Early Saturday morning, DOUBLEBALLER and Ultimate Bet front man Phil Hellmuth were battling against each other on a $200/$400 limit table on the popular online poker site. However, when the smoke cleared in the hand, Hellmuth scooped the pot with a pair of deuces, despite DOUBLEBALLER holding three kings. Ultimate Bet issued a press release explaining the fluke late Tuesday afternoon.
The Tokwiro-owned online poker site blamed the abnormality on DOUBLEBALLER being disconnected at the exact moment in time as the payout in the hand was being awarded. Ultimate Bet added that this happened “in conjunction with the ‘player’s state’ data being cleared from the memory cache.” In essence, it appears as if the Ultimate Bet software did not recognize DOUBLEBALLER being seated at the table, thus incorrectly awarding the pot to his opponent.
Chat posted on popular online poker forums is in line with the story. DOUBLEBALLER returned from being disconnected and confronted Hellmuth about the incident. Curiously, upon DOUBLEBALLER’s return, Hellmuth was seen typing phrases in the chat such as “I play U limit, right now” and “miracle U beat me.” Hellmuth stated in the Tokwiro-issued press release, “I am one of the most watched players on the Internet and all I can say is that it is pretty obvious that there was no malicious intent and even more obvious that UB handled this problem well. The important thing here is that I continue to have a ton of trust in UB’s software and new management team.”
In the process of fixing the disconnection issue, Ultimate Bet introduced a new error onto its servers which resulted in 36 pots being awarded erroneously. The statement read, “All players have been reimbursed for these hands as well.” The game types that were adversely affected as part of the 36 hands were in low-limit Razz, Stud, and Hold’em.
Meanwhile, the online poker room’s technical staff is busy combing through past hands dealt on Ultimate Bet’s virtual felts looking for other potential instances where the same error that affected DOUBLEBALLER may have occurred. So far, no such problems have been found from hand histories in November and December.
The hand in question was number 1162170993. It kicked off at 4:15am ET early Saturday morning. The final board read K-K-J-2-9. Hellmuth held the Doyle Brunson hand, 10-2, for a pair of twos. DOUBLEBALLER held K-Q for trip kings. In the end, Hellmuth scooped a $5,599 pot with his inferior hand. In chat posted between the two players, Hellmuth suggested that DOUBLEBALLER may have been “booted,” which turned out to be the root cause of the problem. Hellmuth entered the hand with $4,495, shy of DOUBLEBALLER’s stack of $7,494.
Ultimate Bet recently merged with Absolute Poker to form the CEREUS poker network. The two sites are both run by Tokwiro Enterprises, which is owned by Joe Norton. They were recently the subjects of a feature piece by CBS News program “60 Minutes,” which focused on the cheating scandals on each of the two sites. Ultimate Bet claimed that the simultaneous occurrence of the pot being awarded and DOUBLEBALLER’s disconnect was the primary cause. It added, “Had the disconnection happened literally a millisecond sooner or later, the error would not have transpired.”
On Saturday, Tokwiro Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett posted on Ultimate Bet’s blog that an error had occurred and that site officials were investigating. Many posters were irate that the incident had involved one of the site’s marquee names. Hellmuth owns the record for the most number of World Series of Poker bracelets won with 11. Along with Annie Duke, he serves as the main face behind its marketing and promotional efforts.