Thank you for your email and sharing your concerns about 'stoxtrader' and
associated accounts. We acknowledge the length of time it has taken to
conclude our investigation, but believe that it is important to take as much
time as required to reach the right conclusion.
In summary, it is PokerStars' view that:
a) The multiple account abuse by 'stoxtrader' (and the accounts 'knockstiff'
and 'gr3atvlewbr0') were a serious breach of our Terms of Service.
b) That in regards to the allegations of collusion, it is our view that
there was *probably* prohibited activity, but a comprehensive review of the
information has failed to prove collusion beyond all reasonable doubts.
Let us explain in greater detail:
MULTIPLE ACCOUNT ABUSE (MAA)
PokerStars recognises and accepts the confession (both in emails to
PokerStars and posted publicly elsewhere) by the operator of the account
'stoxtrader'. We note that there were three accounts in question:
This account, while it has played a small amount on PokerStars, has been
largely dormant over the last three years.
This account was operated by the individual who owns the 'stoxtrader'
account. This account has played almost forty times as many hands as the
account 'stoxtrader' and thus, is clearly the main/primary account of this
This account was opened in January 2010, and played over a period of two
months, before it was frozen by PokerStars during our most recent
investigation into the issue.
Given the very small volume of play on the 'stoxtrader' account, the
substantive rules breach which harmed other players was the individual
effectively changing his own User ID against other players from 'knockstiff'
PokerStars will take the following actions:
1) The three accounts listed above will be closed.
2) The operator of the three accounts will be barred from playing at
PokerStars in the future.
3) The individuals listed as owning the three accounts will be barred from
playing at PokerStars in the future.
4) Close associates of either the operator or registered owners of the three
accounts will be barred from playing at PokerStars in the future. Any such
individuals will be asked to cash out their remaining balance.
5) PokerStars will be seizing the funds (and frequent player points) from
those three accounts.
6) PokerStars will compensate players who played against 'gr3atvlewbr0'.
Those players were at a disadvantage because their opponent ('gr3atvlewbr0')
had access to a history of playing against them, without the natural balance
of information in return.
7) PokerStars will apply the balance seized from these accounts (including
converting the FPPs to money) to compensate the victims of this activity,
and further, add additional funds to the compensation pool as well. This
compensation has already been processed.
PokerStars staff have reviewed the play of the three accounts listed above
with that of 'LittleZen'. We have reviewed tens of thousands of hands
individually, and further, we have analysed their play statistically. We
have read the comprehensive public analyses posted by other players on
TwoPlusTwo.com, and independently reproduced the public statistical analyses
using every hand played by the players.
A number of people in the online poker community have drawn various
conclusions from that public posted data. While, due to the nature of free
speech, they are able to hold such opinions, PokerStars is in a very
Any action that we take must be defensible in a court of law, and we are
unable to seize funds from players who we cannot *prove* beyond any
reasonable took part in activities against our rules. While we will hunt
down and take decisive action against those we suspect of breaking our
rules, we must also be fair and recognise their rights.
PokerStars is regulated and subject to the rule of law. We have chosen to be
based in a strong regulatory regime because we believe that regulated online
poker is in the players' interests, and because it is good for the industry.
A natural consequence of this is that accused players must be given a
presumption of innocence, and that we must consider their situation fairly
Our review noted that the suspected players had a tendency to three-bet
preflop less often against each other, as compared to other players. We
certainly recognise that this behaviour was suspicious, and that collusion
was one *possible* explanation for this data. However, we do not believe
that this data proved collusion beyond all reasonable doubt.
If the standard of proof required PokerStars to make a decision "on the
balance of probabilities" then PokerStars may have come to a different
decision. However, it is not sufficient for PokerStars to *think* that
collusion was likely: PokerStars must find that collusion is proved beyond
reasonable doubt before pronouncing the players as colluders.
