UB Documentary and some other stuff

In a couple of days I’m going to be interviewed for the UltimateBeat project (linked to their kickstarter). It’s a documentary about the UltimateBet scandal that took place mostly in 2008 although the cheating spanned a number of years prior to the scandal itself. I’ve always felt like my role in uncovering things at both AP and UB was a bit overstated in the poker community. In reality, I didn’t do most of the work (especially with UB) or spend a lot of time on things. I basically just swooped in at various points and found something or other that was important — and got more credit than I deserved for it. One of the big things in the UB scandal was this post where I realized that it was Russ Hamilton’s house that was listed as the address of record for a number of the cheating accounts at UB. It still didn’t really prove anything but it definitely made people realize that there was a better possibility that Russ Hamilton was involved. Oddly enough, that house appears to have been sold about two weeks ago! Funny timing. I wonder if the guy who bought it has any idea of its history. I won’t write the guy’s name or address on this blog because I don’t want it to ever pop up in search results if he’s ever doing some curiousity googling.

One thing I guess I should explain is why I would do this interview when I turned down 60 Minutes several years ago. The reason is that I didn’t really trust 60 Minutes to present a fair picture for online poker as a whole. I said that I would do the 60 Minutes interview if they would devote half of the segment to covering PokerStars and, as I knew they would, they said no. The mainstream media is generally more concerned with showing the problems with an industry. Of course, UltimateBeat will just cover the scandal and probably not talk about the better half of online poker. So why am I do this interview? First, the main difference for me is that it’s a documentary being done by 2p2ers who know online poker. I can be pretty sure that they won’t condemn online poker as a whole. Second, my view in late 2012 is different from my view in 2008. In 2008 I was more concerned with defending the unregulated (except by dummy organizations) online poker climate because I still believed that online poker sites would be smart enough to run their businesses intelligently. I thought that UB/AP was one lone rogue organization and that the Stars, FTPs, etc of the world were fine and deserved to be cut some slack because they were operating in such a difficult climate with regards to processing and such. Well, things have changed. FTP was exposed, unregulated poker in the US is all but dead and it’s basically now just a waiting game to see what sorts of regulated options pop up. Stars proved itself to be the only professionally run poker site that was operating in the US post-UIGEA. Either way, I no longer really care about protecting unregulated online poker’s reputation. Not only was it proven to be unsafe (although, I think it would have been different if there weren’t so many issues with processing) but it’s all but gone. So whatever. I don’t mind if people are scared off from playing on a random offshore site simply because they don’t really exist in any significant manner anymore. At the time, I really believed that Stars/FTP/etc were safe options and that the US gov’t was to blame for forcing them offshore. I never intentionally wanted to protect some site that I thought was doing something illegitimate.

So, other than UltimateBeat, I’m just doing the usual stuff. Lifting, eating, sleeping, etc. I’ve got a few trips booked. First I’m headed to Vegas in about a month. I’ll be there for a week but I’m mainly going for things related to lifting. My friend John Broz (a really good Olympic lifting coach and a great guy) is based there and I’m going to be lifting at his gym for a week along with doing some things related hookgrip.com (my new lifting website that’s launching sooner or later). In addition to the Vegas trip, I’m going out to California in late Nov/early Dec for a lifting competition called the American Open. I’m not nearly good enough at Olympic lifting to compete in it but I’ll go to take pictures and such. I also have a bunch of friends who will be competing so it’ll be fun to support them. And, speaking of lifting competitions, my gym (called CrossFit Center City) is hosting a local Olympic lifting meet on Sept 23rd and they decided to name it “The hookgrip Classic” because I loan the gym a lot of Olympic lifting equipment. Pretty cool! I’ll be in attendance.

I’m also realizing that I have too much stuff. Just too many random possessions that I don’t use. It isn’t like I’m on the level of someone on Hoarders or even close to that but I tend to buy things and try them out and then move on. Sometimes I come across something awesome that I use a lot and I’m really glad that I bought it. But oftentimes I buy something and then realize I don’t actually like it and just stop using it. Just to be clear, I don’t mind doing this. I think it’s worth taking shots with some things because they can improve your life a lot. But at some point it’s time to clear out what I’ve built up and discarded. For instance, I have a $300+ electric razor — but I prefer wet shaving these days. And I have a 20+ hour external Mac battery (used to be called HyperMac, now called HyperJuice) but I really just don’t use it anymore with the battery life on my laptop. And I have MyVu glasses for watching iPod/iPhone video. And a lot more things kind of like that. So I think I need to go on an eBay/craigslist purge over the next several weeks. I’m looking forward to it. I did something similar before I moved from Vegas (I figured there was no point in moving a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really use) and it felt great to cut down on useless (to me) possessions.

2 thoughts on “UB Documentary and some other stuff

  1. Dangerhorse

    Nat, have you done your due diligence investigating the quality of this production? I always had the impression that Scott Bell’s stuff was a bit on the lunatic fringe, verging into tin-foil-hat territory. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the people behind the UB and Absolute scams exposed, ridiculed and ideally prosecuted. But a documentary lacking in credibility would not advance the cause.

  2. Nat Post author

    It definitely has been on that fringe and I’m aware of it. I weighed the positives and negatives and decided that at this point it really doesn’t matter. I’m only going to say what I believe and whatever else he decides to interject is really not of major importance to me. As long as he doesn’t do some sort of absurd editing job to make me look like I said something that I didn’t mean at all (ie, taking a misleading sentence out of a paragraph) then I won’t really care.

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