UltimateBet - Absolute Poker Scam

Casinomeister

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"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive..."

Not a happy moment for Ultimatebet and Absolute Poker - a very thorough expose has been posted at the 2+2 poker forums:

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Another blackmark against the Kahnawake Gaming Commision - in fact, this could just make them look just as effective as the Costa Rican Gaming authorities :rolleyes:
 

Casinomeister

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Synopsis from Twoplustwo

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- reprinted with permission:

from 2+2 said:
Superusers and Silence: How UltimateBet let players get cheated for millions

May 20, 2008


AN OPENING THOUGHT

This following is a summary of this thread which originally appeared in the High Stakes No Limit forum on twoplustwo.com where the story of corruption at UltimateBet originally broke. UltimateBet, an online poker room founded in 2001 and one of the largest in the online poker industry, has been given ample opportunity to refute any of the statements in that thread, but have chosen not to do so as of this writing. Every claim made in the summary that follows in this thread is backed up by insurmountable evidence, which can be provided by request. Some of that evidence is included in this thread and there are links to many of the source in this thread. If UltimateBet or Absolute Poker feels inclined to refute anything that is said in this summary, they’re urged to do so.

I believe that it is important for online poker players to know about the unethical business practices of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. It is also imperative to understand that these unscrupulous activities are not an indictment on the entire online poker industry. As you read this thread please keep in mind that UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are owned by the same company. They are also regulated by the same puppet regulatory commission. Most poker sites are run with the utmost integrity and security. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are the exception and not the rule.

I urge the concerned reader to pass word of this summary on to other interested parties. The spread of this information will ultimately protect poker players from unknowingly exposing themselves to the corruption detailed below. If any reader is unfamiliar with any poker or technical terminology contained within, please let me know and an explanation will be provided.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to every one who investigated this scandal and who have worked tirelessly to uncover the truth and demand restitution for the affected parties. I did not participate in any part of the investigation myself, all I did was summarize the hard work of posters such as 'trambopoline,' 'dlpnyc21,' Nat Arem, and 'Josem.' Special thanks also to poker columnist Gary Wise who assisted in the editing this post.

Last, I want to make it clear that neither Two Plus Two Publishing nor any of its associative media is in any way responsible for these investigations, nor the accusations made based on their results. We thank Two Plus Two for providing an open forum in which those who have been investigating UltimateBet’s actions could gather and exchange information.

Steven Ware
Cornell Fiji
INTRODUCTION

It has been one hundred fifty days since allegations about suspicious activity in the high stakes no limit games on UltimateBet were first made public in this thread in the
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(referred to as ‘HSNL’ from this point) on twoplustwo.com.

Several million dollars were stolen and the evidence in the HSNL thread indicates very strongly that:
UltimateBet has known about the cheating for at least nine months.
UltimateBet knew about but did not make any attempt to acknowledge the cheating before it was exposed on 2+2.
People who worked for UltimateBet facilitated the cheating.
UltimateBet actively took steps to cover up these crimes and thwart the investigation of this scandal.
Additionally:
UltimateBet did not make any public statements or acknowledge that cheating had occurred until March 6th, 2008, three full months after the crimes became public.
UltimateBet has not reached out to any of the players who were stolen from (many of whom still don't know that they were cheated). When players read the HSNL thread, discover that they have been cheated and attempt to contact UltimateBet, they’re forced to wait several days for an email response, only to be told that UltimateBet is 'looking into the allegations.'
UltimateBet has not offered to reimburse any of the victims of the theft.
The first post in HSNL thread provided irrefutable evidence, including a graphic (below) proving that that the player NioNio's winning statistics were abnormal.
Please refer to the graphic posted here. There is also a review of the statistcs as well:
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Further:

from 2+2 said:
On March 6th, 2008 in a long-anticipated press release , UltimateBet concluded that after “extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert… NioNio account’s winning statistics were indeed abnormal” but did not reveal whether they’d found an unfair advantage existed. This press release is the only time that UltimateBet has publicly addressed this issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateBet
Montreal, Canada (March 6, 2008) – UltimateBet (UB), one of the ten largest online Poker cardrooms, today issued the following interim statement with respect to allegations of unfair play on its site.

