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Old 05-16-2018, 08:05 PM   #226
zoogenhiem
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by LastLife View Post
It's significant because using a VPN and playing from the US are not crimes. That would be TOS violations. That is: Pokerstars is seizing money that doesn't belong to them entirely due to their own rules that can be changed at any time. Name another industry that is allowed to do this. B&M industry, for instance, has to give you your card counting profits even though it's against their own rules, because it's not illegal to count cards, though they have the right and will likely ban you from their establishment. Now if you use a computer to help with the count, then you can have your winnings seized and be prosecuted.
Card counting is not against the rules. I've never read a rule book that said it was illegal. In part that's probably because it would be effectively impossible to prove that someone is card counting. As private businesses, casinos can refuse service to someone at any time for any reason (with limited exceptions for discriminating against protected classes). Furthermore according to the Phil ivey edge sorting rulings, there is an implicit contract between casinos and players yada yada something to do with no conducting advantage play, so while I think Ivey has been screwed by the casinos and the courts, the current precedent seems to side with the right for casinos to seize funds when the TOS are violated.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:10 PM   #227
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Josem View Post
No, that's not what it says. The current .COM Terms of Service currently says:
...
The first sentence clearly limits the "attempt to circumvent" restriction to "persons located in a Prohibited Jurisdiction".
i think Pokerstars made a big mistake by not explicitly banning VPNs in the TOS. However the page on their website that has been repeatedly quoted in this thread about VPNs further says that the TOS requires information including location information be provided, so I read that as Pokerstars saying its TOS implicitly ban VPNs.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:16 AM   #228
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

Everything against PS would be SOOO good, even though i dont like Vayo that much. Hope he gets this.
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:35 AM   #229
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by NMcNasty View Post
I'm still having trouble imagining a legitimate reason to use a VPN during play.
VPNs can fix ISP routing issues and offer added security, especially if you're using wifi that you don't fully trust.
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:37 AM   #230
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by zoogenhiem View Post
Pokerstars saying its TOS implicitly ban VPNs.
I can't speak to current policy, but in the past they explicitly stated to me(in email) that VPNs were allowed.
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:56 AM   #231
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by zoogenhiem View Post
i think Pokerstars made a big mistake by not explicitly banning VPNs in the TOS. However the page on their website that has been repeatedly quoted in this thread about VPNs further says that the TOS requires information including location information be provided, so I read that as Pokerstars saying its TOS implicitly ban VPNs.
I saw the screenshot - however, I can't verify the authenticity of it, because if I go to the linked URL, there is no such message now.

It seems likely to me that a staff member misinterpreted the Terms of Service. The Terms of Service that I see - and quoted above - are pretty clear that only people in prohibited jurisdictions can't use VPNs etc.

More fundamentally, the idea that a customer is responsible for what a third-party (the IP database provider) tells PokerStars about the customer's location is nonsense. An IP address - or changing an IP address using a VPN - does not tell PokerStars where your location is. In the context of geographical restrictions where real money is at stake (eg, $700k) it is merely a red flag to investigate further.

This is because IP addresses do not contain geographical information. Not only is this just "true", but PokerStars has known that IP addresses do not contain geographical information for many years.

It's clear to me that a staff member just misinterpreted the TOS about prohibiting VPNs, wrote something in the public help section, and that's then been quoted in this thread. PokerStars now appears to have removed that error from their web page. That's good of them - I can't imagine them introducing a new policy that causes thousands of players to inadvertently and non-maliciously breach their TOS without properly informing players. That'd be a pretty significant decision.

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I can't speak to current policy, but in the past they explicitly stated to me(in email) that VPNs were allowed.
This is right.

By way of full and complete public disclosure, I formerly served as a Senior Manager of PokerStars' policy in this area (from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013, or thereabouts). In that role, I made a bunch of public statements to players in emails, and also on this forum, confirming this.

