The biggest poker story from last week involved audio tapes being released that finally prove who was involved in the UB “God Mode” cheating scandal (2003-2007). In the tape, Russ Hamilton, Iovation CEO Greg Pierson, and Ultimate Bet lawyers, Daniel Friedberg and Sanford “Sandy” Millar all discuss how Hamilton cheated players out of millions through the God Mode (see other players’ hole cards). They then talk about ways to minimize the damage while repaying as few players as possible.
One of the most interesting names brought up during this discussion is Annie Duke. The former WSOP champion is said to have possibly used God Mode – although not nearly to the extent that Hamilton did. In Duke’s case, she used God Mode (according to Hamilton) when it was on a 15-minute delay.
This means that she didn’t see opponents’ hands in real-time, like Hamilton, but she would’ve been able to access hole cards that might not otherwise be available through hand histories. So our question is, would Duke be considered a cheater?
Assuming Duke did indeed use God Mode, you’d have to consider her a cheater, even if it were on a 15-minute delay. Being able to see other players’ cards after a session provides a huge advantage because you’d get to see what range they played in various situations. So if we take Hamilton’s word at face-value, Annie Duke is a cheater.
But that’s the thing: do we believe what Hamilton says? Based on his reputation and actions, the likely answer from most people is “no.” Sure Duke draws the ire of the poker community for her failed run as the Epic Poker League commissioner and promises of a $1 million freeroll which never materialized. But to lump her in the same boat as Russ Hamilton based on his word alone…now that’s hard to do.
One final thing worth mentioning in this discussion is that Duke never had amazing online cash game results like Hamilton. So based on this evidence alone, it’s another piece supporting the theory that Duke isn’t really a cheater.