“On January 12, 2008, UltimateBet was alerted to allegations that a player with the online handle “NioNio” exhibited abnormally high winning statistics and was accused of having an unfair advantage during play. These allegations were made both directly to UltimateBet by concerned players and the KGC, and indirectly through several web forums. The allegations also included reports of suspicious activity concerning the deletion of the NioNio account and other accounts that may have been related to this scheme.

“We immediately launched an extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert to review hundreds of thousands of hand histories, all of which were promptly locked down and made available to this expert. The initial findings of our third-party expert confirm that the NioNio account’s winning statistics were indeed abnormal, and we have expanded the investigation to look into whether an unfair advantage existed, how such a scheme might have been perpetrated, and whether additional accounts beyond those of NioNio were involved.

“UltimateBet is in regular communications and contact with its regulatory authority, The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), and will continue to cooperate fully with that body.

“UltimateBet is determined to complete a full and thorough investigation. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, secure playing environment for our customers. The investigation has proven to be extremely complex and, therefore, has been more extensive and taken much longer than initially expected. We continue to aggressively pursue the matter and will communicate the findings of our full investigation to our regulatory authority and to our customer base as soon as practicable.”
Please note - this was similar to the responses I received during the Absolute Poker scandal last fall.

Absolute Poker has been in the rogue pit since then :rolleyes:

from 2+2 said:
THE KEY PLAYERS

UltimateBet is owned by Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, a privately owned company that also owns and operates Absolute Poker.

Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG is run by Joe Norton, the former Grand Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are overseen and licensed by the “independent” Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulatory arm of the Mowhawk Indian tribe in Canada.
from 2+2 said:
SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY AT ULTIMATE BET

By January of 2008, many high stakes no limit hold’em players on UltimateBet had become highly suspicious of the playing styles and win rates of some players on the site.

Investigating the hands that these players played showed that they saw as many flops and turns as possible, they called bluffs with incredibly weak holdings, and they seemingly never lost. These players were employing what should be a losing strategy and they were playing in the highest stakes games on UltimateBet, yet they showed the highest win rates of anybody playing any poker game anywhere in the world (other than the Absolute Poker cheaters).

Their abnormal playing style of seeing many flops and turns along with their regularly calling river bets with extremely marginal holdings at an alarming rate of success, indicated a possibility that these players, like the players in the Absolute Poker scandal, had the ability to see their opponents hidden hole cards.

UltimateBet was informed about this problem within twenty-four hours of the creation of the HSNL thread on January 8th, 2008. The Kahnawake gaming Commission was notified soon thereafter.


Collecting the Evidence
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.

Below is a spreadsheet that lists NioNio's profits from each session that he played on UltimateBet:

Please refer to the 2+2 thread for the spreadsheet

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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.

Ulitmatebuddy.com is a website which provides a search feature for UltimateBet players. When trambopoline searched for NioNio on Ultimatebuddy, he found an odd message stating that NioNio's account no longer existed. This meant that his name was either changed or that it had been closed.

In order for an account on UltimateBet to have a user name changed or for an account to be closed the owner of the account must personally contact the company and the security department process the request. This is the first indication that UltimateBet knew about the cheater several months prior to the January 8th post on 2+2.

As many of you know, when you cash out of an online poker site, the cash out must first be cleared through the site's security department. Major withdrawals from new players are examined with additional scrutiny.

It defies reason to believe that a red flag was not raised when a new player began beating the highest stakes games on UltimateBet at a win rate that was ten standard deviations over his expectation. But even if UltimateBet's security department was so incompetent as to not investigate NioNio's account while the cheating was taking place it is virtually impossible that they did not investigate him when he requested to have name changed and cashed out in September 2007 .

It is simply unfathomable that red flag was not raised when NioNio, the most successful Poker player in the history of the world, a guy for whom logging onto UltimateBet was like going to an ATM machine... and stealing the whole thing, abruptly decided a couple days after the Absolute Poker scandal became public that he wanted to close his account. The only rational conclusion is that UltimateBet had full knowledge of the cheating as it was taking place and deliberately allowed it to continue just like at their sister site Absolute Poker where the founder of the company was cheating and orchestrating cover-up.

After 'trambopoline' and 'dlpnyc21' showed beyond any reasonable doubt in the HSNL thread that NioNio was cheating, many more 2+2’ers began compiling their hand histories and searching through www.myPokerintel.com for suspicious accounts.

