Saturday, January 30, 2010

UB.com Trying Anything and Everything To Get Giant Online Poker Cheat Scandal Out of Players' Minds!

Ever since respected and notable poker pro Joe Sebok signed on as UB.com (formerly UltimateBet.com) public relations specialist, the online poker cheat tainted room has been beefing up its public relations drives to get the public on board its new ship and to distance it from the old one it hopes has sunk underwater, the UltimateBet cheat ship with Russ Hamilton in the wheelhouse. UB.com is now sponsoring special freerolls with prizes such as getting to skydive with Sebok himself and other outdoor fresh-air events, (kind of gets the stink out of the cheating scam!) In an interview with Pokernewsdaily.com, Sebok responded to the question: "Tell us about how the process of distributing hand histories relating to the Russ Hamilton-led cheating scandal is going," with:

"It’s going well. In my recent blog, I asked people to get in touch with me with any issues. I probably had around 15 to 20 people do so. The bigger hand history orders, which mainly belong pros, are still being compiled. The main thing for people to understand is that UB had to pick a formula. It was all of the money you won versus cheating accounts minus money lost versus cheating accounts and if it was negative, we gave it back. Some people are angry with that formula and some are grateful. You have to pick a way to go and be consistent. Some will be stoked to get a refund and some won’t be.

The main thing I try to get people to understand is that everyone thinks I’m lying to them or won’t help. It’s just not true. Ever since I signed, I’ve spent a ton of time on this. People need to understand that I’m on their side. I’m trying to make things better and make sure we get this information out."

It all sounds good to me...unless the chute doesn't open!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alleged Poker Cheat Killed Over Cheating Scam that Netted 50 Cents!


Source Jerry Lawton dailystar.co.uk

A MAN was killed in a cheating row over a pub poker game with just 30p at stake. The card game turned nasty when Lee Baranyai, 20, accused Geoff Hunt, 50, of not playing by the rules. He threw a pack of cards at his chest then stormed out, Sheffield Crown Court heard. Prosecutor William Lowe said when Mr Hunt later left, Baranyai sprang out from behind a fence and hit him so hard he fell backwards unconscious. Baranyai rifled through his pockets, taking his keys and cash. As he ran away laughing, Mr Hunt, of Barnsley, South Yorks, crawled 25 yards to his front door where he died. His body was not found for three days.

When a friend of Baranyai’s heard about the killing he asked why he had done it. He received a text from the defendant saying he did not know because he was drunk. Baranyai, of Barnsley, was jailed for six years and nine months after pleading guilty to manslaughter. Adrian Waterman, defending, said his client was immature (I'll say!)and “indulged in robbery’’ but he did not intend to kill.

Singapore Casinos Set up "Elite" Casino Police Force to Deter Cheating in their New Casinos. Is It Really Elite?

Highly doubtful. After reading this "Asian One" news article by Rach Chan, I don't think skilled casino-cheat teams are going to have much of a problem or worry getting off in Singapore's two new giant multi-billion-dollar casinos, one of which, Resorts World, opened yesterday. I think casino cheating records are likely to be set in 2010, as Resorts World and the Sands, the second casino giant, combine for the biggest single-year dual-casino opening in history. These casinos will be blitzed not only by the best professional cheat teams but also by the run of the mill teams and, of course, the card counters and advantage players. This first frontal attack will last the entire year. To date I have not received any calls from either casino to train their staffs...I wonder why?

Article:

"Watch out, crooks, the casino police are eyeing you. With the opening of two integrated resorts (IRs) this year, an elite police department has been set up to deal with casino-related crimes. Some 20 to 30 experienced officers were specially picked to familiarise themselves with casino games, and learn to detect fraud and scams - with the help of overseas experts - for their roles in the Casino Crime Investigation Branch (CCIB).
The plain-clothes officers will be stationed within a satellite office in each IR. The office is shared with the Casino Regulatory Authority. While they do not patrol the premises, CCIB's location enables them to respond swiftly, should they need to investigate casino crimes.

CCIB comes under the umbrella of the Specialised Crime Division of the Criminal Investigation Department, and has the power to prosecute offenders under the Casino Control Act. "Left to themselves, casinos naturally invite vice, loan sharking, drug dealing, money laundering, theft, fraud (and) cheating, and are bright shiny targets for organised crime," said Acting Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee in his opening address at CCIB's launch at the Police Cantonment Complex yesterday.

