LVA forums are censoring posts critical of Ultimate Bet and Russ Hamilton

Discussion in 'Ultimate Blackjack Tour' started by toonces, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. toonces

    toonces Member

    Yesterday afternoon, I posted for the first time since the email verification system on the Las Vegas Advisor forums were initiated. I noticed that there was no mention on the UBT forums of how Russ Hamilton, founder and owner of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour, has been linked to the Ultimate Bet superuser scandal and was likely responsible for cheating players out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I posted something commenting how there was no statement about the scandal and no discussion of the scandal there despite it being the biggest story on the 2+2 forums and soon to be a 60 Minutes story this fall.

    Within two hours, the entire post was deleted with no explanation and no trace of my original post. I did not recieve any kind of email explaining why my post was inappropriate. I sent Anthony Curtis a PM asking about this yesterday, but have not recieved a response.

    Now, I understand that Anthony Curtis and the LVA are in a tough spot. They clearly have business relationships with Russ Hamilton, the UBT, ClubUBT and UltimateBet. In fact, I initially started with UB as my first online poker site due to its relationship with LVA. I also don't believe that Anthony Curtis is dirty or involved in this. But I think that it is incubent upon him at this point to either disassociate himself with the cheaters or put out a statement on what involvement the LVA chooses to have with these other entities.

    Personally, I love the EBJ format and appreciated the attempt that Russ and UBT made to make BJ into the big deal that poker was. I profited from it as well. But I was somewhat disappointed in how the money seemed focused on the big names and the casual players like me were seen only as a revenue stream. But I was much more disappointed to learn that the advocate for the tournament BJ community had been so clearly cheating the community.

    P.S. I don't want to hear any "innocent until proven guilty" comments. The fact is that there is no enforcement mechanism in the online poker industry and no juristiction to prosecute. The only way that people can be disincented to cheat the players in the current system is when people like those at 2+2 are able to investigate the cheaters and those that are found to cheat are shunned by the rest of the community.

    Edited to point out that this was the statement made on the Ultimate bet scandal in this month's LVA:

    "On the downside, an investigation is ongoing into a hole-card scandal at the poker room Members of management apparently took advantage of software that allowed them to see the cards of opponents while they played in their own games. Ultimate Bet says that the problem has been fixed and restitution is being made."
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  2. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Wow, toonces - I'm sorry that you didn't know that anything regarding UB or UBT is being heavily censored over there. It's been going on for a while now. It would be a virtual certainty that anything related to the activites you mentioned would be taboo.

    Even Barney's post opening the thread about my Winstar victory was censored! :laugh:
  3. toonces

    toonces Member

    Like I said, I hadn't been able to access their boards for several weeks, but when I saw that Joe was the only poster in several weeks, I had a pretty good guess that that was going on.

    Frankly, I'm a bit surprised it isn't a bigger story over here, though. It feels like people are just shrugging their shoulders over this.
  4. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    I suspect we're still nowhere near the truth in this matter. In Russ' defense, I think the "suspicious" transaction history is a complete red herring. It is not surprising that many different people had money transferred to and from Russ and his accounts. To me, the fact that Russ apparently transferred funds to one of the cheating accounts is not in and of itself a problem. It does mean that Russ likely knows who the culprits are, but no more.

    The other Russ connection, where a property he apparently owned was registered as the physical address on one of the cheating accounts is the real meat of the problem. That's going to take some serious explaining if he isn't involved.

    Nonetheless, I'm still firmly in the 'innocent until proven guilty' camp, even if toonces doesn't want to hear from that camp. :D

    One thing is for sure... The forums over at 2+2 are full of wild speculation even if occasionally sprinkled with legitimate information. I read for a while, but there was just too much crazy stuff mixed in there.

    For me, this "ongoing investigation" had better yield tangible and believable results with names and explanations of what went on. And the guilty parties must face justice for their crimes. Anything less will be an even bigger black eye for online gambling.

    As for the apparent censorship over at LVA, I can certainly sympathize with the site moderators over there. I agree that it would serve no useful purpose to have that site become another 2+2 piranha-fest over this issue. Perhaps a locked thread that lays out the credible information that has been unearthed with an explanation of the moderators decision to avoid unbridled speculation there would be appropriate. I haven't been over there in a couple of months so I don't know what goes on, or whether there is a possible issue for them to be concerned about.
  5. Barney Stone

    Barney Stone New Member

    The 2+2 thread fell apart the day Nat Arem (n82) was threatened with him saying "its not worth getting hurt over" He then took his hard investigation underground. If you go to Pocket 5s and listen to the Annie Duke Podcast she says UBT wanted N82 and crew to investigate fully in the open. But the threat stopped the message board "open" investigation of an quality. This scandal has the potential to destroy the reputation of a few we know- here- as well as harming Annie Duke and Phil Helmuth as BIG names. This is an amazing story that we will be hearing much more about soon as UBT will be releasing the names and 60 minutes is rumored to be working on a September segment.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  6. RKuczek

