I recently had an experience with Ultimate Bet that can best be described as “shady”. I don’t feel that the evidence warrants accusing them of outright theft, so I’m just going to post a factual account of what happened and let people make up their own minds:
In 2007 and 2008, I had an active account on Ultimate Bet. I played in their bigger tournaments and in cash games ranging from 5/10 to 25/50 NL. When the extent of the cheating that had taken place on UB began coming to light, I withdrew the entire balance of my account and have not played on there since.
On January 24, I discovered an old e-mail from UB , dated 2/19/2010, in my spam folder. The e-mail informed me that I had $1040.26 in my account and encouraged me to come play on the site. I do not know for certain where the money came from. My best guess is that it was a superuser refund, but to my knowledge (it could also have been lost to a spam filter, though I think the other email got scammed primarily because it was an auto-generated advertisement), I never received an e-mail or anything explaining that I would be getting a refund.
The old e-mail that I stumbled upon was NOT a notification that money had been credited to my account. It seemed to be an advertisement sent automatically because I had not logged in for a while, informing me that there was money in my account and encouraging me to return to UB to use it.
I have no intention of playing on UB anytime soon, but I downloaded the software and logged into my account intending to withdraw the $1040.26. Upon logging in, I received a message that my account was unavailable and that I needed to e-mail support, which I did:
I attempted to log-in to my account this morning and received a message
saying it was unavailable. I assume this is because it has been quite
some time since my last log-in. Is there something I need to do to get
access to the account and its contents again?
The next day, they responded:
We checked your account and we are pleased to inform you that at this moment, your UB account is in good standing and has no security blocks or restrictions. Please try to log in once again, and in case you experience any other issues, please let us know.
It’s not clear whether they are saying that there was never a restriction on my account or that they lifted whatever restriction there was, but in any event I was able to log-in successfully. I was not surprised to see that my account balance was $0. I wrote back immediately:
Thank you, I was able to log in successfully today. Unfortunately, there
seems to be $1040.26 missing from my account. Allow me to explain:
Several years ago, I decided to stop playing on UB. I cashed out my
balance, deleted the software from my computer, and never logged in again.
Yesterday, quite by accident, I found an e-mail in spam folder informing
me that I had a balance of $1040.26 in my account. This e-mail is dated
2/19/2010, but because it was caught by my spam filter, I never saw it
until now. I am assuming that this was a refund I was issued in
connection with the cheating that occurred on UB.
Upon logging it in today, I find that I have a balance of $0.
Obviously, I would like to know what happened to the $1040.26. If you
could please look into this and get back to me, I would greatly
The next day, the money was back in my account, no questions asked and no explanation given:
We are pleased to inform you that your account has been reactivated and you should now be able to log in. Also, we have put back $1040.26 to your UB account.
When playing in our poker room, please abide by our Terms and Conditions at all times.
Important: Sometimes players experience difficulties logging in from the lobby after having their account reinstated. Please follow the instructions below to ensure that you can access your UB account without issue.
1. Open the UB software.
2. Go to a table.
3. Choose an empty seat to sit down.
4. Proceed with the login process from there.
We appreciate your patience in this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.
After withdrawing the funds and confirming that they were safely in my bank account, I asked for an explanation as to why the money was removed from my account. Here is the response that I got:
Thank you for contacting us.
In regard to your last message, please be informed that funds were on hold since we found out that your account was inactive for more than 6 months.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.
I find this suspicious for a few reasons:
1. I don’t know at what point the money was removed, but my account had been inactive for well over 6 months when the initial e-mail “reminding” me about the $1040.26 was sent.
2. The money was not automatically restored to my account when I re-activated it. More than 24 hours passed between the time that security informed me I could log in to my account and the time that the money was restored to my account.
3. Significantly, the money was not restored until I asked about it, but was restored immediately when I asked about it. In retrospect I wish I had allowed more time to pass before asking, just to see what happened, but it seems to me that they had no intention of putting that money back into my account had I not inquired.
In their defense, the User Agreement does state that
If you do not access your Account by logging onto the UB servers and using the Services offered by UB for any consecutive period of 180 days your Account will be deemed inactive, and may be deemed abandoned. UB is entitled to charge you periodic administrative fee(s) during the period that your Account remains inactive, up to the extent of your Account balance. Without limitation, if your Account is deemed by UB to be abandoned, your Account may be closed, this Agreement may be terminated, and/or UB may take the other actions or remedies set forth in Section 8.2 of this Agreement.
The primary reason that I have problem with them confiscating money from the account in this case is that, as best I can surmise, the only reason that there was money in there at all was because of the cheating that occurred on their site. In that case, this was a refund that I was issued when I was no longer an active player and would have no reason to realize that this money had been added to my account. I’m sure I’m not the only person to receive a refund after cashing out my account never to return, and it doesn’t seem right to me that they can take this money back after 6 months of inactivity.
I gave them one last chance to explain themselves before posting this:
Thank you. I am still unclear on what happened, though.
Where did this $1040.26 come from? Was it a refund from the Russ Hamilton/superuser incident? If so, why was I not informed that I had received this refund?
What does it mean that the funds were “on hold”? Would they have been returned to my account if I hadn’t asked about them?
This was sent on February 4, 2011. It is now the 21st, and they have not responded, so I’m posting this as a PSA to others who may be in a similar situation and generally as yet another warning that UB is still engaged in shady practices.
Cliff’s Notes: I stopped playing on UB years ago and cashed out my balance. For some reason, possibly as a superuser refund, $1040.26 was credited to my account without my knowledge. I eventually found in my spam folder an old advertising email from UB telling me there was still money in my account. When I logged in, the money was gone. I wrote to ask why, and they returned the money with no explanation. When further pressed, they told me the money was “on hold” because of my extended inactivity but did not respond to further questions. I was able to cash out the money.