Jon Karl - Ultimate Bet Founder
Jon Karl is one of the two founders of Ultimate Bet. His journey with the company started when he was just out of college. Karl and his close friend, Greg Pierson, never could have imagined that the simple idea to create an online virtual poker room would develop into a multi-million dollar company.
Karl was responsible for helping Pierson develop the software for Ultimate Bet, along with coming up with new and exciting marketing tactics. His work greatly contributed to the overall success of the company.
Jon Karl graduated from Oregon State University in Business Marketing. After college, he was actively seeking employment when he was offered a job at Hewlett Packard as a marketing executive and consultant.
Karl did this for awhile until Pierson approached him with the idea for ieLogic, a software provider company that mostly contributed to multi-player role playing games. Karl was especially excited to be a part of this company because he enjoyed role-playing games in his spare time.
Karl co-founded ieLogic with Pierson in 1999. After seeking out new opportunities, Karl and Pierson discovered that there was a lot of potential in the online gambling world, especially with poker. They worked side-by-side for two years until they finally had finished Ultimate Bet, and in 2001, the website was officially established and ready to use. It had superior graphics and an innovate inter-face that gave it an edge over competitors.
Ultimate Bet Takes Off
One of Karl's marketing strategies involved sponsoring professional poker players so that Ultimate Bet could get free publicity from players wearing their merchandise and promoting their website.
Karl and Pierson decided to contact 1994 World Cup Series Champion, Russ Hamilton, who was more than happy to help them and was even willing to invest some money into Ultimate Bet as well. Russ Hamilton got professional poker players, Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke, to join the Ultimate Bet team and to help further promote the site.
It was also Karl's idea for Ultimate Bet to have different "skins," or versions of the website that had unique themes and features that appealed to all different kinds of players. Two of the most popular versions included were, "Green Tie Poker" and "Devil Fish Poker."
Ultimate Bet's popularity continued to grow until they became the fourth largest online poker room in the world, bringing in millions of dollars a year. Unfortunately though, in 2006 they decided to sell the company to Blast Off Limited in fear that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibited transactions between US customers and online gambling sites, would greatly hinder the progress of the company.
Ultimate Bet Scandal
In 2008, suspicions rose at Ultimate Bet as players were noticing that several accounts on the website seemed to have unbelievably high win rates. The most prominent account known in this scandal is NioNio whose average win rate was 115 big blinds to every 100 hands, which is more than seven times the average for even the best professional players.
Karl and Pierson did admit that when they first developed the software, they inserted a "God-Mode," into the gaming system which allowed a player to see all the cards of their opposing players. They claimed, however, that this was to be used by Hamilton and other professionals to catch cheaters, not to cheat people out of money. There's evidence to suggest that Karl may have been involved in the UltimateBet scandal, but this hasn't been officially proven.
Karl currently is the Vice President of Corporate Development for Pierson's company, Iovation. Ironically, his main responsibility is to oversee the development of the company's fraud management services.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: November 2016
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