Expanded thoughts on Ultimate Beat Pt 1: Money wasn’t the only thing lost

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  • Published November 12th, 2013 in Poker

Scott Bell pulled back the curtain on the Ultimate Beat super-user scandal in his recently released documentary, Ultimate Beat: Too much to lose which you can purchase here. In this three-part series I want to offer up some expanded thoughts on different aspects of the Super-User period and how it relates to poker in general.

In each part I’ll offer up my thoughts on a different aspect of the super-user cheating:

  • Part 1: Players didn’t just lose money
  • Part 2: Was this exclusive to AP and UB?
  • Part 3: Who was at fault?

Players didn’t just lose money

Thesis: The money won/stolen by the Super-Users is just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s nearly impossible to calculate how much money was really stolen by the Super-Users at Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, and it would be even more difficult to try to calculate how much financial havoc was thrust upon the affected players beyond their at the table losses.

Sure the Super-Users decimated some players at the poker tables, but think about the fallout from these monetary losses:

  • How many players quit poker over these losses; lacking confidence in their poker skills?
  • How many personal relationships were destroyed?
  • How many players turned to drugs and other vices?
  • How many people borrowed to try to chase their UB losses?

Basically, the super-users didn’t just steal money from well-to-do poker players; they destroyed many lives and left behind an utterly disgusted and cynical poker world, that not only has major trust issues to this day (as well they should) but many people in the poker community have a “well everyone else is cheating me and cutting corners attitude” that they themselves have become mini-angle-shooters and corner-cutters.

So it might be easy to summarize the super-user scandals by looking at the bottom line –the currently used number of $22 million is staggering for sure—but the true measure of the super-user era is pretty much incalculable.

I say this because the super-user scandal was so far reaching; it affected dozens to possibly hundreds of players. The victim wasn’t a single player we could put a face to. We couldn’t say, “Wow, that sucks, but you should have been more careful,” because when it came to the super-user scandal every person’s situation was unique.

For instance, Brad Booth stubbornly continued playing at Ultimate Bet despite losing his shirt (almost literally) and going into debt to chase his losses on UB. So it could be argued that he should have quit the site well before it came to that point.

But other players were simply one-time victims, or as Amarillo Slim would say, “Sheep that were sheared”, so how could they have ever protected themselves against being cheated?

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