Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #31
The owner of Ultimatebet, Tokwiro Enterprises - owned by Joe Norton, has announced that it has concluded its investigation into what it refers to as “allegations of unfair play” on the site. Confirmation of outright thievery would be a more accurate description but Ub management is desperate to put a positive spin on things, despite their claims that all this unpleasantness actually has nothing to do with them. All responsibility lies with the former management when malicious software was installed to facilitate this cheating, or at least that is the line being fed out at the moment. “Make no mistake: our management team is outraged that this cheating occurred on our site through illicit software placed on the UB servers prior to our purchasing UltimateBet” was the indignant response from Tokwiro’s chief operating officer Paul Leggett.
However, many believe that the new Ub management is not so very different from the old Ub management despite what they say. That mistrust will not have changed one bit following some of the revelations from the latest release which states that a total of 88 usernames have been implicated in the cheating, belonging to 19 accounts. That is, 19 accounts took on a series of different screen names in a bid to avoid detection. Although plenty of previously unsuspected usernames have been revealed, the latest announcement specifically states “the same perpetrators that were previously identified controlled all of these usernames. There are no new perpetrators involved, only new usernames.” At face value it appears that the investigators have done a thorough job of hunting down any username that might have been involved, but an invaluable piece of information from a Ub insider exposes this as a sham.
The whistleblower that came forward with information about inter-account transfers a few weeks ago also posted screen shots of Ub’s administration software showing what a player’s profile looked like to the Ub operator. Alongside contact details etc there is a section which clearly states whether a player has previously changed their screen name at any time. It is inconceivable that during all the months Ub said it was investigating this, nobody noticed the various usernames associated with the 19 core accounts listed quite clearly on a screen in front of them. It appears that new Ub management has been trying to cover up the extent of the cheating, and that it was only due to the fact that numerous other usernames were gradually been picked up on anyway that it decided to list all 88 that it had actually known all along.
Tokwiro Enterprises has said that it will be turning all evidence over to its governing body, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The company is named after Joe Tokwiro Norton, who is the former grand chief of the Kahnawake tribe. Now it’s not for this column to suggest that there is any untoward connection between the two previous statements, but if you the reader were to conclude that this represents a conflict of interest it might help explain in your own mind why the governing body seems to have acted so leniently towards Ub/Tokwiro Enterprises. It might also explain why the other poker site owned by Tokwiro (Absolute Poker) also seemed to get off so lightly when there was cheating on that site. And whilst we’re on the subject, it would be interesting to know what use was found for the half a million dollars that the KGC took off Absolute Poker as a fine.
Perhaps in a bid to distance themselves from names associated with cheating, Ultimatebet and Absolute Poker will now merge into one platform in August. The combined pool of players will be known as Cereus and will form the third largest online network (if anyone still wants to play there that is.)
Many want government agencies such as the FBI to become involved in this matter, but at the moment it seems the feds have their hands full going after Bodog. The government has seized $24 million from bank accounts suspected of being used by Bodog, and there is speculation that founder Calvin Ayre could face criminal action. Ayre is actually sunning himself on the beaches of the Caribbean these days having retired this April at the age of 47, but his pina colada might not taste so sweet this morning knowing that the venture which led to him becoming a billionaire could cost him his freedom.
It may be the fact that Bodog has been running a sportsbook alongside its poker operation that has led to this action, but even if it is the sports betting that has prompted this it still doesn’t bode well for Pokerstars and Full Tilt. Having already gone after Neteller and ePassporte, the squeeze is now being put on other financial institutions that process payments for online gambling.
Bodog however is still putting a brave face on, insisting that its customers’ deposits are safe and that players will always receive their withdrawal requests. Time will tell if they can survive or if America has taken a step closer to shutting down online gambling altogether.
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