Poker pro Phil Hellmuth has issued a public statement, in which he regretted his 12-year-long association with Ultimate Bet as its minority owner and early investor. The professional poker player issued his statement through Brian Balsbaugh, president of Poker Royalty, and it was first published on Two Plus Two Forums by Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers, an independent compiler of poker news.
Hellmuth decided to issue a public statement after a former Ultimate Bet computer expert published an audio tape secretly made by Russ Hamilton, former Ultimate Bet owner. The audio tape contains a recording of Russ Hamilton and his associates discussing how they had cheated Ultimate Bet players from 2003 and 2007.
Travis Makar, the former UB computer expert, had published a large amount of data related to Ultimate Bet and this 3-hour-long recording, which Russ Hamilton had secretly created early in 2008, formed part of it. Apparently, Balsbaugh and Hellmuth listened to this audio tape, after which Hellmuth decided to issue a public statement. In the recording, Russ Hamilton and his associates could be heard discussing ways to keep Hellmuth ignorant about the cheating at Ultimate Bet.
Hellmuth stated that he was disgusted when he heard how Hamilton and his associates planned to keep him in the dark regarding the cheating. Simultaneously, he acknowledged that he had willingly risked his reputation by continuing to be a spokesperson for Ultimate Bet to attract new players to the online poker room.
Hellmuth further says, “At the time, I was led to believe that if I left UB right away the business would be impacted and then less likely to pay its obligations to the victims. As such, I made the decision to believe the leaders of UB and stayed on in the hopes that they would make right to anyone cheated.” His statement also reveals that Hamilton and his associates had lied to him and that he had “made a big mistake in trusting them for way too long.”
Hellmuth parted ways with Ultimate Bet in Dec 2010, shortly before the US federal government cracked down on it on April 15, 2011, a day known as “Black Friday.” Hellmuth has, however, not spoken about his share in Excapsa, parent company of Ultimate Bet, and iovation, an online security company owned by Greg Pierson. While Hellmuth has made references to UB founders, he has not mentioned that he had been associated with Ultimate Bet long before Hamilton stepped into the picture.