Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sebok's Ultimate Promise To Square UltimateBet Online Poker Cheating Scandal Having Trouble To Keep

Respected Poker Pro Joe Sebok has been media and operations consultant for UltimateBet for a month now and his main function is to repair the damage to UB's image from the huge online poker scandal allegedly engineered by former WSOP Main-Event Champ Russ Hamilton. In short, he's there to restore the online poker playing public's trust in cheat-plagued UltimateBet.

The following text was written by Jennifer Newell of Poker Player Newspaper:

In his inaugural blog post on the subject, Sebok wrote, “The first order of business with my position at UB has been to help aid in the release of not only ALL of the hand histories from the super-user scandal, but also the accounts that were used to perpetuate the scandal itself, and the actual physical names of those individuals who we believe to have been directly involved in disparate ways with the actual cheating.” And two days later, he posted instructions for those seeking said hand histories from the time period in question.

The first of the two-part process was to send an e-mail request to with name, address, and user name. Players can expect to receive a summary spreadsheet with the information of every hand played against each of the 117 cheating account names. Detailed hand histories would require a longer time to process, and Sebok asked for tolerance of the time it would take for the security team to compile and send the requested documents.

Two weeks later, Sebok noted that the process was tweaked a bit, and players with requests in to UB would receive a summary sheet as well as a data sheet showing wins and losses versus each cheating account. Those who wanted more detailed hand histories could then submit the second request, which will prompt the customer service team to organize and send them via e-mail.

According to several poker bloggers, requests are far from being as simple as Sebok hoped. Short-Stacked Shamus (HardBoiledPoker. requested some hand histories on September 25, and was initially told that the request was forward to upper management for review. On October 1, he was told that he was not affected by the cheating incident but the staff would work on retrieving the data ASAP. On October 24, after no further e-mails from UB, Shamus sent another e-mail to the poker security manager address, but it was returned as undeliverable as the e-mail address no longer existed.

Dan Michalski of also contacted UB for detailed hand histories, though he had already been reimbursed money that UB determined was lost as a result of the scandal. However, Dan’s latest request was met by a response that he should simply go through his hand history files on the UB website himself. When he responded that he was seeking the histories that Sebok promised, Dan was told that the user name he provided didn’t exist and no money was ever refunded to him, though he has documentation to prove otherwise.

These are not exactly the responses that Sebok was likely hoping to see from his partners at UltimateBet. However, it should be noted that KGC and UB took many months to review hand histories internally and refund $22,054,351.91 to players found to have been cheated from the time period starting June 2003 and ending December 2007. Many players who are currently in the process of receiving hand histories are likely not blogging about the positive results, but that does not negate the fact that two members of the poker media attempted to follow Sebok’s instructions and ended their quest with no results.