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PokerStars awards $70,000 to controversial winner in 70 billionth hand promotion

4 November 2011

PokerStars executives were probably looking forward to the positive PR the company would be getting out of announcing the winners of its 70 billionth hand promotion. Little did they know that the world's largest poker room would be facing controversy and an outcry from players on the site who feel like the winners gamed the system.

The winner of the hand would earn $70,000, plus a little extra bonus cash depending on the number of VPPs earned in the previous 50 hands. The hand was dealt at 1:01 a.m. ET on Friday at a $.25/$.50 heads-up no-limit Hold'em table. koenigskeba and DodgeUrOuts both had identical $25 stacks, which they immediately shoved. koenigskeba's ace-jack held up against DodgeUrOuts' suited king-five, but it didn't take long for controversy to erupt in the chat box.

Players watching the hand checked the hand history at the table, and for as many hands as were available to see, the players in the small blind folded to the big blind, leading many to allege that the players at the table were colluding and attempting to play as many hands as possible to have a better chance at being at the lucky table that would get the $70,000 promotional bonus.

The terms and conditions of the promotion gave PokerStars the leeway to revoke the prize.

"During the Promotion, strict rules regarding player behaviour will be enforced," read the terms. "PokerStars reserves the right to take action against any player found to be abusing any aspect of the Promotion. Such action includes, but is not limited to, exclusion or suspension from the Promotion or from the Client, and the confiscation of rewards earned as a result of the abuse. The decision on what activity constitutes abuse of the Promotion lies with PokerStars management in its sole discretion."

Despite the allegations, PokerStars paid the players at the table. koenigskeba won $73,380, while DodgeUrOuts claimed "less than $1,700," according to a PokerStars blog post.

"We have reviewed the circumstances around the winning hand, and have determined that while this practice of 'fast-folding' may not be in the spirit of the promotion, it does not violate the rules and regulations of the promotion," responded a PokerStars support representative when asked for comment by e-mail. "As such, we have honored our promotional award. Please note, we are reviewing the format of the promotion to try to minimize this kind of activity in future milestone hand promotions. We'll provide more information on this in the near future."
PokerStars awards $70,000 to controversial winner in 70 billionth hand promotion is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.