Given that we consider collusion to be "not proven", PokerStars will not be
applying any punitive action for collusion.
I trust that this rather lengthy email explains PokerStars' position on the
matter. We believe that this represents a fair outcome that adequately
enforces PokerStars' rules and protects the interests of all players.
Please let us know if there is anything else that we can do to assist you.
Pretty thorough reply, but makes you wonder how difficult is must be to provide a proof as opposed to a correlation in a court of law when it comes to statistics- as they said, in all probability there was collusion, but they cant prove it.
To clarify, this means that collusion is effectively allowed on Poker Stars.
It might be true that they legally need to hold themselves to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, but if that's true, then that needs to be fixed by a simple change to their ToS that clarifies that playing like a colluder will be considered collusion regardless of intent.
Oh, I assume this also means that you'll only be compensated if you played against gr3atvlewbr0 (which only existed for like 3 months)? So people who were cheated by these accounts for years won't be fully compensated, even though stars will be taking money from the stoxtrader and knockstiff accounts?
Edit: LittleZen's banned from playing on Stars. He gets to keep the money that he won through cheating, though.
PokerStars has become aware of a player who broke our Terms of Service in our cash games to the detriment of other players. You were involved in at least one hand with this player and as a result you may have been adversely affected.
The player's accounts were closed and their funds frozen pending a thorough investigation, which is now complete.
In a case such as this it is our policy to confiscate their balance and to distribute them to the players affected by their actions in as fair a way as possible. In addition, PokerStars has made a substantial contribution to the compensation pool. To confirm your credit, log onto your PokerStars account, go to the 'Cashier' screen and click the 'History' button. Your share will be shown "ADMIN CREDIT", followed by the amount of the credit.
We regret that we will be unable to answer questions as to how your specific credit amount was calculated. Likewise, we are not at liberty to identify the specific games or player in question. Suffice to say that the offender has been barred from the site and you will not encounter them again.
The integrity of the games at PokerStars is of paramount importance to us and we will not abide cheating in our games. We work hard to police our games and prevent such instances. In the rare cases where rules breaches have actually occurred, we make sure that any players affected are compensated appropriately.
Thank you for your continued play here on PokerStars. Please do not hesitate to let us know any time we can be of help.
So on the one hand PokerStars is saying that a statistical analysis which showed the likelihood of some behavior being less than 1 in 10^50 to not be the result of intentional (redundant) collusion does not count as the proof beyond a reasonable doubt necessary to take the punitive action that is taken against colluders. Simultaneously they state in their ToS that playing like a colluder will be considered collusion regardless of intent. So if "will be considered collusion" is supposed to strongly imply that punitive action will follow then they are breaking their own ToS?
Applying the beyond a reasonable doubt standard and presumption of innocence anywhere other than in a criminal proceeding is absurd. And I think that standard was met here anyway.
Additionally even assuming the data doesn't meet their standard of proof, what about lengthy questioning of the offenders about their play? Did that even happen? It really seems like it didn't. And they should also have a rule that anyone who refuses to answer questions in an investigation has their account instabanned.
Last edited by Todd Terry; 05-08-2010 at 10:37 PM.
Come on guys, let's be realistic here. Seizing funds is a huge deal. Even if Stars are not bound by law to apply the criminal standard, it is certainly not a bad idea to. There used to be uproar in the Zoo when people had their accounts closed on unprovable suspicions (usually by FTP), now people want accounts closed AND funds seized on the basis of unprovable suspicions? It would set a bad precedent for the future.
Yes you can cry "COLLUSION ALLOWED ON STARS LOL LET'S ALL CHEAT NOW TO PROVE HOW STUPID THIS BULL**** IS" or you can just act like a grown man.
They didn't seem to acknowledge the option of closing the account without seizing money...
ah i misread the situation for littlezen; the title of this thread certainly makes it seem that both players had their accounts closed but only littlezen got to keep his money; so littlezen can still play? im confused