Following the release of tapes allegedly made by Russ Hamiltondiscussing the cheating scandal and its subsequent cover-up at Ultimate Bet, former UB pro Annie Duke(pictured) weighed in with her reaction. Duke’s name was mentioned, in part, in the following context at one point during the recordings, which publicly came to light over the weekend: “The tools [that allowed the cheats to see players’ hole cards] were regularly set for a 15-minute delay… Annie Duke used it on a 15-minute delay quite a few times.”
Duke’s response came in the form of three successive Tweets on Saturday that began with, “I had access to the delayed viewing of cards only for a few UB tournament events where I was a radio commentator.” She added, “This delayed viewing was made public during those broadcasts and is standard practice for WSOP commentators for live events also.” No mention of what tournaments the tool was employed during or over what time period it was used was given.
Duke followed up those two Tweets with one final one, singling out those who had perhaps rushed to judgment after listening to the tapes: “Sad a few folks making accusations and assumptions without fully appreciating this.”
According to FlushDraw, Duke’s access to the program might have been more in-depth than a 15-minute delay on a few broadcasts. At one point during the recording, according to the site, cheating scandal ringleader Russ Hamilton explained, “Annie Duke even had a copy of it with a five-minute delay.”
FlushDraw pointed out, “It should additionally be noted that Hamilton is the only person on the recordings expressing anything about Duke’s knowledge or possession of the software. Furthermore, Hamilton is also the only one present with knowledge that the meetings were being recorded, and thus any of his contributions to the discussions must be considered accordingly.”
FlushDraw added that fellow UB front man Phil Hellmuth (pictured) could have also had access to and/or knowledge of the delayed viewing software: “Duke’s reference to the earlier audio commentaries on UB tournaments also recalls that Hellmuth participated in such broadcasts as well, frequently providing commentary for UBOC events. Such would suggest Hellmuth presumably also had the same delayed access to hole card information Duke references in her Tweet.”
Hellmuth reacted to the tapes over the weekend by saying he “made a horrible read” about the true nature of his relationship with Ultimate Bet and admitted that he should have spoke out far sooner. You can read Hellmuth’s full UB reaction.
Duke has been largely MIA from the live poker scene since early 2012 when her Epic Poker League filed for bankruptcy. Its assets and the assets of its parent company were auctioned off to Pinnacle Entertainment for $4.5 million last June.