Words from the Wolf

Entries in poker (7)

Thursday
Mar032011

Black and Yellow Tale of UB

Im not convinced that UB didnt rig their latest Bad Beat Jackpot, to go north of $1 million before it could be hit. All computers programs are subject to being hacked, altered and manipulated. In early 2009 two people discovered a way to exploit video poker machines through a rarely used feature that must be enabled by casino attendants.  John Kane, 52, and Andre Nestor, 39, were charged this January,  in Las Vegas federal court with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme, which netted at least $429,000.

In the United States there are only four states that have their own facilities for testing electronic gaming machines: Montana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Nevada. For the other states that offer legalized casino gambling but dont have their own labs almost all rely on the services of Gaming Labs International - an independent testing firm based in Toms River, New Jersey.  Video poker machines with altered computer chips, fixed not to hit a royal flush have Nevada gaming control agents .  Of course, the state does everything it can to contain these problems, and little if any publicity is ever released about fixed video poker and slot machines.

UB is regulated by some independent first nations tribe in Canada.  I dont have any proof of UB wrong doing. But I have an opinion, which is based on prior UB fraud and experience playing on their site. UB went from an average of less than 10 .50/$1 limit tables to well over a 100 tables as the jack pot increased to record levels. The BBJP was over a million USD and the table share was only $150 because some many tables were going.  UB changed servers and crashed twice while I was playing online over the past week.

For the record, I have a small account at UB, which I have used periodically to play micro-limit poker, when the BBJP is particularly high.  I deposited that money before the Internet Gaming Control Act was passed in 2006. Playing poker online is not a violation of federal law IMHO.  Federal law prohibits a financial institution in the United States from transferring funds to or from an online gaming account. 

I dont believe that it is illegal to travel to another country, collect your winnings and deposit the money in a foreign bank account, as long as you report that foreign bank account to the U.S. Treasury Department.  I am not a lawyer, and this is not intended as legal advice.  Its only my opinion and I did sleep in a Holiday Inn once.

Heres the latest from poker pro Daniel Negreanu on ultimatebet Poker.

None of the Makar interview surprised me very much and I expect more dirt to be revealed in the coming months. Needless to say, UB is a corrupt company and your money is not safe with them. With so many places to play online poker, the UB/AP network is one you should scratch off your list unless you want to be the next victim.

I wish more players would speak out against this company that is a black mark on our industry, but as a wise man once said, “Stand up for what’s right, even if that means you are standing alone.” The public deserves to know and we should not sweep this stuff under the rug and pretend everything is on the up and up over there.

 

If you dont want to read about all the dirt on UB, just watch this video to learn everything you need to know.

Tuesday
Mar012011

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction in Low Limit Poker

Chasing is a huge part of any low limit poker game.  A bad beat jackpot, makes for even more chasing.  Bluffing seldom if ever works in a micro limit game.

Nonetheless, if you can guess both hole cards for ALBOKID10, I will reward your low limit poker IQ with a $10 Starbucks card.  I dont drink coffee , so the first correct guess in the comments below can have the card if they want it. 

This is a LIMIT Texas Holdem game on an Ultimate Bet bad beat jackpot table.  The BBJP was north of $800,000 when the hand was dealt. Quad eights or better must be beat to qualify. Four players must see the flop, pot must be raked for BBJP ($5 in pot) and both hole cards must play for the two hands that qualify. 

There are (52 × 51)/2 = 1,326 distinct possible combinations for two hole cards

BONZER28 mucks his losing hand after the show down:

Stage #CXXXXXXXXXX: Holdem  Normal $0.50/$1 Turbo(Jackpot)  - 2011-02-26 15:00:23.010 (ET) [ 2011-02-26 15:00:23 ]
Table: DAKOTA St.13 (Real Money) Seat #1 is the dealer
Seat 1 - MR_WOLFF ($15.25 in chips)
Seat 2 - BONZER28 ($33.52 in chips)
Seat 3 - L_J_B ($20.77 in chips)
Seat 4 - RANDOMRULES ($19.82 in chips)
Seat 5 - POKERCHIPS10 ($9.23 in chips)
Seat 6 - ALBOKID10 ($7.63 in chips)
Seat 7 - POKERBOSS ($49.15 in chips)
Seat 8 - THAQUE ($54.35 in chips)
Seat 9 - DA_CO27 ($41.80 in chips)
BONZER28 - Posts small blind $0.25
L_J_B - Posts big blind $0.50
*** POCKET CARDS ***
Dealt to BONZER28 [Qd Qc]
RANDOMRULES - Folds
POKERCHIPS10 - Folds (Preselection)
ALBOKID10 - Raises $1 to $1
POKERBOSS - Folds (Preselection)
THAQUE - Folds (Preselection)
DA_CO27 - Folds
MR_WOLFF - Folds
BONZER28 - Raises $1.25 to $1.50
L_J_B - Folds
ALBOKID10 - Calls $0.50
*** FLOP *** [5s 7s 10h]
BONZER28 - Bets $0.50
ALBOKID10 - Calls $0.50
*** TURN *** [5s 7s 10h] [6s]
BONZER28 - Bets $1
ALBOKID10 - Raises $2 to $2
BONZER28 - Raises $2 to $3
ALBOKID10 - Calls $1
*** RIVER *** [5s 7s 10h 6s] [9s]
BONZER28 - Checks
ALBOKID10 - Bets $1
BONZER28 - Calls $1

At show down ALBOKID10 has ?

