I recently received the following email from Pokerstars support team:
Based on a routine review of your account which indicated unusual
play patterns, we have started a more detailed review of your
account and play. At this point we must ask that you provide us
with some information that will help us to resolve this issue.
First, please explain in detail, any relationship you have with
the following player/s:
Next, please review the hands copied below and explain your
strategy and thinking during the play of the hands.
Your account privileges have been suspended pending the outcome
of our review. Playing on PokerStars during this time will
cause any such account to be closed and the funds therein
confiscated. Please respond fully and completely within 48 hours.
Your cooperation will help to bring the matter to a close
PokerStars Game Security Team
PokerStars Game #80373646166: Tournament #560170253, $1.40+$0.10
Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) -
2012/05/13 10:10:38 ET
Table '560170253 1' 6-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: saggit1 (452 in chips)
Seat 2: trankilofran (985 in chips)
Seat 3: B0xleyNZ (449 in chips)
Seat 5: MerzGotGame (482 in chips)
Seat 6: Kaskanuezzes (632 in chips)
saggit1: posts the ante 3
trankilofran: posts the ante 3
B0xleyNZ: posts the ante 3
MerzGotGame: posts the ante 3
Kaskanuezzes: posts the ante 3
Moving Bets to Pot
MerzGotGame: posts small blind 15
Kaskanuezzes: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to B0xleyNZ [Ad 4d]
10:10:41 saggit1: folds
10:10:45 trankilofran: folds
10:10:48 B0xleyNZ: raises 34 to 64
10:10:56 MerzGotGame: raises 415 to 479 and is all-in
10:11:00 Kaskanuezzes: folds
10:11:08 B0xleyNZ: folds
10:11:08 Moving Bets to Pot
10:11:08 Uncalled bet (415) returned to MerzGotGame
10:11:09 MerzGotGame collected 173 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 173 | Rake 0
Seat 1: saggit1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: trankilofran folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: B0xleyNZ (button) folded before Flop
Seat 5: MerzGotGame (small blind) collected (173)
Seat 6: Kaskanuezzes (big blind) folded before Flop
PokerStars Game #80007145678: Tournament #556869151, $1.40+$0.10
Hold'em No Limit - Level V (40/80) - 2012/05/06
Table '556869151 1' 6-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: terrmit (488 in chips)
Seat 2: MerzGotGame (1462 in chips)
Seat 6: B0xleyNZ (1050 in chips)
terrmit: posts the ante 8
MerzGotGame: posts the ante 8
B0xleyNZ: posts the ante 8
Moving Bets to Pot
MerzGotGame: posts small blind 40
B0xleyNZ: posts big blind 80
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to B0xleyNZ [Ah Ts]
12:01:45 terrmit: folds
12:01:46 MerzGotGame: raises 80 to 160
12:01:48 B0xleyNZ: folds
12:01:48 Moving Bets to Pot
12:01:48 Uncalled bet (80) returned to MerzGotGame
12:01:49 MerzGotGame collected 184 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 184 | Rake 0
Seat 1: terrmit (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: MerzGotGame (small blind) collected (184)
Seat 6: B0xleyNZ (big blind) folded before Flop
To provide some a background, I grind $3.50 6 mans on Stars, I'm a winning player, in fact I am on a leaderboard on sharkscope. --> http://beta.sharkscope.com/#Leaderbo...s/%242.01-%245
merzgotgame is a close friend of mine that I discuss poker strategy with often. He grinds $7 6 mans on stars. Often at the end of a grind session, we like to relax by playing in the same $1.50 hyper together. We have probably played in around 100 off these together.
When I received this email from Pokerstars support I figured it was just a regular security check. Looking at the two HH they sent me, I couldn't believe they could accuse me of colluding as they are super standard hands. So I sent them the following in reply:
Before I being explaining the two hands, I will begin by explaining my relationship with merzgotgame, (real name -deleted
-). I have known him
for over 4 years now, we met online, playing Halo on xbox live and soon discovered that we both enjoyed playing online poker. We began playing together a few years back on full tilt poker, we switched to Pokerstars after Full Tilt shut down. We enjoy playing poker together, mainly we play 1.50 hyper turbo 6 mans together as these are a bit of fun. Otherwise I stick to 3.50 normal speed 6 mans and merzgotgame plays 7.00 6 mans. Although we play whilst chatting, we DO NOT tell each other our hands, in fact we are both very competitive and enjoy beating each other. We also often play each other using the Home Game feature on pokerstars.
Looking at those two hands now, they seem like very normal hands to me. The first one I raise holding Ace 4 suited, which a reasonable opening hand, Merzgotgame then raises All In over my raise and I make what is an obvious fold, as he is never raising me all in there without a better hand than me.
The next hand is also a very standard hand. It is on the bubble in a 6 man, meaning the top 2 cash and there are 3 remaining. Merzgotgame makes a min raise, which indicates to me he either has a very strong hand and wants me to go all in, or he has a very weak hand and is just trying to pick up the blinds. Because I am on the bubble, and the third player, terrmit, has a lot less chips than me, I choose to fold this hand.
Both these hands seem very normal to me and I would play them the same way again.
If merzgotgame and I playing in the same sit and go is not allowed we would be happy to stop doing it. However, I believe playing with someone else you know is absolutely fine unless u are colluding and telling each other your cards. If you look at all of the sit and goes merzgotgame and I play in together, you will see that we are not afraid to knock each other out. In fact we have done this many times!
If there is anything else I can do to help resolve this matter please let me know as soon as possible so I can continue playing on Pokerstars.
After a few days I was shocked to receive this email back:
The review of your account and your play with 'MerzGotGame' is
complete. We have come to the conclusion that you worked together
as a team to the detriment of other players in events where you
This conclusion is based on a careful review of your play with
all cards exposed. In reviewing hands it is clear that you
routinely passed chips to one another as needed to
help the shorter stack survive.
Tournament rule #20 states that "Poker is an individual (not a
team) game. Any action or chat intended to help another player is
unethical and is prohibited. Unethical play, such as soft-play
(playing less aggressively against a partner) and chip dumping
(intentionally losing chips to a partner), may result in
penalties, including seizure of funds from the offender's account
and/or termination of the account.".
You have been disqualified from events where the outcome was
adversely affected by your unfair play. Your portion of the cost
to advance players as a result of such disqualification is
$60.54. That amount has been debited from your account.
You are barred from future play at PokerStars. This action was
not taken lightly. My findings went to a review board made up of
other poker and collusion specialists who, after looking at the
evidence, agree that such action is appropriate.
Your account has been reopened without play privileges so that
you may cashout the remaining balance. If the balance is too
small to cash out, you may transfer the balance to another player
whose account is in good standing. Your account will be closed in
48 hours. Any funds remaining in the account at that time will be
Do not attempt to open another account or play using someone
else's account. Any account you use is subject to being closed
without notice, and any funds found within will be confiscated.
PokerStars Game Security Team
I couldn't believe it when I read this. I have since asked for whatever other evidence they must in order to come to this conclusion but haven't had a reply. Posting here is my last attempt to fix this perversion of justice. I was told there are Pokerstars employees on this forum and I would very much appreciate them reading this and helping me out.
I can provide the two HH that they sent merzgotgame also if required.
In my opinion there is absolutely no evidence to support the decision that has been made.I know that there is not enough evidence to come to this conclusion as I have never colluded with merzgotgame.
If anyone could help me out it would be much appreciated.