Poker cheating scandal and redemption
I’m going to start this post by going back a bit in the history of online gambling, particularly online poker. Back in 2004 Russ Hamilton, a former World Series of Poker player, joined up with UltimateBet as a consultant and convinced them that he needed a superuser account to check on activity in games he was in. Don’t ask me how he managed to convince others that this was a good idea. But of course the worse happened. Hamilton and some evil cohorts used the superuser accounts to spy on other player’s hole cards during games. Just think of how much your poker game would improve if you knew what the other player’s had in their hand. You’d clean up. Which is what Hamilton and company did to the tune of about $22 million.
Hamilton and company went after some of the top players in poker in high stakes games and one of the players who suffered the most was Prahlad Friedman. But Friedman lost more than money to the Hamilton scandal. He lost his confidence. Suddenly his game winning strategy was losing him money. And no matter how he tried to fix his strategy, he still lost. This was because it’s hard to come up with a strategy that works when the other player can see every card you’re holding. As a result, Friedman dropped out of the poker world and said that he would never support any online poker room.
Which is why it’s big news today when UB.c om (formerly UltimateBet) announced that Prahlad Friedman, the player who lost the most in their scandal, has signed up as a pro player with the same site that cheated him. News coming from Friedman indicates that a large part of the reason is that UB.com is willing to support charities that he’s interested in. But the debate is raging in the poker world. Should Friedman forgive and forget? Is this a sign that UB.com has finally redeemed itself?