Winning Poker Network Announces Refunds After Latvian Botters Confirmed

Updated: April 16th, 2019 by Haley Hintze

The Winning Poker Network (WPN) has announced a new refund program for the victims of “bot” accounts on WPN sites in the wake of the public furor over video of a malfunctioning and blatantly obvious botting account went public a little over a week ago. After WPN and its flagship site, Americas Cardroom (ACR), suffered the public embarrassment of having the weird malfunction of a long-term and highly profitable bot exposed on a Twitch stream, the operator has issued refunds and has stated it will be more active in the future in addressing bot-related problems.

The virtual fur started to fly on April 7, when ACR player and Twitch online-poker streamer Eric Collier live-posted on Twitch his appearance that day at the final table of a tourney on WPN, a $10,000 guaranteed affair with a modest $16.50 buy-in. Eventually, Collier and his “TheKamest” account made it to heads-up play against the then-leader, a Latvian-based account and WPN tourney regular called “FoxRox”.

Then the unexpected happened, as the FoxRox account made a long series of bizarrely horrible plays that made it evident to virtually any observer that FoxRox was a software-account on the fritz. In almost every hand until being blinded out, the FoxRox account folded its small blind instantaneously to TheKamest’s big blind — and note that FoxRox was also the button during heads-up play — or folded its own big blind to a min-open from TheKamest’s small blind. However, in the second instance, which occurred every other hand, the FoxRox account delayed folding the same span of time, about nine seconds. In just a couple of hands, the FoxRox account also made massive over-raises, making it clear that this was no instance of a disconnection, but rather a bot-controlled account gone haywire.

The Winning Poker Network was quickly flooded with complaints about the obvious bot-driven play, truly forcing the network’s hand. WPN has not been known as being proactive regarding bots, though backed into something of a corner, the network quickly looked into the incident, agreed with the common assessment that FoxRox had long been in violation of WPN’s terms of service (TOS), seemingly confiscated whatever it could from the account, and announced refunds and a new policy regarding botting-driven play:

FoxRox, an account based in Ogre, Latvia, had contact with 1.3% of WPN’s entire player base during the cheating period, which is a large percentage for any single account. The FoxRox account did not play on WPN’s Americas Cardroom skin, but rather on another WPN offering, Black Chip Poker.

WPN also announced a new policy for publicly announcing each bot account ID’d and closed:

*WPN’s Reimbursement Policy:
We reimburse money won from players by accounts proven to be breaking WPN’s fair play policies. We use the following method for reimbursement.

1. Game type
a) Tournaments – Ladder Up: We remove the offending player from the payout spot and move each lower payout spot up one position and pay each player the difference between his old spot and new spot.
b) Cash games – We subtract losses to the offending player from wins taken from the offending player in a given session.

2. We reimburse to a cap of $25,000 per offending player.
The reimbursed funds are distributed to affected players beginning with the most recent occurrence to the oldest.

WPN intentionally ignored the $25,000 cap with the FoxRox account, perhaps as a goodwill gesture in light of the fact that the Latvia-based account had been the subject of numerous cheating and collusion complaints over the past several years. And, a second account, also based in Ogre, Latvia, has been added to Winning Poker Network’s banned botters list. WPN has refunded $25,134.60 to 1,057 players negatively impacted by the antics of account “Gluckhof”, which is far better than even odds to be controlled by the same person behind the FoxRx account. Gluckhof’s overall cheating could have been well into six figures as well, but the cap as announced by WPN covers that account’s cheating back only to early February of this year.

Several more high-volume accounts also playing out of Ogre, Latvia have also been the subject of complaints, all but cementing as a certainty that several of these cheating accounts are interlinked and controlled by the same person or small group. That means that several more $25,000 rounds of refunds are likely to be issued to Winning Poker Network players in the near future.

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