Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Phil Hellmuth Implicated in NEW UltimateBet Online Poker Scandal!

In the aftermath of their sisterly online insider poker scams, Absolute Poker and UltimateBet formed the Cereus Poker Network, and were at great pains, along with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to assure players all had been fixed as far as cheating is concerned.

Along With Absolute Poker, UltimateBet is one of the two online poker rooms brought to mainstream attention by "60 Minutes" coverage of their cheating scandals. You would think that we wouldn't hear about any new cheating incidents on either site for a while...But new allegations have surfaced!

A hand played online this weekend resulted in the losing player being awarded the pot. When the mistake was pointed out on the Ultimate Bet forum, the moderator declared it a "software glitch" and said he'd look into it. However, circumstances make the incident seem more ominous.

Reprints of the hand played reveal the losing player who took the pot to be none other than Phil Hellmuth, poker legend and Ultimate Bet spokesman. Further, the hand was played in a most unusual fashion. Hellmuth's opponent, Doubleballer, had the king of diamonds and queen of hearts in his hand. The flop came out king-king-jack, rainbow.

Doubleballer raised before the turn and the river, and Hellmuth called, seeing a two and a nine, with no flush possibilities. Doubleballer bet his three kings at the showdown, Hellmuth called, and then mucked. But Hellmuth was paid rather than Doubleballer.

On a hand in which Doubleballer clearly had three kings, it would seem Hellmuth would either fold, or raise. Raising could be a bluff, or indicate a full house of another set of kings with a higher kicker possible. But to call, when the hand was apparent, with losing cards, seems strange.

Once the story reached the poker forums, other incidents at Ultimate Bet came to light. One player told how he was nearing the end of a tournament, when the program thanked him for finishing in sixteenth place, even though two cards had yet to be dealt. Another mentioned meeting a small blind of $100, then folding, only to find $700 in chips deducted.

UltimateBet guaranteed a long and exhaustive audit of all software after the cheating last year. But it appears there are quirks, and worse, still happening in the system. Until the Kahnawake and Cereus respond more transparently and forcefully, Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, and online casinos will gladly accept the customers fleeing these Internet gambling sites.

What will happen next???