Originally Posted by WVHillbilly
[ ] shocked
[x] awaits zingbust's evidence that the site cheated
I don't have the evidence. The thorough folks at 2 + 2 provided that and here's a copy of it...
May 18, 2008
AN OPENING THOUGHT
This following is a summary of this thread which originally appeared in the High Stakes No Limit forum on twoplustwo.com (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247) (to be referred to from here on as 2+2) where the story of corruption at Ultimate Bet originally broke. Ultimate Bet, an online poker room founded in 2001 and one of the largest in the online poker industry, has been given ample opportunity to refute any of the statements in that thread, but have chosen not to do so as of this writing. Every claim made in the summary that follows in this thread is backed up by insurmountable evidence, which can be provided by request. Some of that evidence is included in this thread and there are links to many of the source in this thread. If Ultimate Bet or Absolute Poker feels inclined to refute anything that is said in this summary, they’re urged to do so.
I believe that it is important for online poker players to know about the unethical business practices of Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. It is also imperative to understand that these unscrupulous activities are not an indictment on the entire online poker industry. As you read this thread please keep in mind that Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker are owned by the same company. They are also regulated by the same puppet regulatory commission. Most poker sites are run with the utmost integrity and security. Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker are the exception and not the rule.
I urge the concerned reader to pass word of this summary on to other interested parties. The spread of this information will ultimately protect poker players from unknowingly exposing themselves to the corruption detailed below. If any reader is unfamiliar with any poker or technical terminology contained within, please let me know and an explanation will be provided.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to every one who investigated this scandal and who have worked tirelessly to uncover the truth and demand restitution for the affected parties. I did not participate in any part of the investigation myself, all I did was summarize the hard work of posters such as 'trambopoline,' 'dlpnyc21,' Nat Arem, and 'Josem.' Thank you also to poker columnist Gary Wise who took the time to fact check and edit this post.
Last, I want to make it clear that neither Two Plus Two Publishing nor any of its associative media is in any way responsible for these investigations, nor the accusations made based on their results. We thank Two Plus Two for providing an open forum in which those who have been investigating Ultimate Bet’s actions could gather and exchange information.
It has been one hundred fifty days since allegations about suspicious activity in the high stakes no limit games on Ultimate Bet were first made public in this thread in the High Stakes No Limit forum (referred to as ‘HSNL’ from this point) on twoplustwo.com (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247).
Several million dollars were stolen and the evidence in the HSNL thread indicates very strongly that:
- Ultimate Bet has known about the cheating for at least nine months.
- Ultimate Bet knew about but did not make any attempt to acknowledge the cheating before it was exposed on 2+2.
- People who worked for Ultimate Bet facilitated the cheating.
- Ultimate Bet actively took steps to cover up these crimes and thwart the investigation of this scandal.
The first post in HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247) provided irrefutable evidence, including a graphic (below) proving that that the player NioNio's winning statistics were abnormal.
- Ultimate Bet did not make any public statements or acknowledge that cheating had occurred until March 6th, 2008 (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=149078), three full months after the crimes became public.
- Ultimate Bet has not reached out to any of the players who were stolen from (many of whom still don't know that they were cheated). When players read the HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247), discover that they have been cheated and attempt to contact Ultimate Bet, they’re forced to wait several days for an email response, only to be told that Ultimate Bet is 'looking into the allegations.'
- Ultimate Bet has not offered to reimburse any of the victims of the theft.
Note: this image was posted 3 lines into the first post alleging misconduct at Ultimate Bet
Over the 2,984 hands examined in the first post, NioNio won $293,677.16; a rate of approximately 155 big blinds per 100 hands played (bb/100).
Less than twenty-four hours after the initial allegations were posted on 2+2, on the 68th post in the HSNL thread, 2+2’er 'Josem' created the following scatter plot;
The yellow data point in the upper-right corner is the accused NioNio account
Some facts about the scatter plot image that was posted on January 9th:
Assuming a normal distribution of win rates, the chance that NioNio's results could be explained by variance is 1:131,236,127,000,000,000,000,000.
- There are 870 “normal” accounts from a variety of sites and limits.
