The Persecution of Jack Bates, Part 5: Overstepping Boundaries
Understanding the plight of and damage done to Jack Bates, an early programmer for Excapsa, the company that gave the world UltimateBet, represents that worst that can happen when misguided investigative reporting runs amok. Certainly, some of the damage can be attributed to the online information age, when anyone can shape falsehoods according to their whim and then propagate them for the world to see, in some cases permanently.
As the first four posts in this series described, of all the early employees at Excapsa, Bates was perhaps the one least responsible for the cheating that later engulfed UltimateBet. Nonetheless, an erroneous mention of Bates’ name by someone who never even met him has led to years of his name being opportunistically inserted into matters for which he bears no responsibility.
If anything, the persecution of Jack Bates shows the type of damage that can be done by those with little knowledge of or adherence to journalistic standards, and the facts that Bates has offered evidence and testimony regarding UltimateBet — despite being under no legal obligation whatsoever to do so — remains crystal clear.
Bates indeed reacted to the character assassination by providing evidence to clear his name, but as anyone with a clear head would see, he did it in a manner of his own choosing, and opted not to kowtow to the wishes of those doing the defamation.
If anything, Bates deserves praise for his restraint. In addition to offering a lengthy interview to this author, Bates has also appeared in extended interviews at PokerFraudAlert.com and has participated in the Reddit thread which was detailed in previous posts.
Nonetheless, the whole affair has led to the public sharing of some knowledge of interest to those following the UB and AP cheating affairs. These items are worth noting:
- Bates was indeed an early programmer at Excapsa (UltimateBet), though his programming duties were largely centered on the development of ieSnare, a software suite designed to catch external fraud.
- Bates worked at Excapsa through most of 2003, at which time he jumped to Full Tilt at the invitation of Chris Ferguson and Perry Friedman. (Whether that’s mentioned in the Reddit thread or not, that’s what happened.)
- Bates’ departure from Excapsa/UltimateBet was largely due to his dissatisfaction with CEO Greg Pierson (later implicated as one of the UB cheaters), and of the utter lack of proper standards and practices inside the company, specifically including the ordered-from-above development of the software tool known as God Mode.
- Bates was one of several programmers at UB who protested the development of the God Mode tool, though Bates was not personally involved in the programming of that tool. Two other programmers were, but were programming under specific management orders without knowledge that the tool would later be used for insider cheating, which those programmers did not participate in.
- Bates outed himself as a source for me of technical and corporate information in my ongoing writings on the scandal. My records show that I first approached Jack in May of 2010, though he rebuffed me at that time. Only in the spring of 2011, after numerous threats and accusations from K. Scott Bell, did Bates decide to open up more fully through alternate channels, including but not limited to me.
- Bates also outed former UltimateBet VIP support person Carolyn Heick as another of my sources. I will confirm at this time that Heick and I have communicated via e-mail. Of interest is the fact that Heick and I were in communication well before her name was included on the list of supposed accomplices of Russ Hamilton, and even before Bates and I began communication. Why Heick’s name is on that KGC list is understood by me (and by Heick), and as with a couple of other included names should not be construed as evidence of cheating in the matter. The story of the KGC list and how and why it was constructed is another topic that could quite literally fill its own book… and someday it just might.
- For those who would assail Heick based on her inclusion in the list, note this: Heick was instrumental in the release of key information that proved the involvement of Scott Tom and other AP execs in the insider cheating scandal on that site. This information release happened at least a year before the appearance of “brainwashdodo” (Zoltan Rozsa), the Costa Rican AP worker who was the real blackmailer. It wasn’t Heick, it was Rozsa, despite K. Scott Bell’s threats and allegations to the contrary, and despite Bell’s discarding of any evidence that didn’t fit the story he wanted to sell.
All this adds to the shame of the way Jack Bates has been treated in the poker media. The evidence of Bates’ innocence in the UB cheating matter has been present almost from the first days that player-investigators began looking into the cheating. It’s high time the garbage thrown at Bates stops being flung.
One final point deserves mention, and that has to do with the duties and obligations of whistleblowing. As a serious writer I fully realize that many stories don’t get told unless whistleblowers step forward. By the same token, however, I realize that they are under no obligation to do so.
Supposed writers and investigators that attempt to coerce innocent people into whistleblowing by threatening falsehoods are, in my opinion, the lowest of the low. It’s impossible to understate my disgust at the practice, though I note with no small sense of relief that this is not how professionals do the job.