Saturday, March 13, 2010

Poker News Daily Update on Pitbull Poker Superuser Online Poker Scam has just released this comprehensive article on the Pitbull Poker superuser scam, a smaller version of the giant UltimateBet scam where crooked insiders manipulated the software to see opponents' hole cards.


Almost nine months have gone by since the Pitbull Poker scandal was blown wide open and to date, justice has yet to be served. The small poker site, formerly part of the Flash Poker Network, was first put under investigation by members of the TwoPlusTwo community. Many of these members suspected the site had players that had access to see hole cards at a table, also known as superusers. During the scandal, the two owners of the site closed up shop in the middle of the night, sticking players with bankrolls at Pitbull Poker.

Poker News Daily caught up with former room manager Dave Brenes, who stated that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and has not heard from either of the owners. As of now, there have been no updates and no resolutions in the matter, leading many to believe that nothing will ever be resolved in the case.

Representatives for Poker News Daily were able to reach the embattled former poker room manager for Pitbull Poker on Thursday. Brenes told PND that he has moved on from Pitbull Poker and is holding down a temporary job while looking for something long-term. To his knowledge, no employees or customers have recovered any funds since the owners closed the company doors and disappeared. Message boards for casino and poker site affiliates confirm that players owed funds through business dealings with the company have yet to be compensated.

Brenes concluded the conversation by stating that he has not heard anything from either of the owners, Kevin Baronowski and another identified in an earlier article as “Justin.” He claims that he is just as much of a victim as anyone else and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. His tone was much more upbeat and hopeful now that, in his mind, the controversy is behind him.

The controversy first started back in July 2009, when “chesterboy” from the TwoPlusTwo forums posted that he suspected that there were superusers on Pitbull Poker. Most posts like these are ignored for the most part by the community, but this player was actually a prop player and a respected longtime member of the community. Others stepped forward once he broke his silence and the site was suddenly placed under the microscope of intense scrutiny. While representatives for Pitbull Poker said there were no shady dealings at the site and that they were working to produce hand history files to back up their claims, players demanded their funds en masse.

Pitbull Poker closed its doors in the middle of the night without informing the company's employees. On-site staff called police, who did not stop owners from disconnecting and removing computer equipment. The next day, the poker room was down and all players with account balances were suddenly left in the dark. Scores of players called for justice, with some losing hundreds and others losing tens of thousands of dollars.

Players on the site weren’t the only big losers thanks to the shocking actions of the site's owners. Affiliates stepped up to say that they hadn’t been paid either, with one, “JC Hawk," leading the charge, claiming he was owed well over $100,000 from his poker site on top of cash investments he made into the site directly. Hawk gathered as many individuals as he could to join his cause and worked with the Costa Rican government to help bring the owners of Pitbull Poker to justice.

Some players, including “chesterboy”, decided that they could no longer be part of the world of online poker. In an announcement on the forums, he stated that he would be leaving poker for good and joining the United States Army. In December, JC Hawk continued to state that he was pursuing legal matters against Baronowski. It was Hawk’s guess that Baronowski had fled Costa Rica and was in hiding in his native homeland of Canada.

Since the turn of the new year, there have been few new developments in the case and at this point, the prospects of affiliates and players recouping any owed funds seems to be low. Many in the industry have claimed that this story is a perfect example of why regulation and legalization of online poker is vital to protect consumers from this type of apparent fraud.