- Each of those other accounts has at least 2,500 hands logged on them.
- The graph expresses big blinds won/100 hands. BB/100 represents the total winnings, expressed in number of big blinds at the stakes being played, that each player won per one-hundred hands that they played.
- The mean BB/100 win rate in the sample is 1.528 BB/100.
- The standard deviation is 14.08 BB/100.
- NioNio is winning at approximately 10 standard deviations above the mean.
Expressed another way, 1:131,236,127,000,000,000,000,000 is about the same as winning the powerball jackpot three days in a row.
This information was all posted and explained within 24 hours of the first post about this scandal on 2+2.
On March 6th, 2008 in a long-anticipated press release , Ultimate Bet concluded that after “extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert… NioNio account’s winning statistics were indeed abnormal” but did not reveal whether they’d found an unfair advantage existed. This press release is the only time that Ultimate Bet has publicly addressed this issue.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Bet
Montreal, Canada (March 6, 2008) – UltimateBet (UB), one of the ten largest online Poker cardrooms, today issued the following interim statement with respect to allegations of unfair play on its site.
“On January 12, 2008, UltimateBet was alerted to allegations that a player with the online handle “NioNio” exhibited abnormally high winning statistics and was accused of having an unfair advantage during play. These allegations were made both directly to UltimateBet by concerned players and the KGC, and indirectly through several web forums. The allegations also included reports of suspicious activity concerning the deletion of the NioNio account and other accounts that may have been related to this scheme.
“We immediately launched an extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert to review hundreds of thousands of hand histories, all of which were promptly locked down and made available to this expert. The initial findings of our third-party expert confirm that the NioNio account’s winning statistics were indeed abnormal, and we have expanded the investigation to look into whether an unfair advantage existed, how such a scheme might have been perpetrated, and whether additional accounts beyond those of NioNio were involved.
“UltimateBet is in regular communications and contact with its regulatory authority, The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), and will continue to cooperate fully with that body.
“UltimateBet is determined to complete a full and thorough investigation. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, secure playing environment for our customers. The investigation has proven to be extremely complex and, therefore, has been more extensive and taken much longer than initially expected. We continue to aggressively pursue the matter and will communicate the findings of our full investigation to our regulatory authority and to our customer base as soon as practicable.”
THE KEY PLAYERS
Ultimate Bet is owned by Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, a privately owned company that also owns and operates Absolute Poker.
Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG is run by Joe Norton, the former Grand Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker are overseen and licensed by the “independent” Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulatory arm of the Mowhawk Indian tribe in Canada.
[The original 2+2 summary included an AP scandal summary here, which wouldn't fit.]
Collecting the Evidence
After the Absolute Poker scandal it was clear that the poker sites were unwilling to regulate themselves and that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was also uninterested with protecting the game. Frustrated by what seemed to be another major cheating scandal by a Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG poker site, posters on twoplustwo set out to find the truth.
While reviewing hands that they had played, twoplustwo posters 'trambopoline' and 'dlpnyc21' noticed that they had both lost significant sums of money to the player ”NioNio”. In only 3,000 hands against trambopoline and dlpnyc21 ”NioNio”, had profited an astonishing $300,000.
”NioNio” had an incredibly high VP$IP of approximately 60/40 (meaning that he put money into the pot preflop with 60% of the hands that he was dealt and that he raised preflop with 40% of his hands, abnormally high statistics for a winning player in these games). He cold called 3 bets and 4 bets at an abnormally high frequency and he made very thin value bets and repeatedly made what would otherwise be questionable calls against bluffs. Essentially, his play was consistent of that of a poor poker player, not one who was winning $300,000 in 3,000 hands.
NioNio's play was nearly identical to the play of POTRIPPER with one exception; where POTRIPPER would only raise or fold on the river, NioNio would on occasion call. It would eventually become obvious this served to make his omniscience less obvious.
Concerned about NioNio's play trambopoline turned to [[old link~tb], a website which records all high stakes games that are played online, to gather more evidence.
