The investigation into the Ultimate Bet cheating scandal has named Russ Hamilton, winner of the 1994 World Series of Poker Main Event, as one of the people behind the scam that involved superuser accounts with the ability to see other playersâ€™ hole cards.
This is a similar cheating scandal to the one seen at Absolute Poker when a superuser named Potripper was detected winning a big tournament through suspicious means. You can read more about this incident at
The cheating came to light when several players expressed concern over the questionable actions of some accounts. The players started charting the suspicious accounts in an attempt to uncover a track record of questionable decisions that benefited the suspicious accounts. In light of these activities the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which licenses many of the online poker sites, launched a full-scale investigation. The KGC hired a gaming consulting firm run by Frank Catania Sr., a former New Jersey Assistant Attorney General.
According to the IGamingNews report, which takes its information from the KGCâ€™s preliminary report, Russ Hamilton was behind the superuser scandal as he gained access through his work with the Ultimate Bet affiliate program team. The scam is estimated to have been running for three and a half years, costing Ultimate Bet players $6.1 million.
No other names have been revealed yet, but the KGC is already taking action based on the preliminary report. The full report on the incident is expected to be ready by November, and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has said that they will be working with law enforcement agencies in order to bring the cheaters to justice.
The KGC has imposed a fine of $1.5 million on Ultimate Bet and has put forth a number of actions that Ultimate Bet must take before this cheating episode is concluded.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission issued the following press release pertaining to the cheating scandal and the actions Ultimate Bet must take.
(MOHAWK TERRITORY OF KAHNAWAKE â€“ September 29, 2008) Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission (“KGC”) Chairman Dean Montour today announced the initial findings of the audit conducted on licensee Ultimate Bet, as well as the sanctions to be imposed.
According to KGC Chairman Montour, the Commission has reviewed the information provided to it over the past months from Frank Catania of Catania Gaming Consultants of New Jersey; Gaming Associates, an Australian game testing company; and the permit holder. Chairman Montour said, â€œThe Commissioners have made several findings of fact with regard to the cheating that occurred on the Ultimate Bet web site that included the identification of some of the individuals responsible for these incidents as well other significant violations of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations.â€
The Commission found clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusion that between the approximate dates of May 2004 to January 2008, Russell Hamilton, an individual associated with Ultimate Betâ€™s affiliate program, was the main person responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents. Furthermore, the KGC is currently in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agencies and intends to fully cooperate in the prosecution of all individuals involved in the UB cheating incidents.
Mr. Catania states, â€œMy intention is to provide further information as it is uncovered, although the information already submitted to the KGC relating to Ultimate Bet warrants the KGC taking the actions it has today. Any further evidence uncovered with regard to cheating, withholding or destroying records in our continuing investigation will be reported to the KGC and the proper agency for appropriate action.â€
As a result of the KGCâ€™s findings of fact, the Commission called a special meeting, at which time it was unanimously decided to impose the following sanctions against Ultimate Bet:
1. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it shall, under the close supervision of the KGC, its employees and agents, commence refunding all players accounts found to have been adversely affected by the cheating of individuals under the control and supervision of the licensee. It is estimated that Ultimate Bet has to date reimbursed $6.1 million USD to playersâ€™ accounts found to have been adversely impacted by the cheating activity
2. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it is to remove any and all persons deemed as “unsuitable” by the KGC from all involvement with the company, which shall include all levels of ownership, management and operation. Ultimate Bet during that time period until November 3, 2008 is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company. These shall include financial as well as daily gaming records to Frank Catania and or his assigns. It is anticipated that this action will provide full disclosure and prevent any further improprieties or wrongdoing from occurring while ensuring that the public is being offered fair and honest games and all player monies will be protected.
3. Ultimate Betâ€™s control system as defined in section 9 of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations has been modified to prevent any further incidents of cheating or related improprieties.
4. Ultimate Bet will not delete or modify any logs including but not limited to web logs and game logs as required by the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations and will continue to have those logs immediately available for inspection by the KGC or its agents.
5. Ultimate Bet shall immediately pay a fine of $1.5 Million USD to the KGC for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities.
6. Ultimate Betâ€™s failure to comply fully with these measures will result in the immediate revocation of its KGC gaming permit.