world strive to win 15 bb/100.
What was even more incriminating was the fact that the last date he played on that account was September 4th, the same week the AP scandal broke.
It seems that NioNio had won over 600k in a mere 64 hours of play, a hourly rate of $9,687.96/hr. One of the ‘wow’ figures from this investigation is that the average American works 2088 hours a year, not counting overtime. If NioNio worked for those same 2088 hours he would have an annual salary of $20,209,668.48.
So what did Ultimate Bet do? They had a three month investigation which said nothing more than NioNio had an "abnormally high win rate" and refused any further comment. Why does this matter? Because one of their security matters was that all name changes had to go through Ultimate Bet. And as the story broke? Guess who got their name changed?
If you guessed NioNio? You are correct sir.
So what did Ultimate Bet do? What any good company would do.
You've seen commercials for Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker around the clock on ESPN. But after the scandal broke? They made a whole new set of commercials starring part-owner and 11-time WSOP Champion Phil Hellmuth and sent champion and author Annie Duke around to anyone whom would interview her. And after this? The shouts about the fraud were muted.
That is until... and we'll list this step by step. (from 2+2 poster Vizer02)
1. Brainwashdodo, a person who claims to be a UB employee, posts for the first time in the “Annie Duke a liar?” thread, alluding to additional information he may have.
2. Brainwashdodo makes a post showing a screenshot taken from the UB admin panel. This is not the real NioNio account, as this one was created 04/19/2008 and is a play money account only.
4. Brainwashdodo also makes a post with 4 links to screenshots taken from the UB admin panel. He shows the account info for kid55, mamamiya, buckskin, and ShaqTack. These screenshots were later removed due to personal info being available on them; however here are two of them with the personal info removed. The kid55 account belongs to Freddy Deeb and the Buckskin account belongs to Lyle Berman. Several people assumed Freddy had a part in the cheating, but as of now there is no proof of that except for the fact that his account was suspended 1 day before the ShaqTack account was suspended, with the exact same comment “(Acct disabled. Do not re-open. Any inquiries please forward to Paul/Nolen. SAraya/ub sec, Tkt #8313668.)”
5. UB releases a new statement regarding the investigation:
Status Update on NioNio Investigation
July 8, 2008 -
UltimateBet’s continuing investigation has confirmed that other usernames, in addition to those previously identified on this site, were associated with the cheating scandal.
The additional usernames include: Crackcorn55, , GrabBag123, gravitation, Bgroup, H_Curtis, Twenty 1, WacoManiac, Broke_In_L_A, ShaqTack, BlueBerry101, 55WasHere, Xnomas, dannyboy55, Indy05, SlimPikins2. The same perpetrators we had previously identified controlled all of these usernames; there are no new perpetrators involved, only new usernames.
We have also confirmed that the cheating dates back further then we initially believed. We can now confirm that the cheating began in January 2005, long before Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG acquired UltimateBet from the previous ownership.
Tokwiro regrets that we did not discover this scheme during our due diligence when we purchased UltimateBet in October 2006, and that we did not identify the fraudulent activity until this recent investigation. We remain committed to our players, and to resolving this problem completely. We will start refunding players for any net losses in hands played with the usernames listed above once we complete our investigation.
Tokwiro considers itself to have been a victim of this fraud and we are continuing to explore our legal options. As part of this effort, we are compiling all of the information we have gathered in regard to the perpetrators and their activities, for possible use in any legal action.
We will continue to provide updates on our investigation, as we are still looking at a few accounts. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the poker community for their invaluable contributions to this investigation and remind them that we remain committed to fully examining any claims of fraud that we receive.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this investigation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. NoLimitLeagues analyzes the posts from Brainwash and notices ShaqTack (a known cheating account on UB) had gone through several name changes, including WhakMe, slimpikins2, HolyMucker, and broke_in_l_a, however WhakMe and HolyMucker weren’t listed on UB’s original statement. UB added WhakMe and HolyMucker to their statement after this observation was posted on 2+2. Also, later Trabopoline talks to Paul, the current CEO of UB, who says it was simply a coincidence that the two names were added late.
7. People start analyzing the transaction audits posted by Brainwashdodo, and the biggest piece of info in these transaction histories showed that -Fred- made a transaction to ShaqTack for $10,000. ShaqTack was one of the known cheating accounts. Also, it seems that the accounts RussHamilton and –russh- were funding other accounts through the –Fred- account because of transfers like the following. This is important because Russ Hamilton is a previous owner of UB. The –Fred- account appears to be an account primarily used to transfer funds to an assortment of players.
a. 517706057 50000.00 Transfer From RussHamilton 2006-DEC-11 04:49:01 PM customer req
517687967 -50000.00 Transfer To Poppychullo 2006-DEC-11 04:41:25 PM customer req
b. 525311086 10000.00 Transfer From RussHamilton 2006-DEC-16 03:58:12 PM customer req
525251767 -10000.00 Transfer To slug2 2006-DEC-16 03:12:52 PM customer req
c. 377361587 40000.00 Transfer From -russh- 2006-SEP-03 05:40:03 PM customer req
377269310 -10000.00 Transfer To ShaqTack 2006-SEP-03 04:26:02 PM customer req
374958034 -5000.00 Transfer To crosdsr 2006-SEP-02 01:20:13 AM customer req
374406862 -30000.00 Transfer To Devilfish 2006-SEP-01 06:38:09 PM customer req
8. Trambopoline explains that the email address that was registered to the NioNio account was the same one that was registered to the H B account. The H B account was also funded by the –Fred- account. The name listed as the owner of the H B account is Haim Bajayo.