If it was happening with one account why couldn’t it be happening on others? Within a matter of days, posters on 2+2 identified a number of accounts as having highly suspicious activity. They all played the same 60/40/aggressive style that was shared by NioNio and the superuser at Absolute Poker and all stopped playing around September 07, 2007 when the Absolute Poker scandal broke. They also all had had success at a profit rate of several degrees better than the win rates showed by the best players in the world.

These suspicious accounts were:
Flatbroke33, iLike2win, monizzzle, nionio, nopaddles, nymobser, nvtease, sleeplesss, stoned2nite, utakeit2, and whackme44.

Prior to January 8th, 2008, the day that the allegations were posted on twoplustwo, eight out of the ten accounts had been closed or had their screen name changed. Upon releasing these names in the HSNL thread, which was obvious was being closely watched by UltimateBet, the last 2 accounts were immediately closed or had their account name changed. This is known because within 24 hours they no longer appeared on ultimatebuddy.com when searched for. Just like with Absolute Poker, UltimateBet's management was covering their tracks.

Nat Arem (N82 50 24 on twoplustwo) was able to give trambopoline some further damning information. From the contacts he had from the AP scandal, he was able to confirm 3 things;
The NioNio account was changed to nymobser.
The Nopaddles account was changed to sleeplesss.
The changes were made on the same day.
The operator of these accounts would play high stakes no limit as NioNio. After they cheated someone out of enough money to inspire suspicion, the operator would then switch to the Nopaddles account. After they had exhausted the entire player pool by cheating everyone with both accounts, they again changed screen names and ran the same scam as nymobser and sleepless.

It should again be pointed out that it is standard procedure for an account asking to change its screen name to be scrutinized by a poker site’s security team. Looking at a single session that NioNio or Nopaddles played would be enough to show an almost imperceptibly small chance that the accounts were not cheating. It is simply beyond the realm of possibility that several insiders did not realize that these accounts were cheating when these accounts were investigated after requesting a name change in the middle of 2007. Instead of stopping the theft UltimateBet allowed them to change screen names and in doing so facilitated the cheating.

If you have a gmail account, you will be able to access this spreadsheet containing the playing statistics from all of the accounts in question. This is an incredibly damning piece of evidence;
Spreadsheet with the playing data from the cheaters at UltimateBet.

The detailed hand logs in that spreadsheet contain of all data from each session played by the cheating accounts. One can see the exact time each account played each session, how much was won and other pertinent info.

Looking at the times that the cheating accounts played one can observe instance after instance where one account would sign in, play a short session against a particular player, then sign onto a new screen name and play another session against the same player, making huge profits on each account. This was done in order to minimize the amount of hands that each account played against each high stakes player in hopes that the lack of data would keep the cheating under the radar. Once the two accounts had played all of the regular high stakes players they would be closed and two more accounts would be opened and the process repeated.

Here is a screen shot with some specific stats from these players:

Please refer to the 2+2 thread for the spreadsheet

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The date next to their name indicates the last date they played on UltimateBet;

Flatbroke33 = 8/11, 65.5 PTbb/100 over 3753 hands- deleted or name changed.
iLike2win = 6/22, 37.34 PTbb/100 over 5545 hands - deleted or name changed.
Nionio = 9/4, 57.3 PTbb/100 over 8100 hands - name changed to nymobser.
Nopaddles = 8/31, 89.6 PTbb/100 over 1508 hands - name changed to sleepless.
Nymobser = 9/26, 46.7 PTbb/100 over 899 hands - now deleted or name changed. This name was still active when it was first mentioned in the HSNL thread, but within 24 hours of it being identified in the thread the account was closed.
Monizzle = 11/20, 38.51PTbb/100 over 2265 hands - deleted or name changed.
Sleeplesss = 9/22, 98.87 PTbb/100 over 1561 hands - now deleted or name changed. This name was still active when it was first mentioned in the HSNL thread, but within 24 hours of it being identified in the thread the account was closed.
stoned2nite = 6/30, 129.2 PTbb/100 over 777 hands - deleted or name changed.
Utakeit2 = 8/29, 45.41 PTbb/100 over 8046 hands - deleted or name changed.
Whackme44 = 8/20, 47.73 PTbb/100 over 946 hands - deleted or name changed.

For the 7 accounts out of 10 that we received detailed records on, their total take was over $1.5 million. It is still unknown how much the other 3 accounts stole.