This is important because as I wrote above, IP addresses do not contain geographic information. The geographic information comes from a third-party database provider, not the player - and it is the best guest of the third-party provider. For example, I had a problem last year where my internet connection (at work) on the Isle of Man was mistakenly recognised by PokerStars to be in a different jurisdiction. They sought to fix it, because they recognised there are errors sometimes.

It's obviously nonsense to hold a player responsible for what a third-party provider tells PokerStars, and that's why I do not think that they do.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:00 AM   #232
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

This is what now appears to me at the page saying VPNs are banned:
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:16 AM   #233
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Why anyone would play on Stars is beyond me.
On another note, how does someone like Dnegs, who lives in Vegas, play on Stars? Has he never ever accessed Stars thru a VPN?
I think Daniel agrees with you here, he basically doesn't play on stars.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:12 AM   #234
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

Josem - Do you understand what Stars is claiming with respect to this Vayo situation? It's kind of confusing, and perhaps many of the facts haven't come out yet. Thx.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:50 AM   #235
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by zoogenhiem View Post
i think Pokerstars made a big mistake by not explicitly banning VPNs in the TOS. However the page on their website that has been repeatedly quoted in this thread about VPNs further says that the TOS requires information including location information be provided, so I read that as Pokerstars saying its TOS implicitly ban VPNs.


According to PokerStars, if you VPN, then your IP location must be the same as your real location. This is a loophole that is hard for a VPN to jump through.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:24 AM   #236
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Josem - Do you understand what Stars is claiming with respect to this Vayo situation? It's kind of confusing, and perhaps many of the facts haven't come out yet. Thx.
I have no inside/expert knowledge here. I ceased working for PokerStars well before SCOOP 2017, and ceased working on US-related things back in 2013. Thus, I have no inside info to share here, merely interpreting what I've read.

I've read two key documents here:
a) the filed lawsuit from Vayo
b) the statement issued by PokerStars to some media outlets the other day

The filed lawsuit appears to describe the situation as follows - this is my brief summation, not exhaustive, etc. I'm also not commenting on the jurisdiction stuff, because I'm not a lawyer, I dunno how that will pan out.

1) Vayo claims to have played from Canada.
2) PokerStars claimed that they suspected he played from USA.
3) They exchanged some communication (security agents for PS, Vayo responding via email) whereby PokerStars asked various questions of Vayo, and he responded.
4) PokerStars' investigators decided that he was in the USA
5) Vayo's lawyer wrote to PS
6) PS's lawyer wrote to Vayo's lawyer
7) Vayo sued

PokerStars have commented in (6) above, and also publicly to the media.

In the lawsuit, Vayo's lawyer quoted from PS's lawyer. Allegedly, PS's lawyer said that it was "not inconceivable" that Vayo played from the USA. Obviously, PokerStars can't go around confiscating money from customers when it's "not inconveivable" that they broke the rules. PokerStars has previously held themselves to a much higher standard than this - god knows the abuse I got on this forum around cheating allegations several years ago.

In addition, PokerStars' comment to the media spoke about game integrity issues. Obviously, which side of the 49th parallel you play poker from has no impact on the integrity of the game. Those two issues do not interact - which side of Rainy River you play from does not matter to the "integrity of the game". It might be a technical TOS breach, but it's not a game integrity issue.

Thus, from all of this, I think there has to be something untold about the PokerStars position, because as described, it doesn't make sense - and from what they've said, it might revolve around this "integrity of the game" issue. Confounding this, their lawyer - from the very limited quoted extract - seems to be a bit of a muppet, because "not inconceivable" is a terrible standard for confiscating $700k, and entirely unprecedented in PokerStars' history.


Really, the burden on proof shoulf be on PokerStars to affirmatively prove that the guy was in the USA before confiscating money. It certainly was their standard in the past.