9. Annie Duke does an interview on PokerRoad radio. She says that Brainwashdodo was trying to blackmail UB. She explains how the cheating was supposedly done, and states that UB is now probably one of the safest sites to play on. She responds to questions about the interview here:
10. People begin posting contact information of people who might know something about the UB software, in case 2+2’ers investigating this topic want to get in touch with them and try to ask questions. Several of the people are former programmers and developers of the UB software who worked for ieLogic (developers of UB software) and IOvation (another software company tied to UB). I’m only listing these because someone requested they be added to the cliffnotes so someone can try questioning them. The last post talks a little more about UB’s connection with ieLogic.
11. N 82 50 24 posts this summary regarding the known information of the cheating accounts:
Okay, so these are the total names release by AP and UB:
The following account names are known to have been used in the fraudulent activity:
The additional usernames include:
a. In the first set of names, we know that:
NioNio was changed to NYMobser on Sep 5th, 2007. His other account name was H B. The name on the account was Haim Bajayo and the email was isrelly@aol.
Also, nvtease, sleeplesss and NoPaddles are the same account. It went in the following order… Until April 6th, 2007, the account was known as nvtease. From that point until Sept 5th, 2007 (same date as above), the account was known as NoPaddles. After Sept 5th, 2007, the account was known as sleeplesss.
In addition, the name on that account was Lauren Makar and the address was a Las Vegas address. I won’t release the address on here because, more than likely, the person was innocent. Does anyone know how to look up property ownership records in some database? If so, post a link/explanation. Also, if you know the name Lauren Makar, please let us know.
Lastly, this account cashed out WAAAAY more than it should have. Like hundreds of thousands of dollars that was not won at the table. It seems like it was a money funnel of some kind.
I feel pretty bad releasing names because these people were probably just pawns being used by the real cheaters, but if it comes down to that, the people with this info will just have to do that until something comes out. The dirt is out there.
12. N 82 50 24 promptly followed up that post with this groundbreaking post, basically stating that the physical address listed for the nvtease/NoPaddles/sleepless accounts (confirmed superuser accounts) is owned by Russ Hamilton, the prior owner of UB.
a. OMG wow…
The address is
138-19-810-002 HAMILTON RUSSELL & CAROLYN *20060523:03704 05/23/2006 JOINT TENANCY 200 SUBDIVIDED LOT
Okay people, the address on three of the accounts is owned by Russ and Carolyn Hamilton.
FWIW, this was the info given out by a UB whistleblower (not brainwash, as far as I know):
Customer ID: Token ID: Username: Status: Creation Date: Update Date:UNITED STATES Customer Phone: 702326xxxx Customer Birthdate: 1967-xx-xx Email Information: Address: email@example.com
I got rid of some information like the birthdate and phone number to protect whoever Lauren Makar is.
13. UBdataRus posts a screenshot of some of the nopaddles account’s winnings from poker
14. There is still speculation about who still owns UB. A post from Dan Druff on NWP:
There’s more to this story from an NWP angle that meets the eye, which I’ll talk about in more detail later.
Basically, when we were investingating the AP Superuser scandal (in the fall of 2007), a confidential source told me that Russ Hamilton really still owned AP and UB, and that the “sales” were pretty much a cover-up in post-UIGEA times.
I posted it as an NWP front page story and on 2+2.
Very shortly thereafter, we got a tilt phone call from Russ Hamilton where he was SCREAMING on Dustin’s voice mail, demanding that we call him.
I called him, and he told me that what I posted was blatantly false. He demanded that I take those posts/stories down, as I was putting him in jeopardy of being investigated by the Justice Department. Since I had no proof at the time, and was simply quoting a confidential source, I decided it was better that I take the whole thing down. While it was very newsworthy if true, it could also be very damaging if false, and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving it up under those circumstances.
Given what has come to light, now perhaps everything makes more sense.
So, what does this mean? This means that the World Series of Poker Champion Russ Hamilton and Ultimate Bet co-owner is one of the front men of this seemingly endemic fraud and corruption which contains both the software developers as well as other Ultimate Bet board members. They saw your cards and they took your money. And you weren't alone.
Lyle Berman co-founded the World Poker Tour, and his friends and neighbors sent him to the cleaners. There's dirty dealings coming through here. Nat Arem (a.k.a. N 82 50 24) has received threats on his life.
I know it's a lot to digest, I know that if you aren't in the world of Poker, it may not mean that much. But the fact of the matter? The old school is doing an excellent job of killing the Golden Goose. The alleged new frontman and 1990 World Series of Poker Champion Mansour Matloubi has his own myriad of problems as well.
This is grand larceny. This is fraud. This is a call for independent regulation of online poker sites. Because let's be honest, if online poker is controlled by the Bentley riders?
This will only keep happening.
UPDATE: Official proof comes that the -Fred- account that transferred money to one of the superusers belonged to Fred David, one of the original owners and investors of ultimatebet.com.
UPDATE II:From Two Plus Two poster Moneyline...
dannyboy55, one of the confirmed superusers, qualified for and played in the 2005 Aruba tournament. I just contacted UB asking for a list of participants in the tournament and they claimed they no longer have that info "for security reasons."