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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


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.