Tuesday
Mar012011

Bad Luck Bonzer

WARNING: Charlie my fangs are dripping tiger blood Sheen inspired this post! ☻

ODESSA99 hit the jackpot on Monday, February 28 9:51:11 PM CST and received the highest portion, $340,875.15 of the BBJP. The jackpot reached a record high of $1,048,383.80 before ODESSA99 hit it. The entire jackpot was divided among the players at his table as well as any player playing at the same table stakes, the $.50/$1 Limit game. Those players received $150 for each $.50/$1 Limit table that they were playing when the BBJP hit.

Less than an hour before OdessA99 was dealt the bad beat I walked away from the electronic table, exhausted and vowing never to return.  I signed back on at 9:49 p.m. CST to see if it had been hit while I was taking a shower.  It had not been hit yet. I signed off and went to bed. The BBJP hit 2 minutes later.

I had been playing for 18+ hours a day since last Wednesday. I would have received $300 table share for playing on two tables which I was doing for the last hour that I played. But its even worse than that, as I was playing on 4 tables most of the day prior to dropping down to two tables, then dropping out , less than an hour before the JP hit. The payout for playing on four tables would have been $600  for a $380 pay check versus a $220 loss for my work week.

I was dealt 10,200 poker hands over five days.  You would have to play ten hours a day for 34 days to be dealt that many hands in a brick and mortar poker room.  I had four of a kind (quads) twice and one straight flush.  So out of 10,000+ hands, I only looked down at quads .02% of the time.  The mathematical expectation for having quads after playing that many hands is 18 times, at the rate of .18%

I lost $220. To put that in perspective, playing $4/8, my normal table limit, during this chase would have amounted to a $1,760 loss over 34 days of brick and mortar poker room play.  I was able to play 34 days worth of brick and mortar hands because you can multi-table online.  Some pros play up to 20  tables simultaneously online.  I played a maximum of four tables at the same time during the five day chase.

Like working as a criminal investigator,  I had many good years playing poker.  I enjoyed the adventure. I have no regrets. I made a lot of dollars from one and a few from the other.  But just like working at ICE,  the last two years playing poker have not been very profitable.  I can make more money sitting at home!

On the last working day in June 2008, I unexpectedly walked out of the ICE Palace , vowing never to return. I have not set foot there since. I retired from the comfort of my home. As a final FU to John Chakwin, I made ICE officials come to MY house to pick up THEIR shit (government vehicle, radio, raid gear etc).  Retirement is sweet!

Uncle Sam sends me a big check every month. I am living proof that eating shit for over 32 years, does in fact pay off in the end.  I hit the lottery in May 1976 when I began working for the FBI as a $6,000 a year fingerprint clerk.  Poker, which had also been paying me for over ten years quit paying me when I retired in August 2008 for some unknown reason.  Maybe that former Cuban tennis player, turned cocaine smuggling witch put a santeria hex on me after we seized $300,00 from her at U.S. Customs?  She told me that I was going to be cursed but she didnt say it would kick in at the poker table, twenty years later.

My biggest payday from (video) poker, was three royal flushes in 24 hours.  I used that money for Lasik eye surgery.  That was the best $5,000 I ever spent. I went from 20/400 to 20/20 vision on the back of video poker! Being able to see when you wake up each morning without putting on glasses or contacts is the gift that keeps on giving.  There were other smaller purchases along the poker journey including an Omega watch and recently an iPad, the best $500 that I have ever spent!

I started playing video poker with a $2,000 bankroll. I earned that money officiating high school basketball and volleyball.  When thousands of profitable (100.76%) video poker machines in Las Vegas were downgraded to negative expectation pay tables, I decided to switch to Texas Holdem.  Texas Holdem was not popular before 2003. Most casinos in Las Vegas had closed their poker rooms years before.  Casinos began re-opening rooms to meet the demand generated by the WSOP  being televised on ESPN, after I started playing.

I will never forget the first time I bought into a $2 poker game at the Excalibur, which was the most popular low limit poker room in Las Vegas. The Stardust and the Excalibur had the only low limit games in Las Vegas at the time.  