In Vayo's situation, however, he knows where he was, so it should not be overly difficult to prove that. For example, depending on how long records are kept, it should not be hard to show financial transactions taking place in various locations; it should not be hard to show geolocation history; it should not be impossible to get documentation showing when you left/entered a country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
According to PokerStars, if you VPN, then your IP location must be the same as your real location. This is a loophole that is hard for a VPN to jump through.
a) I don't see anywhere that PokerStars has said that in any meaningful/intentional way outside the now-removed help page on their website (obviously it is possible that a staff member has mistakenly said that, but you can't take every such error so literally).

b) The statement makes no sense because IP addresses don't have "real locations". IP addresses are unrelated to geography. That's the whole damn point of IP addresses - it's a method for computers to use to communicate, not a method for humans to evaluate geographic location. Some companies provide a service where they try to estimate a likely geographical service on the basis of an IP address, but holding players responsible for those third-party services is nonsensical, especially because there are many such errors in those third-party services.

An IP address is just one data point, and a complete and proper investigation needs to look at a whole variety of issues.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:41 AM   #237
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Jeff W View Post
VPNs can fix ISP routing issues and offer added security, especially if you're using wifi that you don't fully trust.
K well Vayo would have to be using wifi he doesn't trust in the first place, which is not a good idea for multiple high buyin tournies, and its probably very likely he has wifi he trusts anyway since you have to set up some sort of residence in Canada to be able to play there if you're American.

Also, you still need to explain why the VPN would be showing a different country.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:50 AM   #238
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

If IP address doesn't show physical location then how does geolocation work?
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 AM   #239
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

Win, lose or draw, Stars Group will drag this out for as long as possible because that is the GTO legal proceedings play when you have much more time, money and resources than your opponent and it is you that is being sued.

If I was Gordon Vayo's lawyer my tactic would be to semi-bluff check raise all in on the flop and then negotiate an equity deal settlement and not run the turn or river.

I reckon a fair price is about $250K based on what I have seen ITT.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:24 AM   #240
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by NMcNasty View Post
K well Vayo would have to be using wifi he doesn't trust in the first place.
Why?
Quote:
Originally Posted by NMcNasty View Post
Also, you still need to explain why the VPN would be showing a different country.
Why?
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:25 AM   #241
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Josem View Post
Really, the burden on proof shoulf be on PokerStars to affirmatively prove that the guy was in the USA before confiscating money. It certainly was their standard in the past.
I agree, but I think printouts of whatever security program they have showing that Vayo was in Canada should count as proof. Obviously getting travel logs from someone who doesn't want their funds confiscated would be difficult.

Also, my VPN malfunctioned therefore your security findings are invalid is an incredibly ballsy argument. At the very least this should shift the burden of proof to Vayo. Prove you're not just saying that.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:30 AM   #242
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Why?
why what?
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:43 AM   #243
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by zoogenhiem View Post
If IP address doesn't show physical location then how does geolocation work?
Imagine your computer is Alice, located at 12.34. It wants to connect to Bob, located at 56.78.

Alice sends messages to other computers along the way, asking, "where's 56.78?" Other computers en route point Alice in the right direction. When Alice connects to Bob, Alice tells Bob, "I'm at 12.34" so that Bob can reply to Alice's messages.

To "geolocate" using IP addresses, Bob asks GeoLocation Provider Charlie, "Where do you think 12.34 is?" Charlie says, "It's probably in Kyoto, Japan".

But a chunk of the time, even without using VPNs, Charlie gets it wrong. As I described in an earlier post, despite the fact that I was located in Douglas, Isle of Man, about 1.5km from the PokerStars server, the geolocation service that PokerStars uses thought I was away in London. This is just a fact of how the internet works, and the different quality of different IP-geolocation providers that can be used.


To return the point here, holding Alice responsible for what Charlie says is obviously nonsensical, there's no way the PokerStars TOS means to do that.

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Originally Posted by SageDonkey View Post
I reckon a fair price is about $250K based on what I have seen ITT.
The problem with this evaluation is that the parties know different things.

