This week, Joe Sebok gave two interviews to address the recent announcements regarding the UltimateBet superuser scandal. If you recall, over the past few weeks, Travis Makar released two e-mails, one that contained a “God Mode” attachment and one that centered on a blackmail situation between UB COO Paul Leggett and Zoltan “Brainwashdodo” Rozsa.
On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, Sebok sat down with Mark Gahagan and Matt Kaufman of CardRunners for an interview regarding Makar, the missing UB histories, and to present some answers from Leggett on previously posed questions. To kick things off, Sebok claimed that UB attempted to reach out to Makar but had difficulties connecting. When asked whether Makar had reciprocated their attempts to communicate, Sebok was unsure but emphasized he wanted any and all information to be released if at all possible.
The hosts went on to ask whether UB would be prepared to offer refunds if missing hand histories — which are 10 percent of the hands associated with the superuser accounts — were revealed and showed that additional accounts had been cheated. Sebok responded that he believed so but that many critics would never be satisfied no matter what the new UB does to rectify the situation, and that at some point you have to say “enough is enough” in regards to the refunds.
The interview proceeded to turn its attention to the extortion e-mail between Rozsa and Leggett. Sebok claimed to have talked to Leggett, who admitted writing the e-mail, and believed the correspondence didn’t prove anything except that Leggett considered paying the money, an act Sebok found to be natural and nonsuspicious.*
*The act of considering to pay, not actually paying, which Sebok agreed would be wrong.
Late in the interview, the host revealed that they had given Sebok questions to pose directly to Leggett. Sebok had done just that and brought back answers discussing a number of issues. First, Leggett wanted to clarify a previous statement that he had never met nor spoken with Russ Hamilton. Leggett’s response confirmed that he had never met Hamilton, but that he did in fact speak with him once during the early stages of the superuser investigation. Second, the rumor that Leggett sent armed thugs to Rozsa’s house to intimidate him was not in context. Instead, it was simply a company guard sent to verify Rozsa’s home address. Finally, Leggett confirmed that no one working for or involved with the current UB company was associated with the cheating scandal.
A few days later, on Sunday, March 6, 2011, Sebok sat down for another interview with Poker Static Hot Seat hosts Bret Oliverio and Eric Bickel. There he reiterated what he said in the CardRunners interview but in a manner that seemed a bit more composed and scripted. It was there that Sebok admitted:
“We have to be able to say, ‘Hey, we screwed up.’ And probably this e-mail communication is one of those things, ‘Hey, we screwed up. We probably shouldn’t have dealt with this guy but we did. It doesn’t make us Russ Hamiltons ... it doesn’t mean we cheated with him, but let’s own up to it and say hey we did this thing ... It’s a far cry from the actual, did they help these guys cheat ... That has always been my stance, if I ever find any information that says these guys did this, or Paul is lying to me, or anything like that, then I’ll leave. I’ve said that for a long, long time.”
Sebok went on to urge anyone with information — whether it be Makar, poker media outlets, or even Haley Hintze — to make it available to everyone. Hintze, of course is the woman who has taken it upon herself to conduct an in-depth investigation into the superuser scandal, often revealing her findings in her blog. Speaking of Hintze, in her latest post, dated February 28, 2011, she examined the aforementioned e-mail in detail and previewed the focus of her upcoming post.
“I have very strong reasons to believe that ‘superuser1’ will turn out to be company founder Greg Pierson, and I will devote a very lengthy Volume 30 of this series to laying out the extensive circumstantial case that points to Pierson. It's a post I've delayed writing for quite some time, partly in hopes that a true smoking gun would emerge to buttress the many puzzle pieces I've already obtained. It's also a distasteful post, as it goes into motive for the entire UB cheating scandal getting started, something no outside investigator has yet adequately explained.”
Given that Hintze’s aforementioned blog had not been released at the time of the interviews, the topic was obviously not addressed. However, it does suggest that this story will become more complicated in the near future. To summarize what Sebok said in the two interviews:
- He wants the information to come out and urges Makar, and anyone else with pertinent information, to come forward.
- He urged Leggett to be forward and honest about his email correspondence with “Brainwashdodo.”
- Just because a company doesn’t want information to come out does not necessarily mean it is “cheating” related.
- If he finds out Leggett has been lying and the new UB played a role in the cheating scandal, then he will leave the company.
While Sebok did not necessarily present new information, the interviews drew a lot of attention from the poker community. Some were reassured by Sebok, while others were not convinced; for example, Todd Witteles, one of Sebok’s biggest and most outspoken critics took to the DonkDown forums and offered his opinion on the latter interview.
“I actually hated this interview a lot more than the Cardrunners one. At least the Cardrunners one featured some brutal honesty on Joe's part — that he didn't feel people deserved to be paid back if they persisted with their ‘hating’ on him and UB. This [Poker Static] interview featured Joe staying calm and repeating that he'll resign if any proof comes to light that UB's crooked, but that he has faith in Paul Leggett/UB. He basically answered nothing. This interview also focused more on Joe himself and less about UB. Nobody cares that much about Joe's own plight. I want to see reps like Joe squirm when they are asked the tough UB-related questions.”
Given the fact that Hintze is preparing to release more information, and that Makar continues to withhold his evidence, it is clear the UltimateBet superuser scandal drama is far from over. As always, PokerNews will be here to bring you any and all developments as they happen.