In Part 1of this series I laid out the timeline for the new information that has come to light in the UB Super-User scandal since the emergence of Travis Makar. In this part of the series I want to focus on Makar, and take a look at precisely what proof and evidence he has produced, and what his possible motivations for coming forward at this time might be.
What struck me as odd when I first listened to Travis Makar’s debut appearance on the DonkDown Radio show was, why now? What could possibly be motivating Travis Makar to break his silence over two years after the case broke, and nearly a year after his name was first attached to the case?
Makar’s reason was that he was tired of his name being dragged through the mud, and his school-age kids being harassed. Personally I find this hard to believe, I follow the case a lot closer than most in the poker community, and a hell of a lot closer than the average citizen in Utah –where Makar lives—and I don’t think I could place his name if someone spoke it prior to him coming forward. I mean we are not talking about a name like Bernie Madoff or Charles Keating; realistically outside of a couple hundred hard-core poker enthusiasts who would know Makar’s back-story? If Russ Hamilton can play poker in Florida virtually anonymous is Travis Makar really being harassed?
Also, if you are accused of something you didn’t do, why would you wait a year to clear your name? Wouldn’t you come out right away, vehemently denying it? After all, your name is being linked to a $20+ million online cheating scandal, not to an infidelity, drug charge, or other offense that will die down and go away by ignoring it.
So if I don’t quite believe his stated reasons, why did he come forward? Perhaps it stems from his arrest in Utah, which was the genesis of the prank phone call in the first place. Perhaps he is looking to get paid. Who is really to say what his motives might be –surely not me—but they do need to be taken into consideration. But I can say that I don’t fully believe his stated motive for the above reasons.
While this has no bearing on the veracity of his UB claims, all of which seemed to be steeped in truth, or what Makar’s version of the truth is; it does raise the golden question of: What is in it for you?
So what has Makar provided us in terms of evidence? So far we have a couple of E-Mails, and some provocative statements that are just vague enough that they can’t be investigated further without Makar –he is basically the ultimate dead-end in the case.
Now, obviously Makar is privy to some private internal correspondence from Ultimate Bet, hence the leaked E-Mails, but I’m curious as to why he cannot release other information he claims to have? Was it obtained illegally? And his overall knowledge of what he called a second cheating scandal seemed to be on par with a low-level employee who hears a one-sided phone call and draws inferences from it.
So, while I definitely think Makar is sitting on some evidence, I’m not entirely sure he even knows what it is, and if it is anything that will change the investigation, and once again I have to call his motivation into question. Unlike the DonkDown hosts and other people following the story I’m not as quick to dismiss his role in the Super-User scandal or to think he is sitting on the smoking gun. DonkDown host Todd Witteles keeps pointing out that UB has had two years to doctor Hand Histories –well isn’t the same true of Travis Makar if he also has been sitting on Hand Histories or other evidence for two years? From everything he has stated the case is no further along than it was before he came out of hiding. Statements like “more people were involved”, and “I know the names of the cheaters”, are great but don’t really tell us anything.
Makar seems like he was a periphery player in the scandal, who was mainly kept in the dark, but after the scandal came to light he realized he was sitting on all kinds of evidence!
Personally I think the current situation at UB Poker is as Makar has stated –in his less provocative statements—that evidence was destroyed by the cheaters. And without the evidence how can we expect the current UB players to answer our questions in any meaningful way, or make right by the affected players if they don’t know the extent of the cheating?
Which is why in Part 3 I’ll take a look at the responses by Joe Sebok and Paul Leggett to the latest allegations.