The Singapore Police Force has spent the past five years "quietly - but methodically - learning, planning and preparing", and has adopted the best practices from international jurisdictions, he added. CCIB head Michael Ang, 40, explained the need for such a task force: Police officers need specialised skills to nab offenders in this arena. "How many people in Singapore understand what gaming is all about? If you ask a general investigator to do it, I think there'll be a problem," he told reporters.

CCIB officers mostly have three years of investigation experience before joining the branch, and already have dealt with secret societies or gaming offenders in their line of work in CID. Superintendent Ang said: "We don't expect syndicated crime at this point of time." Operational since last July, CCIB has been training its officers and formulating protocol for casino-crime probes.

A gaming-simulation room, with fruit machines and tables for baccarat and roulette, has been set up. The CCIB is also buying two casino gambling tables, one for blackjack and the other for roulette. It will also leverage on databases and other electronic systems to facilitate the management of information pertaining to "persons of interest".

When contacted, a Resorts World Sentosa spokesman said: "We work closely with the CRA in the regulation of gaming activities on the floor and look forward to working with CCIB on our premises."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do You Have Any Recourse If You're An Online Poker Cheat Victim?...Don't Ask Isildur1


Source: Daisy Yu E-Commerce Times

Anonymous poker star Isildur1 lost $4M to a competitor who later admitted that he cheated. Does Isildur1 have any recourse? Online contracts for gaming sites are of limited use when it comes to users seeking to enforce their rights. However, EULAs are a good starting point, in that they can provide a legal springboard.

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The online poker scene was set on its ear with the arrival of the Swedish phenom known only by his Tolkien-esque moniker of "Isildur1." Isildur1 burst onto the scene in September 2009 and soon began to frequent the nosebleed seats of US$1000/$2000 Pot Limit Omaha reserved for the true high stakes gamer. In terms of high stakes action, according to Pokertableratings.com, within four months of playing at the second largest online poker site Full Tilt Poker, Isildur1 had been involved with the 12 largest pots ever played online, the largest being a staggering $1.3M pot. At his peak, Isildur1 amassed over $5M in winnings within two months of playing at Full Tilt.

Reminiscent of the late chess great Bobby Fischer, Isildur1 would accept all challenges and was frequently seen playing the world's top online pros including Tom "Durrrr" Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey, in heads up action all at the same time. Despite these unparalleled skills and an innate ability to know what his opponents were holding, Isildur1 has the infamy of being on the wrong side of a marathon session wherein he lost over $4M to poker pro Brian Hastings in December of 2009.

Controversy ensued when Hastings later revealed to ESPN that he beat Isildur1 by using a report prepared from a database of hand histories incorporating hands played by himself and fellow poker players Brian Townsend and Cole South. It should be noted that compiling a database of hand histories is considered cheating, and the collection of such information is a violation of Full Tilt Poker's End User License Agreement (EULA).

End User License Agreement:

Under Full Tilt Poker's EULA, a player is prohibited from using "external player assistance programs (EPA Programs) which are designed to provide an unfair advantage to player." EPA Programs include non-software-based databases such as a database of hand histories.

Upon Hastings' admission that he had the assistance of a hand histories database to beat Isildur1, Full Tilt Poker took action. For his role in compiling the database of hand histories, Townsend's "Red Pro" status was suspended for 30 days. Brian Hastings, however, was not penalized, even though he used the database in his win against Isildur1.

It can be argued that the actions taken by Full Tilt Poker are not severe enough to detract future cheaters. But does Isildur1 have any alternative legal recourse to recover the money lost?

Breach of Contract:

Isildur1 stated that he would be making a formal complaint to Full Tilt Poker. If Isildur1 should remain unsatisfied after making the formal complaint, and want to pursue this matter further, then the most likely argument he could make would be breach of contract; specifically, that Full Tilt Poker breached its EULA.

However, it is unlikely that any EULA or Terms of Use of an online gambling site would prevent all fraud. A closer examination of Full Tilt Poker's EULA confirms this, as the EULA states that upon knowledge that an online player has engaged in fraudulent behavior, including the use of EPA Programs, Full Tilt Poker is entitled to take any action it sees fit. Thus, Full Tilt Poker can argue that it satisfied its obligations by suspending Townsend's Red Pro status for 30 days. Under the language of the EULA, it can be argued that Full Tilt Poker is not required to take any action at all.

It can also be argued that the breach of contract argument would be unsuccessful, as it was not Full Tilt Poker that breached the EULA, but Brian Hastings and Brian Townsend. However, lacking a privity of contract between them and Isildur1, Isildur1 would have no recourse against them under the breach of contract argument.

