Turning the page for the New Year at UB; Hermosa Beach, CA
December 30, 2021
1 Comments
What an incredible couple of months it has been for us over at UB.  Nothing like a little, or in this case a lot, of change to ring in a new year with excitement and freshness.  2010 sees us parting ways with two icons of the poker world, Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke.  These two legends in our industry have, quite literally, helped to build UB into what it is today.  Phil and Annie have been the face of the company for years now, and we thank them for their unbelievable contributions and bid them the utmost in success moving forward.  With that said, we look forward to 2011, and I believe it will be the finest year that we have ever had at UB...
 
We plan on kicking things off with our UBOC6 in January, and things simply just keep getting better and better with our UBOC's.  They keep growing and the player's keep getting more and more excited about them every time out.  We are, of course, looking for our sixth iteration to be even bigger and better than the last five.  Should be some serious fun with over $5 million in guaranteed money, a high roller event, watches given away to event winners, and of course the chance to compete with Team UB in each and every event.
 
Speaking of Team UB, while it's true that two of our members have moved on, don't think that we aren't restocking the talent.  We'll be announcing our newest Team UB member next week and I am crazily pumped about it.  UB has, and will continue to have, a whole new look and feel for our team and our newest signing exemplifies that, so stay tuned for that announcement next week.  Going to be a bit of a doozy...
 
A whole new marketing direction will be another new addition in 2011, so get set for that change as well.  We are going to be redefining what UB is, what poker is, and what it is to be a member of the strongest online poker community there is.  There will be new additions to the game client, some incredible new functionality that you've only just dreamed of yet, and more little nuggets that I don't quite want to let out of the bag yet.  Let's just say that we are going to be bringing more of the feel and nuances of live poker directly into your online UB experience, so buckle up...
 
A lot more surprises and changes are in the coming this year, and I think that all of you are going to be very pleasantly surprised at how we are pushing the envelope for you for now, as well as the future.  Here's to 2011 and here's to innovation...
 
peace,
J
UB Hand Histories Follow Up; Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2021
4 Comments
 
The long-awaited blog from Paul Leggett at UB has finally dropped and we have some clarification on what has happened to the missing hand histories that we all have wanted to see so badly.  By all admissions, even Paul's, this is not the resolution that we all were looking for.  The data missing is about as disappointing as it gets and I'm left thinking, "Where do we go from here?"  The only reasonable solution seems to me to have a third party group come in and confirm the findings that the Excapsa hardware/software/what have you did in fact fail in some way and that data is no longer there or retrievable.  I think this is logical and will hopefully give us the final answer on this matter.
 
I would like to offer that possibility up to a third party group; the opportunity to come in and be able to examine the drives to determine their own findings in the matter.  If there is a group that is interested in doing this please contact UB, or myself, and this is something that can now be arranged.  My only caveat though is that it simply has to be a group that is only interested in discovering the truth in this matter.  I always said that I didn't trust two kinds of people when I first started working on all of this: 1) those people who desperately wanted to prove that UltimateBet had no fault in any of this and were perfect, and 2) those people who vehemently wanted to prove that UltimateBet was the devil and wanted to crucify them.  Both of those opinions are simply far too fraught with veiled interests here to have any real or trustable conclusions.  With that said, please step up if you are interested in examining the UB files/drives, etc.
 
I think it's important, as unpopular as it might be, to point out that the current regime at UB isn't the one responsible for all of this.  They aren't the individuals who cheated their customers, and they aren't the individuals who reportedly used poor software/poor hardware/poor methodology to store data and information.  That's not to say that the new regime hasn't made mistakes along the way, we know that they have, but the individuals that you really want, and the issues that come up time and time again are from the past group who owned and ran UltimateBet at that time.  I wish that we could just scoop those people up and prosecute them for all of this, but that's impossible at this time, as we know.
 
