Early Saturday morning, hand number 1162170993 was dealt on online poker room Ultimate Bet. It featured Phil Hellmuth squaring off against DOUBLEBALLER. However, at the end of the betting, Hellmuth was awarded the pot despite holding the worst hand. Ultimate Bet officials acknowledged the incident and are investigating.

Whether the switchover to the new software platform of CEREUS had anything to do with the apparent glitch is unknown. On its official blog, Tokwiro Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett noted, “Earlier today we learned about a poker hand where our system paid out the losing player instead of the correct winning hand. We are investigating this software malfunction as our absolute top priority. This is the first incident of this kind we have encountered.”

Specifically, Leggett noted that Ultimate Bet staff was “examining the poker system and the application logs in order to pinpoint the cause of this malfunction.” Hellmuth, along with poker pro Annie Duke, serves as the face behind Ultimate Bet. The online poker room hosted an Ante Up for Africa charity tournament on Saturday night in which Duke was participating. Hellmuth owns a record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets.

Members of the TwoPlusTwo forums almost immediately posted the hand in question, which began at 4:15am ET early Saturday morning. The $200/$400 table witnessed the following hand play out: Hellmuth was in the small blind holding 10-2 of spades. DOUBLEBALLER held K-Q and the flop came J-K-K with two hearts after capped action pre-flop. On the flop, DOUBLEBALLER checked, Hellmuth led out for $200, and DOUBLEBALLER raised to $400. Hellmuth called the raise and the CEREUS software dealt the two of hearts on the turn. DOUBLEBALLER bet $400, Hellmuth raised to $800, DOUBLEBALLER made it $1,200, and Hellmuth called.

At this point in the hand, Hellmuth held a pair of twos and his opponent had him dominated with trip kings. The river came the nine of clubs. DOUBLEBALLER bet $400 and Hellmuth called. The hand history reveals that DOUBLEBALLER showed K-Q for three kings and Hellmuth mucked. However, the UB front man raked $5,599 from the pot despite mucking his hand.

In a later chat between the two foes, DOUBLEBALLER revealed that Ultimate Bet planned to credit him $2,300 for the error in the hand. However, the fact that Hellmuth played the pot aggressively and his presence as a marquee figure on the site had many on major online poker forums crying foul. The post by Leggett on Ultimate Bet’s blog, which appears to have been posted about 17 hours after the hand took place, had 20 responses. One reveals that more information is expected to be released on Sunday. However, as of 2:00pm ET on Sunday, no such information was released.

Ultimate Bet has come under fire as a result of a cheating scandal masterminded by former World Series of Poker Main Event winner Russ Hamilton, who was associated with its affiliate business. Hamilton and others exploited an auditing tool to see the hole cards of their opponents in high-level games. The scandal became the subject of a piece by CBS News program “60 Minutes” as well as an exposé in the Washington Post newspaper. In the days leading up to the 60 Minutes air date, Ultimate Bet’s player base merged with that of Absolute Poker, forming the CEREUS network. Both sites are owned by Tokwiro and are regulated by the Canadian-based Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Chat posted between DOUBLEBALLER and Hellmuth had the latter saying “I play U limit, right now” and “miracle U beat me.” We’ll keep you posted on this breaking story right here on Poker News Daily.


  1. CutThroatMan says:

    CutThroatMan Says:
    My response to UB on their blogsite and Mark’s response below…
    December 24th, 2008 at 3:32 am
    I have 2 concerns that keep me from playing your site…

    Mark Said to UB CEOBlog:
    December 23rd, 2008 at 8:42 pm
    Thanks for your lengthy explanations of the incidents that occurred on Saturday.

    The way you explained the tournament chip shortage left me feeling rather unsatisfied. A good number of the players in that tourney got in via satellite, but I didn’t hear of a single other case of stacks being reset.

    There was also a mention (on 2+2) that the final table chip count was correct. If that was indeed the case, who got my chips?

    Is it perhaps because I won entries both on UB and AP, albeit under different user names? (Note that I played ONLY the UB entry, but that the other entry (which sat out the entire time) managed to finish 24th! Better than I did.

    Also, it appears that my stack was reset DURING the first hand in question. How else could I have 2980 chips at the beginning of the second hand?

    May I trouble you to be a little more specific in this regard, as the fact of simply winning an entry via satellite was accomplished by a good number of people.


    As Mark says he won 2 entries (UB and AP) using two different user names and is quick to add (only played one). Deja Vue… No doubt he sees both hands if logged on from 2 computers sitting side-by-side. Not saying Mark did, but he occupied 2 spots in this tourney. Illegal as hell on any honest site.

    Sounds like this combining of two serperate poker sites has created another opportunity for cheaters. I get the distinct impression that Mark feels he or an accomplice could have played both. How many teams are working these 2 sites and how large are they? Scary as hell.

    And as to the most recent “software glitch”. If this disconnect had happened seconds before, Phil would have won the hand and no amount of complaining would have changed the outcome. Only the showing of hands and immediate outside pressure even got this looked at. The only solution other than fixing buggy software is to institute disconnect protection for all tourneys and at least the medium and large regular games. I don’t see you doing that, either, as that system is quickly abused and a huge processor drain. To be honest, the old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted seems to really apply to UB and AP. Good luck to the fools who go where even angels fear to tread.

  2. Micdiddy says:

    Uh Cutthroat Doubleballer didn’t disconnect, he showed his cards down, had the best, but Phil was rewarded the money. Even if he did somehow disconnect after getting called on the river there’s no way in hell he would lose that pot, the only way he could lose if he folded, which he didn’t.
    I agree though that it’s prob not smart to play on UB or AP.

  3. flopper says:

    Ultimate Bet is still screwing around and cheating it’s players. It is the same gaming commission in canada that is overseeing the gaming as when they got caught cheating the first time. It is a shell commission bought and paid for by online gambling to give online sites a false pretense of regulation and honesty.

    If you play daily the program says it has to download updates. BULLSHIT. The downloads are resetting your own gaming structure and percentages of drawing and winning with hands.

    The popular thing for many, is to play high stakes cash and sit and go’s with one or more buddies sitting side by side, in effect a team play. Others are also entering the same games as two different players with different names through the two combined sites. When they get one on one it is easy to all in and double up. Cheating is rampant on UB and will continue until the U.S. passes legislation to control it. If you think some tribal council on a reservation in canada that has been paid by these online gambling sites has your best interest at heart guess again.

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