Other than their one press release stating that a three month extensive investigation revealed that NioNio had "abnormally high winning statistics" (something that was proven three lines into the first post in the HSNL thread) UltimateBet has not made any public comments about these findings. UltimateBet has also largely refused to discuss this scandal with its players other than to say that their investigation is ongoing. UltimateBet has not acknowledged their involvement in the cheating.

To this date the perpetrators of the Absolute Poker scandal have not been charged with any crimes. It is unknown if UltimateBet has filed charges against the people responsible for this multi million dollar theft or crimes related to the cover-up of these crimes.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Out of the hundreds of online poker sites, the only two sites to ever be caught exploiting a superuser account to steal from its customers are both owned by Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG and licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

The players on UltimateBet were victims of a serious crime: grand larceny facilitated by a company that operates virtually outside the law. I hope that the efforts spent investigating and publicizing this story will help the victims of these crimes find restitution. I hope that this story will also highlight the need for independent regulation in the online poker industry...
The athors go on stating that they hope that the thread can be used as a springboard of discussion on how this should never be allowed to happen again, and how can Ultimatebet respond to this and make restitution to the millions of dollars allegedly stolen.

Is this the beginning of the end for the self-regulated poker rooms?

Why is anyone still playing at these poker rooms anyway?? :what:
 

Bullajami

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I started following this about a week ago. Truly horrifying for online poker. My concern now is that these thieves were caught because they were so greedy they won every single pot they could. Who is to say that someone could not still be doing the same thing, but toning it down to only look like a great NL player with a high, but realistic win rate? He could go years without being caught.
 

Mousey

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I started following this about a week ago. Truly horrifying for online poker. My concern now is that these thieves were caught because they were so greedy they won every single pot they could. Who is to say that someone could not still be doing the same thing, but toning it down to only look like a great NL player with a high, but realistic win rate? He could go years without being caught.
Exactly! If these crooks had used half a brain and played smart (keeping their wins within some sort of normal range) they'd still be raking in the dough.

Makes me wonder who hasn't been caught.

And for my short rant of the day -- I'm still pissed off that no formal charges of theft, fraud, whatever have been lodged against the crooks in the original AP mess.
 

lots0

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Why is anyone still playing at these poker rooms anyway??
Because a big part of that money they stole they are using to buy credibility by advertising at EVERY major Poker event and hiring high profile professional poker players to advertise and promote for them.

The professional players like Phil Hellmuth and Anne Duke are really playing with fire here if they don't distance themselves from AP/UB.

Phil H. is well aware of the cheating that has been going on at AP and UB, he has even made some lame promises about what he would do if it were proven that they were cheating... Well after overwhelming proof has been shown, Phil H. has not said a word about it and has ignored all questions put to him about the cheating.

I understand there is a movement to hand out printed copies of the proof of cheating that has been posted in 2+2 forums at the WSOP that starts at the Rio(Vegas) in a few days. The folks doing the handing out, will most likley get escorted out of the casino... But it will make a very public stink...

What I don't get is the land based casinos (HARRAH’S) allowing these cheating M*****F*****s to advertise on their property and sponsor WSOP satellites. If I were in Harrah's public relations/legal department, I would be very concerned about being associated with known and proven cheaters like Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet.
 

Bullajami

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Why is anyone still playing at these poker rooms anyway?? :what:
Because they don't know (they do not keep informed of online poker news) or they don't care (they see that most of the good players who keep up with online poker news have disappeared and it is mostly fish left at UB).
 

BBKPoker

halfway to busto
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The worst sort of scumbags.

They make millions of the rake daily, they aren't happy with that?

I had my suspicious about Ultimate Bet even before I posted the Absolute Poker thread on here, and once again, I'd like to state that the evidence show is irrefutable that the site is rigged.

A win rate of 10 standard deviations over the mean is so improbable it is functionally impossible, and I'm sure Michael Shackleford would agree with that.
 

bb28

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US
Let's get this story out there!

This story really needs to get out and be picked up by major news media. So many people were clueless about the AP scandal and still many that were in the know continue playing.
I tried to submit the article URL from the twoplustwo forum on Digg but it wouldn't allow me to because of previous spamming by I don't know who.
Anyway...... I just submitted the story link here at CM on Digg. Here is the link.
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For those who aren't familiar with Digg please check this link out.
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Digg is very popular, users are the submitters and to keep the story alive it must be dug by users. So please go cast your vote if you feel this is a important matter that needs to get out to the masses. If the article does not receive enough diggs it will be deleted within a few hours.
 