We still want to make it as right as we can, and I still would like to be a conduit to serve that purpose.  The final step in that process may just be having a new group come in and take a look at things, so here's to that happening soon.  Please throw your hat into the ring if you are interested...
 
peace,
J
 
PS- I also wanted to clear up a few things that I am getting information on from my side of the ball:
 
1.  Uri Kozai, from all of the information that I have been told, is actually one of the persons responsible for much of the mistakes that were made with the data.  I was told that his company supported the data and that that company was responsible for the loss of it. 
 
2.  The earlier script which was written and pulled some of the hand histories out based on when the "suspect" did not contribute to the pot in any way is completely different from the current information about the hand histories which have been lost entirely.  That script that was used to pull data for players that requested their hand histories against the cheating accounts pulled every hand in which the suspect contributed to the pot. There may have been gaps in these hands for two reasons; a) The suspect folded preflop, b) The data for those hands was lost.  As explained the financial records for all hands played by the cheating accounts are intact, missing hole card data has no repercussions on player's refunds. Missing hole card data has no repercussions on player's net win/loss against the cheating accounts.

3.  Another point to hit on briefly is one that Paul touched on in his initial blog.  The length of time that it took to get to this point was massively affected by the fact that UB has been trying to recover the lost hand histories for quite some time.  It seems that often there would be a possibility of recovering them or the potential to do so, and then would not pan out.  This kept pushing things back further.
Usual Madness, Life is Grand; Las Vegas, NV
October 8, 2021
0 Comments

Just arrived in Vegas yesterday and it’s going to be a seriously busy week or so. This is all on the tails of just leaving Florida (for an incredible charity event with Vinny Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning) and also heading down to the UB offices in Costa Rica to get working on some interesting marketing possibilities. I think it’s going to be a fun year…

Let me talk about the NOW though. It all kicks off tomorrow when I will be teaching a morning (class? lecture? discussion?) talk for the WPT Boot Camps over at the Golden Nugget. I consider myself to be much more of a facilitator rather than a teacher, so I think it’s going to be a lot of hands-on discussions more than anything else. Going to be talking about being a pro poker player, what it’s all about, and considerations thereof. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous. I don’t lecture so it’s out of my comfort zone a bit. My guess is that I’ll just try and make everyone laugh…like I always do.

As soon as that is finished up though, I need to head on over to the Rio for a truly incredible event. I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in the Special Olympics event, “Over The Edge”. Basically we raise money for Special Olympics, obviously try and get more of the word out, and contribute as much as we can. The kicker is this though; we are also rappelling down the face of the Rio to support. That’s right, attached to a rope and climbing down the damn building. Once again, I am more than a little nervous, but what am I going to do? Say no? Come on. Not my style. I’m pumped for it and I think it’s going to be an amazing experience.

All of this fun tomorrow, not to even mention the fact that next week we are finally going to be jumping out of an airplane for the “Skydive With Sebok” tournament that was won so long ago. As it turned out the winner of that tourney was a Russian chap who wasn’t able to get his visa sorted out to come to Las Vegas. We made sure we kicked him a little something though and my boy, Jared Weston, who finished in second place, is going to be jumping with his guest, his dad. I think him bringing his pops is incredible and I can’t wait for that day. I think it’s going to be absolutely killer. Love jumping out of planes!

All that AND the WPT Bellagio beginning next week?! I can barely catch my breath, and I love it like that. Nothing more fun that doing good things with good people and having a ton of fun along the way. Well, that and maybe winning about a million at Bellagio would be nice. Haha…

In closing, just wanted to throw a little love out to the toughest girl in poker, Thuy Doan. She is struggling with her cancer again and while everyone is talking about how unfair it is and what bullshit it is, Thuy is going about her business fighting her ass off, smiling, and not complaining for a second. We can all learn an amazing lesson from her. She’s in my thoughts, and I dearly hope that she will be in all of yours.

Hope all are doing ok out there…

peace,
J

UB Scandal Saga-Last 12 Months; Hermosa Beach, CA
August 17, 2021
4 Comments
Roughly one  year ago I signed with UB, and pledged to put in as much effort as was possible to do three things; 1) get the account names involved in the super-user scandal released, 2) get all the hand histories out to those who requested them during the cheating scandal, and 3) attempt to get out the physical names of the actual cheaters, and those who helped them cheat, released to the public...

