Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

More articles by Vin Narayanan

Phil Hellmuth lost, but UltimateBet still shipped him the pot

22 December 2008
By Vin Narayanan

UltimateBet is facing new questions about the integrity of its software after its system paid out UB pitchman Phil Hellmuth with the losing hand instead of the player with the winning hand on Dec 20.

The glitch, which was first reported on the TwoPlusTwo poker forums, has been fixed according to a statement released Tuesday by UltimateBet's parent company, Tokwiro Enterprises.

TwoPlusTwo is the same online poker community that unraveled the "super user" scandal that plagued UltimateBet earlier this year.

According to the hand history posted on TwoPlusTwo, "DOUBLEBALLER" should have won $5,599 with three kings against Hellmuth's mucked hand on a $200/$400 Hold'em table. But instead, the system shipped the cash over to Hellmuth.

"After learning of the incident, we credited the player the correct prize to his account," said Tokwiro's COO Paul Leggett. "We then began an investigation into the malfunction."

"We have concluded that the malfunction occurred because the winning player disconnected from the table at the precise millisecond when the software was awarding the pot, in conjunction with the 'player's state' data being cleared from the memory cache," Leggett added.

UltimateBet ran into more problems when its initial fix for the problem created a new bug in the system.

"While enhancing the software to prevent this malfunction from occurring again, we introduced a new defect that caused 36 hands to award incorrect payouts," Leggett said. "All players have been reimbursed for these hands as well."

"We have implemented a new method into the code and updated the game servers," Leggett continued. "Both errors are no longer reproducible. Furthermore, we are conducting extensive tests to simulate every possible disconnection scenario to ensure this type of malfunction cannot occur in the future."

The Tokwiro statement also included a response from Phil Hellmuth, who says he is confident in UltimateBet's software and management team.

"The only time in my life where I've had one pair beat three of a kind is when I made a big bluff in a poker tournament and now because of a software malfunction in online poker," Hellmuth said. "I am one of the most watched players on the Internet, and all I can say is that it is pretty obvious that there was no malicious intent and even more obvious that UB handled this problem well. Sometimes these things happen on the Internet. The important thing here is that I continue to have a ton of trust in UB's software and new management team."

"DOUBLEBALLER," posting under the name "DaBruce" at TwoPlusTwo, confirmed that UltimateBet has refunded the money he lost.

This weekend's glitch marks the second time this year that UltimateBet's software has come under public fire.

In May, Tokwiro Enterprises admitted UltimateBet security had been breached by former employees and accounts with access to opponent's hole cards were used to cheat in high-stakes games. AbsolutePoker, also owned by Tokwiro, was plagued by a similar scandal last year.

Phil Hellmuth lost, but UltimateBet still shipped him the pot is republished from