Corey1972

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I just called Ultimate Bet at 1.866.605.0311 and informed them that I just heard about this today and am going to quit playing there and ask all my friends to until UB settles this matter. The customer service rep said he has not heard about this matter. I asked if anybody has called about this matter. He said not to his knowledge. I informed him that it seems the news just broke today or yesterday, and he would soon be receiving hundreds of calls about this matter.

So if everybody calls # this maybe it will get their attention. It costs UB $$$ to run a 1.866 #. Let's all call ( I was friendly ) and let them know what we think!
 

GaryWatson

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Tokwiro Enterprises owned UB when AP got caught, and strangely enough Tokwiro Enterprises still owns UB. If kahnawake were not paid for covering up the investigation, at least they would have exposed a multi million dollar fraud. It seems they tried to cover AP/UB's tracks, but the true investigation is against Tokwiro Enterprises, another whitewash.
 

KellyBlend

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Congratulations - it finally sunk in! However, this thread comes much too late!
In view of the incidents with Absolute and Ultimate Bet I suggest that the Casinomeister accreditation criteria are revised substantially. As long as this does not happen, Casinomeister is also a questionable organisation and for me nothing more than an eyewash. This is also the reason why I have moved back from this forum silently.
 

Casinomeister

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Congratulations - it finally sunk in! However, this thread comes much too late!
In view of the incidents with Absolute and Ultimate Bet I suggest that the Casinomeister accreditation criteria are revised substantially. As long as this does not happen, Casinomeister is also a questionable organisation and for me nothing more than an eyewash. This is also the reason why I have moved back from this forum silently.
What's your trip? UB and Absolute were never listed here as far as I know. :what:

Eyewash? Yeah, gets the red out :thumbsup:
 

same_old

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Well said Corey. Thats about it- the net is a great place to spread the word.
After AP was done it was swept under the carpet pretty quick and the player was none the wiser.
I think we all need to keep this alive and tell EVERYONE you now, the word WILL get around and close these bloody assholes down. I suggest you take your money out of that aplce and any that is remotely conected to the 2 outfits.
 

bryand

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I think the current UB problem was caused by a dirty employee that assisted the players in question and they won't admit it due to bad publicity. It's hard for me to believe that top management and/or ownership would risk it all on a relatively small amount of money.
 

jetset

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Well said Corey. Thats about it- the net is a great place to spread the word.
After AP was done it was swept under the carpet pretty quick and the player was none the wiser.
I think we all need to keep this alive and tell EVERYONE you now, the word WILL get around and close these bloody assholes down. I suggest you take your money out of that aplce and any that is remotely conected to the 2 outfits.
I agree - the more mileage this story is given the less liklihood there will be of unwary players getting dragged into yet another dangerous situation with a Tokwiro operation.

Kudos to Casinomeister for doing his bit in achieving that.
 

jolub

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Michigan, USA
Sadly, I have a few hundred dollars at UB & AP. Most of the money at AP came from my account at Vegas. I've already had hundreds of dollars taken from me my rogue sites and DGS. Maybe it's time to give up on-line gambling. It would seem the real gamble is if I'll get my deposit back.
 

Casinomeister

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I agree - the more mileage this story is given the less liklihood there will be of unwary players getting dragged into yet another dangerous situation with a Tokwiro operation.

Kudos to Casinomeister for doing his bit in achieving that.
The problem is that companies like this have massive marketing agencies that will bring in droves of unwary players. I have found that most players, casino and poker players alike, will never do any bit of investigation. It's like they've never heard of Google :rolleyes: - Sometimes it's their own damn fault.

The AP spectacle was unforgivable. The Kahnawake license should have been yanked with prejudice. I would have like to have seen how another jurisdiction would have dealt with this. (IOM, Gib, Malta). But I think there is a conflict of interest in the land of the Mohawks :p

Speaking of losing credibility, look at Gambling911's take on this last fall stating that AP will become the safest poker room on the net because of this debacle. C'mon - puhleese. As a "news" reporting entity, they were obligated to chastise this poker room and steer the sheep away.

Now look what happened :rolleyes:
 

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