Obviously, Vayo knows where he was.

By confiscating the money, PokerStars is making a statement about where it thinks Vayo was.

As I described in my last point, I think the burden of proof should be on an operator if they're going to confiscate money. However, it is possible that a court might require Vayo to affirmatively prove where he was. That would seem weird to me (where else do you need to prove innocence?) but it's not impossible. Stars' lawyer's comment that "it's not inconceivable" that Vayo was in Canada tries to make Vayo prove that - but I think that's the reverse of what should happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NMcNasty View Post
I agree, but I think printouts of whatever security program they have showing that Vayo was in Canada should count as proof. Obviously getting travel logs from someone who doesn't want their funds confiscated would be difficult.
Sure, so in reality, the company needs to analyse and make their best case judgment.

The "security program" however, needs to be interpreted by humans. This requires judgment and interpretation.

Quote:
Also, my VPN malfunctioned therefore your security findings are invalid is an incredibly ballsy argument. At the very least this should shift the burden of proof to Vayo. Prove you're not just saying that.
I like your idea of the security system that doesn't have false positives (or false negatives). It doesn't exist, though.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:51 AM   #244
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Josem View Post
I have no inside/expert knowledge here. I ceased working for PokerStars well before SCOOP 2017, and ceased working on US-related things back in 2013. Thus, I have no inside info to share here, merely interpreting what I've read.

I've read two key documents here:
a) the filed lawsuit from Vayo
b) the statement issued by PokerStars to some media outlets the other day

The filed lawsuit appears to describe the situation as follows - this is my brief summation, not exhaustive, etc. I'm also not commenting on the jurisdiction stuff, because I'm not a lawyer, I dunno how that will pan out.

1) Vayo claims to have played from Canada.
2) PokerStars claimed that they suspected he played from USA.
3) They exchanged some communication (security agents for PS, Vayo responding via email) whereby PokerStars asked various questions of Vayo, and he responded.
4) PokerStars' investigators decided that he was in the USA
5) Vayo's lawyer wrote to PS
6) PS's lawyer wrote to Vayo's lawyer
7) Vayo sued

PokerStars have commented in (6) above, and also publicly to the media.

In the lawsuit, Vayo's lawyer quoted from PS's lawyer. Allegedly, PS's lawyer said that it was "not inconceivable" that Vayo played from the USA. Obviously, PokerStars can't go around confiscating money from customers when it's "not inconveivable" that they broke the rules. PokerStars has previously held themselves to a much higher standard than this - god knows the abuse I got on this forum around cheating allegations several years ago.

In addition, PokerStars' comment to the media spoke about game integrity issues. Obviously, which side of the 49th parallel you play poker from has no impact on the integrity of the game. Those two issues do not interact - which side of Rainy River you play from does not matter to the "integrity of the game". It might be a technical TOS breach, but it's not a game integrity issue.

Thus, from all of this, I think there has to be something untold about the PokerStars position, because as described, it doesn't make sense - and from what they've said, it might revolve around this "integrity of the game" issue. Confounding this, their lawyer - from the very limited quoted extract - seems to be a bit of a muppet, because "not inconceivable" is a terrible standard for confiscating $700k, and entirely unprecedented in PokerStars' history.


Really, the burden on proof shoulf be on PokerStars to affirmatively prove that the guy was in the USA before confiscating money. It certainly was their standard in the past.

In Vayo's situation, however, he knows where he was, so it should not be overly difficult to prove that. For example, depending on how long records are kept, it should not be hard to show financial transactions taking place in various locations; it should not be hard to show geolocation history; it should not be impossible to get documentation showing when you left/entered a country.


a) I don't see anywhere that PokerStars has said that in any meaningful/intentional way outside the now-removed help page on their website (obviously it is possible that a staff member has mistakenly said that, but you can't take every such error so literally).

b) The statement makes no sense because IP addresses don't have "real locations". IP addresses are unrelated to geography. That's the whole damn point of IP addresses - it's a method for computers to use to communicate, not a method for humans to evaluate geographic location. Some companies provide a service where they try to estimate a likely geographical service on the basis of an IP address, but holding players responsible for those third-party services is nonsensical, especially because there are many such errors in those third-party services.

