PokerStars admitted the DDoS assault on their servers a few hours after a large-scale failure halted dozens of events, including three WCOOP major event series. The series’ conclusion had to be delayed until November.
Due to a technical problem, the WCOOP final events are canceled.
Sunday, September 25, 2022 was meant to be one of PokerStars’ most significant days of the year. Three WCOOP No Limit Hold’em Main Event tournaments with varying buy-ins began that evening for $109, $1,050, and $10,300, followed by multiple WCOOP Series tournaments and several regular events.
Due to technological issues, Sunday’s majors were halted shortly after beginning. Players from across the globe were unable to play due to significant slowness and client timeouts. After an additional hour and a half, Stars tweeted that they had to cancel all current tournaments:
We recognize the significance of today in the poker schedule, so we will provide an update on future plans after today’s concerns have been rectified. (2/2)
– PokerStars (@PokerStars) September 25, 2022
We regret to inform you that we have been forced to cancel all current competitions. All award money will be allocated according to our guidelines (available here). We recognize the significance of today in the poker calendar, therefore as soon as the technical concerns are rectified, we will publish our intentions for the near future.
The message ironically included a link to the PokerStars website, which was also down at the moment.
The prize pools for WCOOP events that were terminated before to the conclusion of the late registration period were distributed on a “Roll Forward” basis.
Guarantee Cancelled; All players who were in play at the time of the stoppage get their rake back; Half of the real prize pool is allocated evenly among the remaining players; the other half is distributed by ICM based on stack size.
With this approach, it is evident that in the early stages of the competition, all active participants received about equal payments. So, FI zerodeda received the largest payout of $16,500 in the $10,300 high roller main event with 297 entrants and a prize pool of $2,970,000 (with a guarantee of $6,000,000). Some participants were not even able to repay the whole price of the buy-in, while the other two Maines only managed to recover half of the proclaimed guarantee.
PokerStars has admitted the DDoS assault against their systems.
Monday afternoon did not mark the room’s reopening after 18 hours of inactivity. Simultaneously, on PokerStars’ website, an official statement explaining the incident’s causes was published.
Our website has experienced brief difficulties due to a DDoS assault over the last 24 hours. The accounts and personal information of our clients are secure, and there are no evidence of hacking. We apologize to all impacted gamers and appreciate your patience.
The completion of WCOOP 2022 will now take place in early November.
It was crucial for PokerStars to complete the WCOOP by determining the winners of the main event, or else the poker room’s image would be at jeopardy. How did the chamber escape from this predicament?
Starzy postponed the unsuccessful WCOOP events until November 5-6, and for the players from the South European pool (France, Spain, and Portugal) for whom the DDoS-attack ruined the conclusion of the Galactic Series, the poker room will host a special tournament Sunday Million on the same days.
Due to the failure, gamers who were unable to fulfill their monthly loyalty program chores will also be paid.
Since the early 2000s, online poker has been exposed to DDoS assaults.
Websites of online gambling businesses, especially poker rooms, have been among the most frequent targets of DDoS assaults during the last two decades. Typically, ransomware attacks target poker sites at times of heavy traffic, when the loss of visitors has a disproportionately negative effect on profitability and reputation. In August 2018, hackers targeted PokerStars, partypoker, and Americas Cardroom, and on the first day of the WSOP Online in 2020, a large-scale assault struck GGPoker.
The last day of the WCOOP tournament is an ideal time for such an assault, but in recent years hackers have targeted bookies more often than poker clubs. Such occurrences sometimes occur in conjunction with large athletic events, such as the Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup, or the March Madness tournament in American college basketball. The concept of the extortionists is to “drop” the victim’s website as much as possible and demand that the victim pay a ransom, often in untraceable cryptocurrencies.
However, operators often refuse to pay, which is appropriate. After a DDoS assault on PokerStars, Betfair, and the NETeller payment system in 2015, for instance, Interpol arrested two Eastern European hackers with ties to a much wider DDoS 4 Bitcoin organization. In the broad expanse of the Internet, such organizations continue to exist despite the failure of their structure.