We were able to accomplish #1 fairly quickly.  #2 has proven more difficult for a number of data reasons on the Cereus network side.  It seems there were many issues when the network was began and the old data/servers were migrated/changed/what have you.  I have had many talks with Paul about this and he has offered to write a blog to attempt to clear up exactly what the issues are on the UB side in terms of this data.  I appreciate this greatly as he understands those processes many times better than I ever could.  I have been just as frustrated as many of you at how long this whole process has taken.  It creates a picture that suggests that UB may be hiding something, when I don't believe that to be the case.  However, I live and work in LA, not Costa Rica, so in all honesty I can only do so much to move things along there.  While I communicate and work with the team almost daily in some capacity, I can't actually go and retrieve the data myself and I don't face the same issues and problems that they do with doing so.  That's a mouthful, all leading to just saying that Paul will address why we have had some problems with hand histories in his own blog, and I'm hoping that will clarify the situation for many of you.

Even with those issues, I believe that we have gotten out upwards of 90% of old hand histories back to people who have requested them.  At least those that have come across my desk.  In most cases, the requests were legit and people have been great to work with.  They have been frustrated, as I have, when we have hit snags, but generally understanding and overall very cool.  There were many people who thought they might have been cheated, but more often then not the people who contacted me were just angry and wanted to vent.  I completely understand that position and was more than happy to listen to them, as well as look into their cases.  Most of these ended in dead ends though, obviously.

Now, #3 was always going to be more of a bitch, for several legal reasons.  To say that the information was murky and many individuals who were directly involved would never talk to us is certainly an understatement.  Nevertheless I believe that the poker community deserves some answers and some justice, in as much as that justice can be delivered.  With that mindset I set about trying to put together what I could to make this a reality.  I began working on a list, culled from many different sources.  Some were at UB, some were outside of UB, people who knew the situations and knew the people involved.  I always knew that I would need much outside help other than just sources for this story and thus once I had what I felt was a good list of people to work from, hopefully very close to the actual KGC list, then I went to where the intelligence was on this matter: the forums.

I quickly discovered that there was one main authority and that was "Mookman", from the 2+2 community.  I asked him to take the list that I had put together and add as much information as was possible, as well as add his own names to the list, which he did.  He worked his ass off and did an incredible job putting the meat on this skeleton that I had brought to him.  I finally felt that we had a solid list that we could do some investigating from.  A lot of time passed here though and things didn't move quite as quickly as I had hoped they would.  I wanted to partner up with another site, as I felt that putting out the information from me or putting it out through PokerRoad.com was just too much of a conflict of interest.  I wanted all of you to know that many hands were involved in this process, and it wasn't just myself putting something together alone, and thus several third parties outside of UB have worked on the list and the story.

I approached several sites to run the story with me, but for various reasons they decided not to.  Finally I sat down with the team over at WickedChopsPoker and we put together a plan to actually investigate the names on our list, talk to the people, reach out where we could to individuals from the past with all of this scandal, and just try and put something concrete down.  WCP had already done quite a bit of their own investigating, including chasing Russ Hamilton down on camera a while back, so in many ways it was a continuation of some of the work they had already been familiar with.   When I say "we" I really mean "they" here quite often.  WCP has done an incredible job over the last 3 months of seeking people out, finding ways to talk to them, and piecing this whole thing together.  I owe them an incredible debt in helping me to make this happen.  None of us necessarily feels that our story is the final word in this matter, we do feel that we have taken it just about as far as we personally could, and also hope that more individuals come forward to fill in more pieces.

