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Vancouver with the new Strong COO of UltimateBet

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Aug 25, '08

Posted: August 25, 2008 09:24 PM

Vancouver with the new "Strong COO" of UltimateBet, Phelps, Bike WPT?

I spent last weekend in Vancouver with the new strong COO of Absolute Poker and, Paul Leggett. I was impressed with his commitment to security and doing the right thing. After a couple of embarrassing scandals involving both sites, Leggett personally cleaned up most of the mess as he ran extensive investigations into any wrongdoings at UB, and made sure that anyone affected negatively would have an accurate refund number. The people in charge were so impressed with the level headed way that Leggett handled the scandals that they began to consider him for COO. They knew that UB needed someone strong, with an impeccable record, to carry the torch forward and clean up the sites. They knew they needed someone who had a huge commitment to security and integrity, so that UB could win back the players that they lost, and grow the combined UB and AP site into one of the top two or three sites in the world. They watched as Leggett personally took almost a thousand phone calls to the affected players, and committed himself--and the site--to giving players a safe and secure environment to play online poker.

When a cloud appears like the scandals, you have to look for the silver linings. Yes, the scandals are ugly, and yes, the sites would have been much better without them. However, one good thing to come out of all of this is that UB and AP are committed to doing the right thing. They will refund all of the players affected, and redouble (or retriple) their efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment. One great thing to come out of all this is Paul Leggett. UB and AP will merge soon into one mega-site and Leggett will take the reins. Of course, UB and AP are still expecting some negative press, but I am confident that Paul Leggett will help the sites turn the corner. I need to point out that almost every site in the industry has had security scandals (and refunds to their players), but the UB and AP scandals are the ones that became the most public.

On Friday Paul accompanied me as I shot a video, and then as I played in the online "Ante up for Africa" event for Darfur relief on UB. Then we went out for a dinner on the river, and then we hit the "Republic" night club, where they took great care of us. I asked the manager to call Serinda Swan and invite her to join us for some Dom. But Serinda informed us that she was shooting the first day of a gangsta movie the next day (Saturday) in Vancouver. This super model needed her "Beauty sleep!"

On Saturday Paul and I hit the Northlands Golf Club in North Vancouver and we had a match. FYI - we paid for a foursome so that we could play just the two of us in our group-I love this move! Since we were gambling and competing hard, and hitting a few extra shots (see below), we knew we might be slow on a few holes. Plus this move allowed us some privacy. We played a $100 a hole at even, but we were allowed to hit nine "Free shots" on the first nine holes. So if I hit a drive out of bounds, then I used a free shot. If I missed a three foot putt, then I used a free shot. After I lost the first five holes, I pressed. But it just wasn't my day on the golf course! I knew it when I couldn't hit any key shots. On the back, I was given some strokes as an adjustment, and I won a few holes to close the gap. Then Paul started playing some great golf! Still, on the 17th hole I pressed again, and I needed to make a three foot putt to close the gap to where I was only losing $900 (the hole was for $400, and I was down $1,300). I missed it! I was having a rough day out there! On 18 we played for $800, and neither of us had any free shots left, but I had a shot (so that if we both made sixes, then I would win). Paul had never played a hole for more than a couple of hundred, so that there was some pressure on the young COO. Still, on the par five eighteenth he hit a nice drive, a safe five wood second shot, then he hit the green where he hit a horrible approach putt from the lower level. I hit an ugly drive that was in play, then I hit it into the woods on my second shot! Still, I had a shot on this hole, so I dropped right in front of the gully, and waited for the green to clear. I was going for the green in four and I hit it into the front bunker. I hit my bunker shot to 14 feet, and I was lying five. Paul hit his approach putt to 12 feet (a bad one), but he hit it right in front of mine so that he could at least see the line of his putt. I hit a good putt, but not a great one and tapped in for a seven, net six. Paul needed to make his putt to win, but it was downhill so that if he went too hard he could easily three putt. He drilled it! At least it's nice to know that the new COO is clutch! I lost $2,100, but maybe this is a good omen for the new COO, and that's OK with me.

This week I was contacted by NFL Legend Paul "The golden boy" Hornung, who asked me to emcee his poker tournament in Louisville on the weekend of Nov. 7 - 8. He mentioned that Ditka, Deacon Jones, and a bunch of other NFL Legends will be there including a bunch of the Green Bay Packer's Legends. My dad is a big fan of Hornung, Ditka, the Packer's legends, and I'm sure a bunch of the other guys that will be there. I haven't decided yet to do the event, but my dad wants to go, so I probably will.

It is Friday night and I'm supposed to hop on a flight to L. A. to play in the Bicycle's Club WPT event, but I'm not motivated to go! It makes me ask: what's wrong with me? I have been waiting for a meaningful poker tournament to play in since the main event ended for me on July 13th, and now I don't want to go? I mean I love L. A., it's only a one hour flight, it's a WPT event, and I won this event 20 years ago. In 1988 I won the Bike's main event with Hall of Famers and legends Johnny Chan, T. J. Cloutier, and Jack Keller at the final table. With histor, meaning, a pile of cash, and pride on the line you would think I would be eager to play! However, if I don't want to be there, then I won't force myself to go. I may change my mind and fly out Saturday night, but for now I'm staying home. Maybe I'm depressed or something…Olympic Super Star Michael Phelps recently said that he was a huge poker fan, it would be cool if he were a fan of mine, because lord knows I'm a huge fan of his!

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, and visit his Web store at

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