Controversy Regarding PokerStars 70 Billionth Hand Winner

November 10, 2011

At precisely 1:01 a.m. ET on PokerStars at a $0.25/$0.50 NLH heads-up table, the 70 billionth hand was dealt at the online poker site, ending the 70 billionth hand promotion that had been running at PokerStars to commemorate the event.

However, it didn’t take long after the hand finished for a scandal to surface. PokerStars players DodgeUrOuts and koenigskeba both had $25 chip stacks, which they both immediately shoved, and koenigskeba’s A/J won out over DodgeUrOuts’ suited K/5. Players on the rail surveyed the table’s hand history, and as far back as they could see, the players in the small blind had folded to the big blind, making many believe that the two players were colluding in an attempt to rack up as many hands as possible in hopes of making the 70 billionth hand and winning the $70K promotional prize.

Promotion terms reserved the right for PokerStars to revoke the prize based on the following:

“During the Promotion, strict rules regarding player behaviour will be enforced. 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.”

However, PokerStars rewarded koenigskeba with a $73,380 prize despite the allegations. DodgeUrOuts claimed less than $1,700.

When asked for a comment, a PokerStars rep emailed the following statement:

“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. 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.”


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