With that, probably most of you have read the posts on WCP and if you haven't, you should:

Part I:  http://wickedchopspoker.com/the-ultimatebet-super-user-scandal-part-i/

Part II: http://wickedchopspoker.com/the-ulti...matebet-super-user-cheating-scandal-part-ii/#more-8541


I know that many will not be won over by these names, this list, or this story that we have put out.  Many will say that I am just part of some UB propaganda machine, and that it is all a snow job.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Now, the story may not be complete somehow, or we may have been lied to at some point along the way, but this story with these names is what we have found over the last 12 months of tireless work from many individuals.  This story and these names are what I believe is the closest we will ever get to arriving at the truth in this scandal.  I understand it's not as sexy as everyone would like it to be.  Many out there want us to name Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, and a whole host of other professional players who were involved in this cheating, but that's just simply not what we found.  I delved into the scandal with one singular goal, and that was to discover as much of the truth as was possible.  I immediately became distrusting of two kinds of people: a) those that wanted to prove that UB was innocent and everything was perfect there now, and b) those that desperately wanted to vilify UB and condemn them moving forward.  Both of those viewpoints seemed couterproductive to my quest to find the truth.  With that said, the story presented is the reality as we have researched it and put it together.

To those that want more done in this matter, I simply say that I agree with you and would like to accomplish more.  I wish we were a police force, but we are not.  I wish we could really round up all of these people and interrogate them, but we can't.  I believe we did as much as we possibly could to this end though.  I also wish we were a court and we could try them all and jail the convicted, but again, we cannot do this.  The poker community would be a better place if we could, but as of right now this just isn't possible.  If it was, believe me, I would be working on it.

Finally, other than the big 3 goals mentioned above I also developed another final one; to see if there was anyone from either of the cheating scandals at UB and AP that was still involved in the company in any way.  I have heard whispers, as well as yells, about former employees still being involved in the company who were also involved in the cheating scandals.  I have researched them time and time again, spoken with countless sources, and spoken with the accusers and every time I have been unable to come up with any proof at all that any of those individuals are still with, or involved with the company in any way.  At this point I am going to need a little more than just hearing from someone that one or more of those former cheaters are still at UB or AP.  The time for talk has come to an end and the time for proof is now.  To this day, I still haven't seen anything pointing towards these accusations being true, other than "so and so said this" and "this person swears it".  Obviously, if there is real evidence, I would want to see it and the poker community needs to see it.  That just simply hasn't happened.

Personally, it has been a difficult road for me.  I have had fans call me out personally as a cheater, and insinuate that I am now a cheating poker player.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  While you could criticize my decision to join UB, but please always try and remember one thing: we are on the same side.  We all are engaged in the search for truth, whatever that truth might be.  Besides, if I was now a cheating poker player, don't you think I would perhaps WIN a little more than I do?  Ha.  Sorry, had to...

I digress though.  When I signed with UB I wanted to be a part of something moving forward.  I knew that there was unfinished business from the past though to be dealt with and thus I set upon trying to handle that first.  I believe that, as much as it can be done, we have done that.  I don't know any other way to make things right with the scandal from the past.  I wasn't there when it happened and I can't provide those answers always, but I truly believe that we have done all that we can do here.  I know a lot of you out there will never be satisfied and I commend you for your dedication.  I really do.  Something terrible happened and I understand anyone's decision to never come back.  I, however, think it is time to look to the future of UB, rather than continuing to live in the past.

With that said, I am excited to be able to hopefully close this chapter and move onto the next.  Now, if anything else pops up I will be happy to get back into it and delve further, but as of right now, as of August 2010, I don't see any deeper I can get into this scandal or any more we can do to close it.  I think the next year or two are going to be the most exciting in UB's history and I am happy to now turn my attention and focus towards that.  I understand if many of you do not want to join along, but for those who are up for it, it's going to be one hell of a ride...

Thank you to all of those who have put in time with me over the last year on this.  I appreciate all of your efforts and am happy that we all wanted the same thing in the end: the truth.

