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Ultimate Bet Cheating: Russ Hamilton Admits In Audio Recording, 'I Did Take This Money'

Former Site Owner Took Millions From Players, Including Ben Affleck

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If there was ever any doubt over whether or not 1994 World Series of Poker main event champion Russ Hamilton cheated at online poker, then it’s probably now gone.

Audio recordings released last week by a former employee of Ultimate Bet include how much money Russ Hamilton, a former owner of the site, admitted to stealing from players.

Hamilton said that he siphoned off between $16-$18 million from opponents thanks to a “God Mode” feature, which gave him access to the hole cards of everyone at the table.

The information further cements the former poker site as a sham. It, along with its sister site Absolute Poker, closed to Americans in April 2011, after the United States government came after the owners of the top offshore sites offering games in American cyberspace. UB/Absolute Poker never repaid players who had money in their accounts.

The recordings were posted just a few days ago by Travis Makar, who previously worked under Hamilton. Makar has long been engaged in an effort to reveal the shadiness of the defunct site.

Hamilton reportedly cheated players such as Ben Affleck, Brad Booth and Prahlad Friedman.

The recording was of a conversation between Hamilton, Greg Pierson and Dan Friedberg — two other individuals high up in the company’s ranks — that occurred in 2008.

The full three-hour meeting can be found here, but there’s a shorter version with the highlights available below. Hamilton at one point remarked bluntly, “I did take this money and I’m not trying to make it right, so let’s get that out of the way.”

There have been reports of Hamilton playing poker in Florida. He, along with all other principals of the site, have never been charged for any crime related to the cheating, for online poker itself was in a legal grey area during those years. However, former owners of the site were named in the April 2011 indictment for other crimes, such as illegal gambling and bank fraud.

 
 
 
 

Comments

blegend
almost 4 years ago

Fat piece of garbage.

 
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Doug2
almost 4 years ago

If anyone ever finds themselves seated near this man in a card room, the least you can do is spit in his face. Just saying.

 
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bigtime1957
almost 4 years ago

AHHHHHHHHHHHHh The dark side of Poker!!

 
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Pokerhertom
almost 4 years ago

You can thank GWB and his republican buddies for all the money lost with that stupid midnight magic deal they add to a homeland security bill. Too bad the US Gov is so busy stopping honest players and letting the crooks steal everybody blind for a bunch of bullshit moral ideals.

 
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bparmalee
almost 4 years ago

Cheating is bad...... but millions of dollars is so good. People can moan all they want. Hamilton and the rest stole millions and nothing has or will happen to them. In the future more people will steal millions... nothing will happen to them and people will still line up to put money poker sites. Seems to just be the cost of doing business.

 
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pokertruth
almost 4 years ago

IN 2006 AT THE BELLAGIO DURING THE WSOP I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH A YOUNG MAN WHO HAD PREVOULSY INSTALLED AND WHO WAS IN THE PROCESS OF INSTALLING ONLINE SERVERS AT THE CANADIAN TRIBAL SITE. BEFORE THAT I HAD HAD EXTENSIVE LEGAL EXPERIENCE WITH INVENTIONS AND PATENTS RELATING TO ONLINE GAMING SYSTEMS. I TOLD THE YOUNG MAN THAT IN MY OPINION THERE WERE MANY WAYS BY WHICH THE PLAYERS COULD BE CHEATED. THE CHEATING COULD BE EFFECTED: BY THE COMPANY ITSELF; BY A ROGUE COMPANY EMPLOYEE IN CONCERT WITH OUTSIDE CO-CONPIRATORS; BY INDEPENDENT NON-COMPANY INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD ACCESS TO THE VARIOUS COMPUTER CODES ETC. ETC. ETC. THE YOUND MAN RESPONDED THAT THERE WAS "ABSOLUTELY" NO WAY THAT THE PLAYERS COULD BE CHEATED BECAUSE THEIR EQUIPMENT WAS PROGRAMMED TO CATCH SUCH CHEATING. WELL NOW WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. ENOUGH SAID.

 
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whynot811
almost 4 years ago

What Hamilton did was obviously deplorable and he is scum. But if you take a step back and look at this thing from a non-poker player's perspective, the breadth of Hamilton's actions is even more astonishing. He is one of the most successful criminals in U.S. history. He STOLE ~18 million dollars, admitted to the theft, and has never/will never face any punishment. We are slightly desensitized to these huge sums of money from watching people win and lose millions every week...but an $18 million heist with instant immunity? borderline unheard of.

 
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bparmalee
almost 4 years ago

Exactly. Bad guy.... good guy.... there are not a lot of people that are going to turn down a free 18 million. There are most likely even more thefts that we don't know about.

 
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Shawn10
almost 4 years ago

I remember when anyone who dared to suggest these sites were rigged were automatically called a sore loser and/or paranoid. The poker stigma against telling "bad beat" stories played right into this scumbags hands.

 
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bparmalee
almost 4 years ago

Russ Hamilton Bad Beat Story: I had KK he had AA... flop was AAK.... turn was a K.... river was a 3. I folded because I could see his cards. That's how you win 18 million... discipline lol

 
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