An IP address is just one data point, and a complete and proper investigation needs to look at a whole variety of issues.
I suspect that, if this goes forward, you just made the Plaintiff's expert witness list ...

As a practical matter, your post may prompt a settlement discussion.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:57 AM   #245
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

Quote:
Originally Posted by SageDonkey View Post
Win, lose or draw, Stars Group will drag this out for as long as possible because that is the GTO legal proceedings play when you have much more time, money and resources than your opponent and it is you that is being sued.

If I was Gordon Vayo's lawyer my tactic would be to semi-bluff check raise all in on the flop and then negotiate an equity deal settlement and not run the turn or river.

I reckon a fair price is about $250K based on what I have seen ITT.
Very cute, ....... now run along.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:00 PM   #246
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by zoogenhiem View Post
If IP address doesn't show physical location then how does geolocation work?
An IP address can be off by thousands of miles. In the past, I've had IP address show up as "Africa" while the actual location was Central America.

Geolocation operates on a variety of tests/factors, not simply an IP address.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:01 PM   #247
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Gzesh View Post
An IP address can be off by thousands of miles. In the past, I've had IP address show up as "Africa" while the actual location was Central America.

Geolocation operates on a variety of tests/factors, not simply an IP address.
Yah - just to stress, my post above only related to the use of IP address geolocation. There are other technologies and methods. I do not know what PokerStars (currently) uses on their .COM player pool for players putatively in Canada. They probably use different systems in different jurisdictions, but I'm not sure of that.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:03 PM   #248
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Gzesh View Post
I suspect that, if this goes forward, you just made the Plaintiff's expert witness list ...
Wonder if the Defense will highlight a recent podcast where the person admits in their new role as Head of Security for a different pokersite, that they are unaware if US players can play on that site or not
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:08 PM   #249
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

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Originally Posted by Josem View Post
I like your idea of the security system that doesn't have false positives (or false negatives). It doesn't exist, though.
I'm thinking more in probabilities than possibilities. Either,

1. Vayo for whatever reason couldn't connect to a secure network
2. Needed a VPN to somehow make the network more secure
3. The VPN happened to malfunction
4. It malfunctioned to a state where it showed Vayo being in the US

- OR -

he's lying

I'm not saying 1-4 can't happen, just that if you're presenting a pretty far fetched story to the judge or jury the burden should be on you to back it up.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:50 PM   #250
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Re: Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars For $700k SCOOP Prize

Quote:
Originally Posted by NMcNasty View Post
I'm thinking more in probabilities than possibilities. Either,

1. Vayo for whatever reason couldn't connect to a secure network
2. Needed a VPN to somehow make the network more secure
3. The VPN happened to malfunction
4. It malfunctioned to a state where it showed Vayo being in the US

- OR -

he's lying

I'm not saying 1-4 can't happen, just that if you're presenting a pretty far fetched story to the judge or jury the burden should be on you to back it up.
Allocation of the burden of proof in a civil matter is not determined by how direct or far fetched a story may be. However, whether someone meets a burden of proof imposed upon them may certainly turn on how far fetched their story may be.

Generally speaking, a US civil plaintiff must prove the elements of its claims under a "more likely than not" standard. That is its burden, to prove "this is what the Defendant did", and argue that activity or failure to act means it is liable to the Plaintiff, for some legal reason.

If it fails, a defendant may successfully move to dismiss the case in some form...... without having to present any "story" of its own, far-fetched or simple.

Discovery is where parties feel out each others stories through depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, etc. Participation in discovery is mandatory, unless you live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and are in the middle of four year job there.
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