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Poker News | World Poker News

Tokwiro Investigation of UltimateBet Complete

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This is getting complicated, not to mention lengthy.

The UltimateBet cheating scandal first became public knowledge in March of 2008, though rumblings of improprieties had been swirling about the internet poker forums for months prior. After many months of an investigation by a third-party audit firm called Gaming Associates, a preliminary findings report was released.

Despite the appearance of a conclusion, UltimateBet acknowledged that more suspicious accounts thought to have been used by a superuser(s) had been discovered. And then the news leaked that one of the people allegedly involved in the scandal was none other than former UltimateBet owner and 1994 World Series of Poker main event champion Russ Hamilton. It was not long after said allegations were made that more involvement came on the part of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, followed by the KGC’s statement about hiring a third-party investigator to conduct an audit of Tokwiro Enterprises, the parent company of both UltimateBet and Absolute Poker.

And just as Tokwiro Enterprises prepared to come under more scrutiny than it had until now, the company released a statement on the UltimateBet website regarding its own internal investigation of the UltimateBet scandal. It was not widely known that Tokwiro had been conducting its own inquiries, and though those findings are still subject to the oversight of Gaming Associates and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, it chose to release a statement in the interim.

Most of the information in the July 25th statement from Tokwiro was that which had already been publicized, that under the previous ownership, select players set up accounts to view hole cards and cheated via that particular software glitch. New information contained in the release included the fact that there were 19 accounts used and 88 usernames involved in the complicated scheme. In addition, the new management is still attempting to verify all players who were cheated in the scandal, and the reimbursement process is still underway due to its complex nature.

The statement, in its entirety with quotes from Tokwiro’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett, is reprinted as follows:

MONTREAL, CANADA - (July 25, 2008) - Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG ("Tokwiro"), proprietors of UltimateBet.com ("UB"), one of the ten largest on-line poker cardrooms, today announced that it has concluded the investigation into allegations of unfair play on UB’s web site.

Tokwiro has compiled complete forensic evidence including the IP addresses, devices, transfer and withdrawal histories, and names associated with the player accounts that benefited from illicitly viewing hole card information. The results of Tokwiro's internal investigation have been turned over to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) and its auditors, as that regulatory body continues its independent investigation. These results are in addition to the data which Tokwiro has already shared with the KGC.

Tokwiro has identified a total of 19 accounts and 88 associated usernames that were involved in the cheating, including the accounts that were named in Tokwiro's publicly posted investigation updates of May 29, 2008 and July 8, 2008. The same perpetrators that were previously identified controlled all of these usernames. There are no new perpetrators involved, only new usernames. Usernames were changed many times over the course of the cheating scam in an apparent scheme to avoid detection. Our complete list of usernames involved in the cheating scheme has now been turned over to the KGC, and the Company does not expect to uncover any additional usernames.

Paul Leggett, Tokwiro's Chief Operating Officer, said, "Make no mistake: our management team is outraged that this cheating occurred on our site through illicit software placed on the UB servers prior to our purchasing UltimateBet. Tokwiro is aggressively pursuing legal avenues of redress in order to protect and compensate our players and the business. Rest assured that we will release more information to the poker community and to the public at large as we enforce our and our players' rights."

"With respect to refunds to the affected players, we are continuing our analysis in order to determine the refund amounts. We will move forward with another round of refunds in the weeks ahead. We thank the poker community for its invaluable contributions to this investigation and assure it that we remain committed to fully investigating any claims of fraud on our site," Mr. Leggett said.

The investigation revealed that the perpetrators logged into the client software, using an account that had the ability to view hole cards. The ability of a specific account to view hole cards was enabled by illicit software that was placed on the UltimateBet servers prior to October 2006, which was before Tokwiro acquired the business.

The account that was used to view hole cards never actually played in a game. Instead, the perpetrators used hole card information gained from logging in with this account while playing on other accounts, which thereby benefited from the cheating. The money won by the accounts that received hole card information was then moved around and off the site in a complex web of player-to-player transfers and withdrawals. This contributed to the complexity of Tokwiro's efforts to uncover the truth.

Mr. Leggett concluded: "We cannot over-emphasize the fact that Tokwiro and its entire management team had no knowledge of the illicit software until it was revealed by our investigation; and no one associated with Tokwiro was involved in the cheating scheme at any point."

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