MyPokerIntel.com provides a summary of anyone’s last 14 sessions. In those 14 sessions, NioNio had 13 winning sessions and was up approximately 135k. His one losing session consisted of a mere 2k loss. The stats on MyPokerIntel.com also showed that NioNio had beaten the games at a rate of 114 big blinds per 100 hands over the 8,000 hands that he had played. As a base of comparison, the absolute best players in the world strive to win 15 bb/100.
What was even more incriminating was the fact that the last date he played on that account was September 4th, the same week the AP scandal broke.
Below is a spreadsheet that lists NioNio's profits from each session that he played on Ultimate Bet;
NioNio had won over 600k in a mere 64 hours of play, a hourly rate of $9,687.96/hr. One of the ‘wow’ figures from this investigation is that the average American works 2088 hours a year, not counting overtime. If NioNio worked for those same 2088 hours he would have an annual salary of $20,209,668.48.
Ulitmatebuddy.com is a website which provides a search feature for Ultimate Bet players. When trambopoline searched for NioNio on Ultimatebuddy, he found an odd message stating that NioNio's account no longer existed. This meant that his name was either changed or that it had been closed.
In order for an account on Ultimate Bet to have a user name changed or for an account to be closed the owner of the account must personally contact the company and the security department process the request. This is the first indication that Ultimate Bet knew about the cheater several months prior to the January 8th post on 2+2.
As many of you know, when you cash out of an online poker site, the cash out must first be cleared through the site's security department. Major withdrawals from new players are examined with additional scrutiny.
It defies reason to believe that a red flag was not raised when a new player began beating the highest stakes games on Ultimate Bet at a win rate that was ten standard deviations over his expectation. But even if Ultimate Bet's security department was so incompetent as to not investigate NioNio's account while the cheating was taking place it is virtually impossible that they did not investigate him when he requested to have name changed and cashed out in September 2007 .
It is simply unfathomable that red flag was not raised when NioNio, the most successful Poker player in the history of the world, a guy for whom logging onto Ultimate Bet was like going to an ATM machine... and stealing the whole thing, abruptly decided a couple days after the Absolute Poker scandal became public that he wanted to close his account. The only rational conclusion is that Ultimate Bet had full knowledge of the cheating as it was taking place and deliberately allowed it to continue just like at their sister site Absolute Poker where the founder of the company was cheating and orchestrating cover-up.
After 'trambopoline' and 'dlpnyc21' showed beyond any reasonable doubt in the HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247) that NioNio was cheating, many more 2+2’ers began compiling their hand histories and searching through [old link~tb] for suspicious accounts.
If it was happening with one account why couldn’t it be happening on others? Within a matter of days, posters on 2+2 identified a number of accounts as having highly suspicious activity. They all played the same 60/40/aggressive style that was shared by NioNio and the superuser at Absolute Poker and all stopped playing around September 07, 2007 when the Absolute Poker scandal broke. They also all had had success at a profit rate of several degrees better than the win rates showed by the best players in the world.
These suspicious accounts were:
Flatbroke33, iLike2win, monizzzle, nionio, nopaddles, nymobser, nvtease, sleeplesss, stoned2nite, utakeit2, and whackme44.
Prior to January 8th, 2008, the day that the allegations were posted on twoplustwo, eight out of the ten accounts had been closed or had their screen name changed. Upon releasing these names in the HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247), which was obvious was being closely watched by Ultimate Bet, the last 2 accounts were immediately closed or had their account name changed. This is known because within 24 hours they no longer appeared on [old link~tb] when searched for. Just like with Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet's management was covering their tracks.
Nat Arem (N82 50 24 on twoplustwo) was able to give trambopoline some further damning information. From the contacts he had from the AP scandal, he was able to confirm 3 things;
The operator of these accounts would play high stakes no limit as NioNio. After they cheated someone out of enough money to inspire suspicion, the operator would then switch to the Nopaddles account. After they had exhausted the entire player pool by cheating everyone with both accounts, they again changed screen names and ran the same scam as nymobser and sleepless.
- The NioNio account was changed to nymobser.
- The Nopaddles account was changed to sleeplesss.
- The changes were made on the same day.