On to bigger and better times...

peace,
J

PS- I just wanted to add that most of the people we have spoken with agree with this version of the scandal story.  I have had some people come to me over and over saying that it isn't true and there are so many things going on I am unaware of, and this and that.  I have always said the same thing, "No problem.  Just show me something, other than your word, or someone in the forums saying it is so, and I will immediately get into it".  They have never been able to actually show me a piece of proof.  It is always just someone saying something.  I need more than that at this point.  If I ever do get more than that though, I promise you, I will reopen myself to the scandal all over again...
And We All Exhaled; Hermosa Beach, CA
August 1, 2021
0 Comments
WSOP I
Another WSOP passed us in the blink of an eye.  Jeez, it came just as quickly as it was gone.  Almost feels like it didn't happen at all.  It's funny, leading up to the beginning of the WSOP, no one can possibly imagine spending every waking moment at the Rio, and then 2 days later...it's like we never even left the year before.  The human mind is a strange, strange thing sometimes...
 
My WSOP was...bizarre.  I played about 13 or so events, cashed my first one out of the gate, and thought I was poised for a great series.  My first 6 events or so I made four day 2's, but always seem to hit some shit luck on those day 2's.  I mean, some really gross luck.  Despite that though, I was quite happy with my play and felt great, still very confident that '10 was going to be a great year for me.  As the series wore on though, I wasn't able to make much headway or push through on the felt in any way.  It's always difficult to tell, as a bad run goes on, just if you are running bad or beginning to play bad.  I knew I was running bad during the WSOP, but I suspect I began playing worse and worse as I didn't achieve the results I wanted to.  Poker is a fickle lover though, and we all know that tune of the song...
 
I thought the Main Event would change things and I was poised to make another run like last year's, but it was the same 'ol 2010 song, as I simply couldn't win a hand on that day 1.  I always had the worst hand and my opponents just had me in trouble all day, so a deep run there was not to be.
 
Besides, there's always next year...
 
WSOP II
On a much happier note, much like last year, there were some amazing days during the Series.  Last year it was my boy Brian Lemke, Shronk's cousin, who took down his first bracelet and I began a friendship with.  This year it was one of my oldest friends in poker, Gavin Smith, who we welcomed into that bracelet club...along with a family member, my cousin, Mike Linn.  We all know Gav's tales of chasing that elusive hardware and poker, truly the entire community, rejoiced when he took his down.  It was a very special night for my friend, and I was so happy for him. 
 
Now, the name Mike Linn most of you probably do not know...but you will.  His bracelet this year was just the first of many he is going to win.  He is a beast on the tables and has been online for quite some time now.  You'll be hearing plenty from him in the years to come...trust me on this one.  Also, a very special night.  To be able to sweat him to a late night win was so cool for me.
 
The combination of these two days helped erase my own frustrations about my lack of results and just celebrate with these two chaps...great stuff...
 
PokerRoad Radio
It seems that PRR has hit a bit of the end of the road with Gavin DEFINITELY retiring from the show.  He says he won't be back, but I know the Caveman and we'll see him from time to time pop up on a show.  He likes it more than he lets on.  Gav has been incredible over the years, working with me for nothing, staying after he busts at tournaments, and just helping build up some of my projects on his back.  We will miss him terribly, but that goes without saying.
 
We are still figuring out what the next step is for the show.  I just can't imagine that people want to keep listening to me prattle on about nothing for another year, so we are probably going to look at a few possible options.  It's a tough job though, so not sure who wants to step up and take on the reigns.  PokerRoad is a living, breathing organism though, so whoever drives the ship will have plenty of support from the team, as well as the community...
 
I've been trying to relax a bit since the WSOP, but that really hasn't been working.  With weddings and bachelor parties, not to mention simply my own personal madness rolling around in my head, rest and relaxation is a difficult thing to find.  We'll find a little somehow though, I promise you that...
 
Be looking for the conclusion of the "UB Scandal" piece on WickedChopsPoker.com very soon.  Looking forward to getting the rest of that information out.  Also, Paul owes me a few blogs (and by owe, I mean I have begged him to write them...haha) about questions regarding past/current UB employees and some of the data issues we have had with some of the hand histories as well.  As always, lots to work on, lots to accomplish...
 
Until then...
 
peace,
J
JOESEBOK
you know what sucks? running out of red velvet cookies, going to the store to get more and them being out of said cookies. that sucks...

9 hours ago
COMMENTS
No comments.