Recovery Under Tort Law:

Assuming no restitution claim in addition to a breach-of-contract argument, from the common law perspective, Isildur1 may have an argument for recovery of money under tort law. Isildur1 could perhaps make a claim for the "waiver of tort." This is a term most commonly used in situations in which a defendant has been unjustly enriched as a result of committing a wrong against the plaintiff, and the plaintiff seeks a disgorgement of the profits as a result.

In Isildur1's case, Brian Hastings admitted that he cheated and was unjustly enriched as a result. However, there may be some jurisdictional issues that could prevent Isildur1 from bringing forth a claim.

Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet:

What happened to Isildur1 does not represent the first time -- and it won't be the last -- that cheating has occurred on online poker sites. On or around November of 2008, online poker players playing on Absolute Poker and its affiliated site, Ultimate Bet, were cheated out of more than $20 million. It was later discovered that a former employee had cracked the software code so that he, along with his partners, was able to see all of the cards in the game as they were being played. As in the case involving Isildur1, the online poker sites in this situation did not take strong steps to punish the cheaters. Absolute Poker instead struck a deal: In exchange for protecting the cheater's identity, Absolute Poker received a full confession as to how he did it.

To further rub salt in the wounds of poker players, there were jurisdictional issues that left them with few options for making further complaints. The computer servers for the poker games were located in Costa Rica, and online gambling in the U.S. (where the poker players resided, in this instance) is illegal. Thus, even if those poker players were able to put forth a strong breach-of-contract argument, or to recover money under tort law, there would be no forum where these players could make such arguments.

Game Over?

Even if options are available to Isildur1 to recoup his losses, it is unlikely that he will pursue them. He has yet to reveal his true identity, and it is unlikely that he will do so. Isildur1 hails from Sweden, where the tax laws are particularly onerous with respect to online gaming. It is likely that he already owes much more in taxes than he ever was up in winnings. Thus, Isildur1, along with many other poker players and online gamblers from Sweden, will most likely choose to remain anonymous in the hope of avoiding paying taxes on his winnings.

However, all is not lost for Isildur1. Due to his instant fame, he has been given opportunities to further his poker playing career. Other poker sites are interested in having Isildur1 play on their sites. Specifically, Real Deal Poker is offering him a dedicated set of high-stakes tables where he can personally invite others to play with him.

Details are unavailable, but there is no question that Isildur1's gaming in the fall of 2009 increased online attendance for Full Tilt and kept the poker forums abuzz. With the cut-throat competition of online poker, other sites may soon follow Red Deal Poker's lead, and additional offers may follow.


As for Isildur1, while his bankroll is reported to be in the red, he vows that it has not been decimated and that he is preparing for a return. There is no question that thousands upon thousands of "railbirds" (people who watch the high stakes poker play) are awaiting his next move.

Is Spanish 21 Beatable Through Card Counting?


Some blackjack experts have sworn that card counting Spanish 21 offers only a negligible advantage and thus is not worth the time and effort. Others have taken the completely contrary view that not only is it beatable but it offers more percentage profits than card counting any regular standard blackjack game. I have thoroughly looked into this issue and my conclusion is that Spanish 21 can be beaten through counting cards, although it is not as profitable as card counting optimum blackjack games.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! Because most casinos are still in the dark about successful card counting Spanish 21, you can probably play a lot longer avoiding the heat. I imagine that in a while casinos will start getting hip to counting Spanish 21 cards, but now is the time to jump on the gravy train.

A few Spanish 21 Card Counting Pointers: (from Bill Zender's Casino-ology

The basic strategy is different because there are a number of play options that are not available in standard 21.

The rules of Spanish 21 allows for redoubling, draws to split Aces, and doubling on any number of cards.

The removal of the four 10’s per deck requires a different conversion system from running count to true count. Since there are 48 cards per deck instead of the standard 52, true count conversion changes from dividing by a whole deck to dividing by fraction of the decks.

Using a Hi-Low count system, the run count starts off from the top of a six deck shoe at -24 (four 10’s X 6 decks). If you were to count down the entire six decks (288 cards) you would end with an “even” count.

Using the Hi-Low count, the true count pivot point (when the player gains the advantage over the house) is -2. In the regular game of blackjack the pivot point is +1.

The higher percentages of Aces in the shoe (4 in 48) partially offset the effect from the reduced number 10’s.

Because of the reduced number of 10’s in the shoe, Insurance is never profitable. The index number for Insurance is +7 TC, which Walker explains, may never occur in a life time of playing Spanish 21.

The game requires only a limited number of play indices to gain a maximum advantage.

Similar to the use of Schlesinger’s “The Illustrious 18”, there are only nineteen important indices to remember and use (twenty if you include Insurance).