It should again be pointed out that it is standard procedure for an account asking to change its screen name to be scrutinized by a poker site’s security team. Looking at a single session that NioNio or Nopaddles played would be enough to show an almost imperceptibly small chance that the accounts were not cheating. It is simply beyond the realm of possibility that several insiders did not realize that these accounts were cheating when these accounts were investigated after requesting a name change in the middle of 2007. Instead of stopping the theft Ultimate Bet allowed them to change screen names and in doing so facilitated the cheating.
If you have a gmail account, you will be able to access this spreadsheet containing the playing statistics from all of the accounts in question. This is an incredibly damning piece of evidence;
The detailed hand logs in that spreadsheet contain of all data from each session played by the cheating accounts. One can see the exact time each account played each session, how much was won and other pertinent info.
Looking at the times that the cheating accounts played one can observe instance after instance where one account would sign in, play a short session against a particular player, then sign onto a new screen name and play another session against the same player, making huge profits on each account. This was done in order to minimize the amount of hands that each account played against each high stakes player in hopes that the lack of data would keep the cheating under the radar. Once the two accounts had played all of the regular high stakes players they would be closed and two more accounts would be opened and the process repeated.
Here is a screen shot with some specific stats from these players:
The date next to their name indicates the last date they played on Ultimate Bet;
Flatbroke33 = 8/11, 65.5 PTbb/100 over 3753 hands- deleted or name changed.
iLike2win = 6/22, 37.34 PTbb/100 over 5545 hands - deleted or name changed.
Nionio = 9/4, 57.3 PTbb/100 over 8100 hands - name changed to nymobser.
Nopaddles = 8/31, 89.6 PTbb/100 over 1508 hands - name changed to sleepless.
Nymobser = 9/26, 46.7 PTbb/100 over 899 hands - now deleted or name changed. This name was still active when it was first mentioned in the HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247), but within 24 hours of it being identified in the thread the account was closed.
Monizzle = 11/20, 38.51PTbb/100 over 2265 hands - deleted or name changed.
Sleeplesss = 9/22, 98.87 PTbb/100 over 1561 hands - now deleted or name changed. This name was still active when it was first mentioned in the HSNL thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=99247), but within 24 hours of it being identified in the thread the account was closed.
stoned2nite = 6/30, 129.2 PTbb/100 over 777 hands - deleted or name changed.
Utakeit2 = 8/29, 45.41 PTbb/100 over 8046 hands - deleted or name changed.
Whackme44 = 8/20, 47.73 PTbb/100 over 946 hands - deleted or name changed.
For the 7 accounts out of 10 that we received detailed records on, their total take was over $1.5 million. It is still unknown how much the other 3 accounts stole.
Other than their one press release stating that a three month extensive investigation revealed that NioNio had "abnormally high winning statistics" (something that was proven three lines into the first post in the HSNL thread) Ultimate Bet has not made any public comments about these findings. Ultimate Bet has also largely refused to discuss this scandal with its players other than to say that their investigation is ongoing. Ultimate Bet has not acknowledged their involvement in the cheating.
To this date the perpetrators of the Absolute Poker scandal have not been charged with any crimes. It is unknown if Ultimate Bet has filed charges against the people responsible for this multi million dollar theft or crimes related to the cover-up of these crimes.
Out of the hundreds of online poker sites, the only two sites to ever be caught exploiting a superuser account to steal from its customers are both owned by Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG and licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
The players on Ultimate Bet were victims of a serious crime: grand larceny facilitated by a company that operates virtually outside the law. I hope that the efforts spent investigating and publicizing this story will help the victims of these crimes find restitution. I hope that this story will also highlight the need for independent regulation in the online poker industry.
Please use this thread to discuss the the best way to convince Ultimate Bet to come clean about their involvement in this theft and to provide restitution for these crimes. Please also use this thread to discuss the best ways to ensure that a scandal such as this one does not taint the game of poker occur ever again.
I hereby grant the right for anyone, including all members of the media to take excerpts from this summary and/or to republish it in part or in whole as long as the work is properly cited and credited to its author.
Once again I would like to thank the dedicated people who spent hundreds of man hours that investigating this scandal, most of whom had no incentive for doing so other than a desire to preserve the integrity of the game that they love. Special thanks to Gary Wise for helping me edit this summary.