    RKuczek Member


    the 2+2 thread quickly deteriorated into wild paranoia, conspiracy theory, and discussions linking everyone in the world who had ever had any contact with anyone with the cheating.

    however, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that was originally produced. the key word is circumstantial - it is not conclusive. no evidence has been presented that proves Russ Hamilton was directly involved or even knowledgeable about the cheating - just enough circumstantial evidence that it all adds up to being pretty damning - but - no DA could get an indictment with it. Maybe Russ Hamilton is simply a blind, incompentent, gullible, easily fooled, sucker who had not a clue about millions of dollars being scammed from his sites' clients by his own employees and friends - possible

    in Mr. Hamilton's defense, it might be pointed out - that insiders setting up accounts they are going to use for cheating and transfering funds - just might have the ability to set up accounts with false names and addresses - and might even use the names/addresses of people they know or work with/for - you need more than a name/address on an account to establish a real link.

    what needs to be done is to trace the money - where did the money actually wind up - in who's bank account - no one has done that yet - if you can cheat the software, set up multiple fake accounts, you can almost certainly disguise withdrawals and transfers as well.

    my feeling is that the full details will never really come out, and no one will know who all the individuals involved are. it simply is not in the interest of UB/AP/Kanhawake to expose and publicize the full extent of the cheating and insider involvement - and no outside agency can force them to.

    so we will not know all the facts, and, unfortunately, that means that inocent people will forever be suspected of involvement, and guilty persons will never be fully exposed - I guess Russ Hamilton will fall into one of these two categories.

    all this makes a very compelling case for meaningful regulation of online gaming.
  7. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    It is my fervent and sincere hope that neither Russ nor anyone else closely associated with the Ultimate Blackjack Tour have "dirty" hands over this scandal. Yes, that even includes Joep. Deb and I are holding out hope that Russ (etc.) was duped and sucker-punched by the scheming of others. After all, we would not have gotten involved in BJT's at all had it not been for the old website and our resulting successes there. And look what's happened to us since then! We'll always have a soft spot for UBT's founders because of their responsibility for our newfound hobby.

    As far as censorship of the UBT section in the LVA forum, that's been going on long before news of this scandal was broken. For quite some time, anyone posting anything deemed even slightly derogatory towards UBT or their website(s) was viciously attacked in the forum, but that tactic vanished suddenly a few months back. Now such posts are either edited/censored or completely removed. A puzzling development, indeed. :confused:
  8. sirklas

    sirklas Member


    It all smells very dirty and I hope that this story won`t end with a too bad damage for EBJ, Poker and the whole online gambling industry. Time will show us, who is guilty and who is not. If there will be guilty persons, one of the most damages to them will be, that the will lose their reputation and will be dead in the gambling comunity!!!

  9. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Censorship is alive and well

    On another thread in News and Announcements in this forum Deb posted this:

    She also posted the exact same message "over there" yesterday.
    It was completely censored - meaning it was removed - last night. Test complete. :cool:
  10. The Connection between Russ Hamilton and Anthony Curtis

    Russ Hamilton and Anthony Curtis were both members of Stanford Wong's blackjack tournament team. They thus have a relationship that goes back quite a few years. It is perfectly understandable that Curtis wouldn't want to see his former teammate crucified in the Las Vegas Advisor forums.
  11. Jeff Dubya

    Jeff Dubya New Member

    I have no horse in this race, but I am going to say something I know will be immediately unpopular. However, I am fairly certain Ken (as owner of this forum and BJI) will agree with.

    You all need to clearly understand that the LVA board is not obligated to host speech it deems offensive or detrimental to their business interests. It is a privately owned internet forum and as such, there is absolutely no first amendment right that is applicable. Period, end of story.

    So, if you want to post something about this situation, regardless of how correct or fair it might be, you're going to be wasting your time posting it there. Probably making that post at a non-affiliated site like this one is a better idea? Of course, if you post something provocative and slanderous (not implying anyone did that) you can expect Ken to probably yank that too because it puts him and his business in legal jeopardy.

    I ran several successful web forums for many years and got out of it in 2007 because of these exact same issues.

    I can understand why you would be disappointed in LVA, but it's business... why would they ultimately pay to promote their own bad publicity? Of course, the answer is they wouldn't. (And didn't.)
  12. Russ and AC on Wong's team

    Kelly, I do not think Russ was on Wong's tournament team, but you are correct that Curtis and Russ have a long relationship as they were in the same group that first did tournament BJ, then sports betting.

    I personally have a lot of respect for Anthony and I think LVA is just waiting until all the issues get resolved in regards to the cheating that surfaced at UB.

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