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“The story of one online poker site that defrauded its customers for years. When caught, nobody is arrested, indicted or convicted and the fraudsters paid back far less than they stole.” ~Ultimate Beat Teaser
The much anticipated documentary by Scott “elevengrover” Bell covering the Ultimate Bet super-user scandal, Ultimate Beat: too much to lose, was released on Tuesday night and after two viewings I’ve offered up my thoughts on the film below.
The film is available at Vimeo.com, and can be purchased as a rental for $2.99, or bought for $5.99 with the final cut of the film coming in at 94 minutes.
Let me start off by using a poker training site analogy to explain the film’s overall message: Ultimate Beat isn’t a “you should always raise if you are opening the pot” type of film for rank amateurs. It’s more akin to a training video about 4-bet shoving ranges against a tight/semi-aggressive player in blind vs. blind scenarios.
The film’s target audience is experienced poker players who are interested in the goings on of the poker world. If you’ve never opened one of the super-user scandal threads on PocketFives.com or twoplustwo.com this film is probably going to be way over your head and at times quite boring –although you will get the general gist of it and a little pre- or post-mortem research will greatly enhance your ability to follow along with the story.
You can tell the film could easily have easily been released in three three-hour installments, a la Lord of the Rings, (and I would have watched every minute of it) but Bell did a good job of cutting things down without losing too much content.
The film is not simply a rehashing of what we know from the forums; there are plenty of new and/or seldom discussed angles covered in Bell’s Ultimate Beat.
Additionally, if you’re like me, and your head starts spinning when three different people on 2+2 are debating timelines of shell companies and what screen-name can be linked to which player than Ultimate Beat will be a very helpful aid to your understanding of the whole affair.
The film does a great job of detailing what is a very complex web of cheating accounts, dupe accounts, unwitting players used as transfer mules, and shell companies on top of shell companies. As I said above, it will be tough to follow for the unitiated, but players with some knowledge of what happened should be able to follow along without too much trouble.
At times it will be a little tough to follow for everyone, and I doubt even the most up-to-date follower of the UB scandal will be able to digest everything on the first viewing.
Bell did a good job of not speculating too much, instead he leaves it to the viewer to decide if the segment was a dead-end or perhaps needs to be hashed-out even further down the road.
I had almost completely forgotten how horrible Ultimate Bet’s hand histories were, both in terms of functionality and consistency in saving. Looking back I do remember having to take extra steps to get UB hand histories to save to PokerTracker and also that many would go missing.
Why do so many poker players wear “broken-in” polo shirts with misshapen collars when they are interviewed?
While the film offers some closure to the entire ordeal, it’s readily apparent (especially in the final act) that we’ve only scratched the surface as to who was involved and what occurred at Ultimate Bet.
I feel the film is a must-watch for poker players –especially those poker players out there who think they are smarter than everyone else and couldn’t possibly be victimized. Kudos to Scott Bell for spending so much time and energy on this project.