There has been plenty of news brewing over the weekend regarding the former owners and decision-makers of Ultimate Bet allegedly conspiring to cover up the cheating at the now defunct online poker room. Consequently, Ultimate Poker, the first regulated real money online poker site in the U.S., and which had ties to a verification service that was linked to Ultimate Bet called Iovation, has taken action of its own.
Over the weekend, an Ultimate Poker representative posted on Two Plus Two that the relationship between Ultimate Poker and Iovation had gone the way of the dodo: “As of late Thursday night, May 9th, Ultimate Poker discontinued the use of all services from Iovation. We understand that there were concerns among some of our customers; we hope this makes our players feel more comfortable.”
Leading up to the announcement, many poker players had listened to the recordings allegedly made by Russ Hamilton regarding a cover-up at Ultimate Bet. The tapes, which you can find links to in this article, included the following about Iovation: “It’s not taking the ultra high road. It’s not saying we’re not going to do anything. It’s something in between, but the point is they’re interested in coming up with reasonable arguments to minimize it. That’s a big part of what Iovation is doing right now.”
Iovation’s brain trust included the likes of Ultimate Bet’s Greg Pierson. It created Ultimate Bet’s software that included the ability for hole cards to be seen and players to be cheated out of millions of dollars.
Prior to Ultimate Poker severing ties with Iovation, a witch-hunt of sorts was brewing. One poster on Two Plus Two claimed that he had reached out to several major media outlets to alert them about the link between Iovation and Ultimate Poker: “E-mailed John L. Smith Review Journal. Reno Gazette and LV Sun other medias to contact.”
Others alerted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and another poster remarked, “I published an article about this on a site carried by Google News. Hopefully, this will get the ball rolling on getting this info out into the mainstream.”
Pierson is still listed as an Iovation Board member and is the company’s CEO and Co-Founder; he also founded Ultimate Bet in 2000. As such, many posters were irate that Iovation had been permitted to do business in Nevada in the first place, with one poster on Two Plus Two saying, “Very cool that Ultimate Poker acted so quickly. I hope NGC or somebody still gives this a look. It’s so infuriating that no authority has ever bothered with this.”
What verification company Ultimate Poker is using now that Iovation is out of the picture is not clear.
Still in the mix in the United States is former Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker COO Paul Leggett, who is now the Head of Online at Amaya Gaming, which owns the Ongame Network. Amaya has ties in Nevada to Bally Technologies and signed an online poker operating agreement with Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun.