Winning Poker Network Experiences Hectic Month

Updated: March 29th, 2017 by Dev Ops

It’s been a busy stretch over at the Winning Poker Network, home of the US-facing site America’s Cardroom and a handful of other skins.  So what has the customer-service staff hopping?  It’s been a month with both ups and downs.  On the up side, WPN, via its flagship America’s Cardroom (ACR) site, has finally rolled out its long-delayed “SNG 2.0” jackpot-hybrid tourneys.  On the minus side, customers on at least four WPN skins had to deal with the nuisance of a phishing-attack e-mail.

Let’s start with the good stuff.  Last October, WPN announced plans for several new products and promotions, including the near-future rollout of the SNG 2.0 sit-‘n’-gos.  The SNG 2.0 concept is something of a twist on regular jackpot-style games, which have become one of the most popular tourney formats in all of online poker.  Most sites and networks already offer such jackpot- or lottery-style SNGs, and that included WPN.

Yet the promised SNG 2.0 product had a couple of twists: The format not only offered the thin chance at a large jackpot, it also introduced a wrinkle through which the number of players cashing in a given nine-player SNG started low, but could increase — all the way up to the full table cashing for some amount.  Add in the fact that the participating players, via the drawing of cards, take part in the chances of an increased payout or jackpot SNG occurring, and it was all an intriguing concept that had a lot of players waiting.

Except it didn’t arrive, and rollout delays were announced.  October became November.  November turned to January.  In January, a WPN rep said it would be mid-March.  And that time, at last, the foretelling proved accurate.  On March 15th, America’s Cardroom players were able to play the new SNG 2.0 games.

To date, ACR customers are the only ones able to give the new format a whirl; the SNG 2.0 tourneys have yet to be made available on WPN’s other seven skins.  It’s probably just as well, for another short while: in the new format’s first days, the tourneys were buggy, often freezing or crashing altogether.  Many of the problems appear to have been caused by the complex integration of the new format into the main WPN / ACR software client.  Each of the new SNG 2.0 tourneys kicks off with a special drawing of cards in which all players at the table participate, which determines the ultimate prize pool and the thin jackpot possibility.

As for those new tourneys, they’re available at the $5+$0.50, $10+$1, $25+$2.50, $50+$5, and $100+$9 buy-in levels.  The $5 and $10 events, because of their lower buy-in, are eligible only for a pro-rated portion of the overall jackpot’s three levels, dubbed Mini, Medium and Mega.  WPN has seeded the overall jackpot pool with $100,000 to get things going.  Remember, though, hitting a jackpot SNG means connecting at long odds — the chance of being at a table that wins the Mega Jackpot is about 1 in 188,000, and even the Mini Jackpot occurs only about once in every 4,950 tourneys.

It’s still entertaining stuff, and online players have shown their desire for and enjoyment of these hybrid SNGs, with a jackpot or lottery twist.  Assuming WPN eventually gets all the bugs out, the new format should do well.

Then there’s the phishing episode at WPN, which is not known to have caused any actual damage or loss of funds to the network’s users.  Customers of at least four of the eight WPN sites reported receiving the phishing e-mail, which claimed that a fictitious deosit to said WPN site had been received, but needed to be verified by clicking an embedded link.  As is normally the case with such phishing, clicking that link likely led to the attacker’ site, where malware of some sort — perhaps targeting the WPN player’s account and bankroll, perhaps something else — would have been downloaded to the victim’s computer.

The phishing attack, according to most reports, wasn’t very sophistiated, and it was likely full of the gross misspellings and bad grammar that usually mark such cons.

The four WPN sites where some customers were targeted by the scam were Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, Ya Poker, and True Poker.  Those are, this writer believes, the four-longest running of WPN’s current roster of eight skins, suggesting that the phishing attempt came from some old WPN customer data file that was swiped for such a purpose.

WPN quickly notified all players across all of its member sites about the phishing attempt, urging players to make sure that both their accounts and devices were secure.  The phishing attempt appears to have been caught by some of the commercial anti-virus software, and a full system scan is recommended for any WPN customer who might encounter the phishing e-mail, have clicked on the link, and is unsure of what to do.

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