It’s been an interesting week. I’ve gone from being not involved at all to being heavily involved and it’s been a pretty crazy week on 2 plus 2.
As you may know, I went on PokerRoad Big Poker Sundays to talk about the latest developments in the scandal. See my post here. I also just finished listening to PokerRoad Radio with Barry Greenstein and others regarding their meeting with Russ Hamilton.
The general idea behind their show this evening was that they talked to Russ, Russ doesn’t know what’s going on, his lawyers won’t let him talk publicly and that everything will be resolved within three months. Honestly — I find it hard to believe that Russ doesn’t know what’s going on. I do concede that, in a very extreme circumstance, it is theoretically possible that Russ didn’t have any idea what was going on, but I just don’t believe it. I need to see the evidence showing otherwise in order to change my mind.
Regarding whether Russ actually did the cheating — he told Barry & Co that it wasn’t him doing the cheating and that the investigation will prove that. Once again, I find it hard to believe, but I find a denial of his direct involvement less hard to believe than I do that he doesn’t even know what happened. Once again, it’s possible that his friends either purposefully or inadvertently set him up to look like the beneficiary of the cheating. Definitely possible. Hard to believe? Absolutely.
I’m pretty torn here. It seems to me like pretty much everyone except for Gavin Smith and Phil Hellmuth tends to think that Russ is a shady character. I’ve never met the guy — I wouldn’t know. But other people certainly don’t go around saying nice things about him. So it isn’t like some unscathed fairy is being dragged through the mud here — I believe he’s a self-admitted hustler (and if it isn’t self-admitted, then my mistake). That being said… IF (emphasis on if) he’s innocent, it’s certainly unfortunate that the evidence pointed towards him before the full story came out. I won’t apologize for what I did because all I did was show hard evidence to the community at large (note that I never said he cheated people, I just said it was a home that he owned on a cheating account — that’s definitely true), but I would actually feel bad for the guy.
On the other hand, a part of me just wants to say: “**** that guy, his fingerprints are all over this, he deserves it.” And he hasn’t said a peep publicly yet to say “I’m being set up” or “This is all my friends doing this stuff and I had no idea” or even the AP story of “It was a highly trusted consultant acting alone” or whatever else could possibly be a reason why he wasn’t involved. That smacks of guilt. Would an innocent person sit there quietly and/or only talk to people when lawyers are sitting there? I don’t know. I know that I wouldn’t. Maybe there’s something that I’m not considering about why he wouldn’t defend himself publicly.
Either way, this has been a bit of rambling entry, but I guess we don’t have any choice but to wait and see how this shakes out. I’m definitely interested to see what sort of story comes out about why Russ wasn’t involved at all in this cheating. I’m sure it will be some variation of being set up, not paying attention to what his friends were doing, some rogue employees or something along those lines. Personally, I won’t believe it unless the story is detailed, realistic and the people who are guilty are both named and punished (and we are sure that they’re actually punished). There’s no way I’d ever believe it if Russ came out and said: “A highly trusted friend of mine did this under my nose with the cooperation of a single rogue programmer. As a team, they systematically cheated the system under everyone’s nose for years and this comes as a huge shock to all of us. Both individuals have been taken off of my Christmas card list.” — that won’t fly because, frankly, it’s bullshit. Who gave “CH” the order to change those names? Why did “CH” listen to that person? Where did all of the money go? Why are the Makar name and Hamilton address attached to one of the many cheating accounts? There are about 100 other questions to be asked. Either way — details, names, punishment… I want to see it. Then there’s a chance I’ll change my mind.
For now it’s waiting game.