I bought in with $40. I lost that money in less than thirty minutes.  I told my wife that I would never be able to play live poker for a profit.  The game was just too fast for my mediocre math skills.  She encouraged me to study the game, as I had video poker, which was profitable before the pay table downgrades.  I purchased the book, Winning Low Limit Holdem by Lee Jones. I started playing $2/4 limit, $2/6 spread limit (my favorite game), $3/6 limit and eventually went on $4/8 limit and enjoyed a ten years of playing and winning. I went five straight ears , never having a losing trip to Vegas (at the poker table) before last July.

My $2,000 poker bankroll had grown to $8,000 in August 2008, even though I had spent some of the wins on Lasik surgery and an Omega Seamaster.  My first losing year was 2009.  I lost over $3,000 in 2010.  I lost $1,000 in a single week last July at the Orleans, chasing a bad beat jackpot.  I had a record losing day of $600 the next month at Winstar.  I never won more than $320 in a single day in 2010. I had three $500 losing days in 2010. Prior to 2010 I had never lost more than $400 in a single day.  I had many $400+ winning days over the years but none since 2008.

Ironically, my biggest single winning day was in the Excalibur $2-$6 spread game in 2003 after I had studied Lee Jones strategy.  Believe me, I had studied it but I had not learned it well enough to play as well as I do now.  But I had memorized the hands to play and the hands to throw away before the flop.  I started that day at 3:00 a.m. and by sunrise I was down $400.  Then I started winning every hand that I played (I dont play many hands). I turned that $400 loss into my single biggest single day Texas Holdem profit of $640. (I won over $3,000 once in 24 hours playing video poker and had many $1,000 winning days, hitting 15 royal flushes in ten years).

My poker bankroll peaked at $8,000 in 2008 and is down to $4,400 after chasing this bad beat jackpot.  I feel like a loser but in fact, I have more than doubled my bankroll (from $2,000-$4,400). I had a hell of a lot of fun playing poker for over a decade. 

Now I cant see the small numbers, up close, on Omega Seamaster but I can see the numbers on my Omega Ocean purchased with my annual leave retirement check! By the way, I can still see the clock on the wall perfectly thanks to the Lasik.

Its been fun but Im done (for now).  Im a retired from poker now because its no longer fun for me to play. But I will be writing about the game in general and this bad beat chase in particular.  I think most readers except the suits at UB poker will find it interesting.  Who knows?  I may unretire as many times as Brett Farve has when it comes to poker!

Monday
Feb282011

Ultimate Scam

The cheating scandal that just will not go away involves Ultimate Bet (UB) a Canadian online poker site, which is now approaching a record bad beat jackpot of $1 million.  At the time of posting,  the BBJP was at $945,000. 

A 2008 UB investigation concluded that certain player accounts had an unfair advantage.  The highest limit games on the site were targeted . The individuals responsible were found to have worked for the previous ownership of Ultimate Bet prior to the sale of the business to the current ownership.nice rags

How did the cheating occur?  UB explains, “The fraudulent activity was enabled by unauthorized software code that allowed perpetrators to obtain hole card information during live play. The existence of this vulnerability was unknown to Tokwiro until February 2008 and existed prior to UltimateBet’s acquisition by Tokwiro in October 2006. Our investigation has confirmed that the code was part of a legacy auditing system that was manipulated by the perpetrators.”

In other words all the dealt cards appeared face up to the cheaters.

UB had been given notice of potential cheating by the account “NioNio.” The account was suspended in order to investigate. NioNio won an abnormally large percent of the time.  A thread on twoplustwo.com noted that, at one point, NioNio had won 13 of his last 14 sessions, making $135,000. He had been winning at the unprecedented rate of 114 big blinds per 100 hands.

In February, UltimateBet’s investigation confirmed that the suspicious accounts belonged to “individuals who had worked for UB under the previous ownership,”  The cheating occurred over a 20 month period from March 6, 2006 to December 3, 2007.

Account names also implicated by UB included NioNio, Sleepless, NoPaddles, nvtease, flatbroke33, ilike2win, UtakeIt2, FlipFlop2, erick456, WhackMe44, RockStarLA, stoned2nite, monizzle, FireNTexas, HeadKase01, LetsPatttty, NYMobser, and WhoWhereWhen.

The sheer magnitude and technical complexity of the historic hole-card cheating scandal at Ultimate Bet is worthy of the Gunness Book.  The impressive detective work carried out by players who exposed it was even more impressive.  The scandal surfaced again over the weekend on a poker radio broadcast.
 
Poker News Daily reports that one of the parties identified by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) investigation into the Superuser issue  was interviewed recently on the Cold Call Show carried by DonkDown Radio in the United States.
 
However, the person interviewed as Travis Makar denied that he was involved in the fraud, or that he had ever worked for the companies involved.
 
That being said, the report appears to indicate that Makar has wide knowledge of the cheating debacle, and said on the show that:
 
* Others involved in the conspiracy had escaped unpunished, and that those identified in the KGC enquiry were just a fraction of those really involved.
 
* The takeover of the companies under the Cereus banner by Stuart Gordons Blanca Games, Inc. was a sham.
 
* He has the location of certain missing hand histories that could prove the full extent of the scandal.
 
* The $20 million stolen in the scandal was dispersed through a scheme that traded  for other companies’ money all the time.

  He did not substantiate the claims any further.
 
Makar admitted that he had been friends with alleged ringleader Russ Hamilton, and claimed that Hamiltons involvement was just the tip of the iceberg.
 
“They released that [which] they wanted to release,” Makar told his interviewers on-air. “There were other scandals going on that [Ultimate Bet] wanted to cover up. There was so much other cheating going on that they didn’t want out there. There are people that mostly did the scam that walked away clean from this. Their names were never mentioned and they never faced any charges.
 
“Hamilton’s covering for people and I don’t know why,” Makar said. “I can’t tell you why he won’t come forward. Maybe he feels some kind of loyalty. I know those that walked away with the bulk of the money are still out there.”
 
Makar revealed that he had owned a computer service business which carried out work for some of the biggest names in poker. That may or may not be the source of important information that he claimed he possessed in the form of documents, e-mails, computer records, and the fraudulent Superuser computer program itself.
 
Players have long been calling for criminal prosecution of those involved.  Makar revealed that this information is currently under review by Canadian authorities.
 
The KGC has assured players that the information from its investigation has been referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal prosecution.

Russ Hamilton was the 1994 World series of Poker (WSOP) main event champion.   Following his World Series win, Hamilton served as a consultant for UB.  In 2008, the KGC found Hamilton largely responsible for cheating players on Ultimate Bet out of $ $22,100,000.

To date, no arrests have been made in this case.  This is what I have been doing since Wednesday

 

Saturday
Feb262011

The 10 Worst Poker Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

When playing poker, many players are prone to making the same fatal mistakes. Below, I have attempted to outline these problems in the hopes that the reader may identify any negative tendencies in their game and make the necessary changes.

Mistake 1 - Playing Short-Handed with Little Experience - First of all, short-handed play requires more skill. You don’t have the luxury of simply being patient, which forces you to play weaker hands. You’ll be playing more hands per game, and this will put you at a distinct disadvantage when competing against more experienced players. Beginning players also may not have the bankroll needed to weather the high fluctuations of such a game. These fluctuations can lead players to go on tilt, which is always a huge mistake. Playing short-handed requires a whole different mindset. Start by playing in regular games and gain experience. Only then should you start branching out into the deeper water of short-handed games.

Mistake 2 - Bluffing Too Much - Bluffing an opponent is a great feeling, but if you do it too much you’re bound to get called. Betting with a weak hand is a surefire way to decrease your chip total. Be careful and don’t get too cute. Feel free to bluff, but do it in moderation.

Mistake 3 - Playing Position Wrong - You want to play as many hands as possible from a late position, and these are hands that you’ll want to play aggressively. Going later allows you to see what your opponents are doing. If you’re in the early position, you want to play fewer hands.

Mistake 4 - Getting Too Emotional - When players get too emotional, they are bound to make mistakes. At all times, try and remain detached from the game. Stay calm. Bet with your brains, not with your heart.

Mistake 5 - Focusing Too Much on the Cards - Play the player, not the cards. Learn the tendencies of your opponents and try to make sure that few hands ever make it to the final card. Instead, you want to use the knowledge of your opponent to force them to fold long before then.

Mistake 6 - Thinking You’re the Best - Despite what you think, you are not the best player out there. In any given game, anyone has a chance to beat anyone else. There’s only so much you can do about this. What you can do is realize that you’re going to lose a lot of the time. Practice, however, will ensure that you lose far less than those around you.

Mistake 7 - Not Asking for Help - Whether you learn by watching others or asking for advice, you must get help from time to time to improve. And, of course, there’s simply no substitute for actual game experience.

Mistake 8 - Playing the Wrong Stakes - The difference between a $5 and $10 game can be huge. It’s always important to play in a game with stakes which you can afford. The higher the stakes, the higher the level of competition. Start small and slowly move up as your skills and bankroll improve.

Mistake 9 - Being Predictable - Be aware of your betting patterns. Mix things up. Remember, while you’re studying your opponents, they are studying you.

Mistake 10 - Not Knowing When to Quit - Knowing when to quit, either after a big win or big loss, is absolutely vital to poker success. Being hardheaded will only get you deeper in the hole or ensure that your winning streak comes to an eventual halt. Get out while you’re ahead (or at least while you’re not too far behind).

This is what I have been doing since Wednesday