I'm going to write down the whole EPT Barcelona hotel arts story. This has been one of the most disturbing things I've gone through in my life. Please read the entire story before replying, I will answer questions I feel deserve to be answered. I have not had time to read the replies to my earlier thread.
It all started with me busting out of the main event day 2 fairly early, around 15:30. I walk straight to my room to go online and surf the internet for a while. When I get to the room my key is not working. I go down to the reception and they sync my key. I get back to the room to find out my laptop is not on the table where I left it. I have a very big and heavy fuijitsu celsius laptop, so it's usually very easy to see. They have cleaned the room so I assume the cleaning lady has moved it somewhere. I do look everywhere multiple times but just can't find it.
I'm staying with my friend Henri in the same room, and I can only think of two options, he has borrowed the laptop (I don't know why he would) or it has been stolen. However how could it get stolen so it must be him borrowing it. My phone hasn't been working for a few days but he told me he was going to play the cash games at the casino (very close to the hotel, basically one big complex) so I walk over there to ask him about the laptop. He says he doesn't know anything about it, but tells me his key wasn't working either which sounded like a pretty weird coincidence(he also played day 2 of the main event but busted 2 hours before me) so I walk back to my room to have a better look just incase.
I get into the room and boom, the laptop has reappeared on the table, exactly how I left it this morning before going to the tournament. My heart jumps, my mind is racing, for a second or two I'm doubting my sanity. Then I remember a clear photograph from my memory how the laptop charger was laying loosely alone on that table just less than 10min ago. There is 0.001% the laptop was laying on that table at that time. This is when I get scared. Someone has been in my room during this short period of time, for what I know he could be hiding under the bed or in the bathroom right NOW. I quickly run out of the room and take the elevator to the reception. I tell them what happened and they bring me this Guest Relations Supervisor, Laia.
At this point we recode both mine and my friends keys, and Laia says that even if someone had the copy of our keys or some other way access to our room, now it would be impossible(and as will be mentioned in a moment, not too long after, the room was broken into again). She tells me they will check the cameras but it will take a while. I go back up to my room to check my computer (it was working perfectly normal the day before, and it did require a password to enter). I turn it on to see it going to black screen:
and after that to this:
So now I was a 100% sure of what is going on.
I go to have dinner with a friend of mine, probably like 1 and a half hours later I come back to the reception. Laia informs me that the cameras in my corridor were not working and have not been for a week. I'm stunned but somehow I had a feeling something like this was this was the case, it couldn't be that easy. They tell me they will investigate the matter, and we agree to have a meeting with laia and some security manager tomorrow at 12, I get a feeling they are not taking me seriously. I go back to my room still shocked, only to find out my key is not working again. Then back to the reception where laia still is, I tell her the key didn't work and ask for it to be synced. She does that and tells me she will come up with me to check the key. We get into the room, and the laptop has gone missing AGAIN.
I'm in complete shock, do not have words to describe the feeling. We look through the entire room but nothing to be found. Laia calls the security about this, and has me and my friend transferred two floors up to a suite. We again agree to meet at 12 tomorrow morning. I walk back to the casino cash game area to talk to my friend about what has happened, and that I need to borrow his laptop to close down all my online poker accounts. He tells me we should just completely change the hotel just to be sure, this all is too scary.
We go to the reception and ask for laia to tell her this. She tells us she has informed the security guys to look extra carefully at our corridor, even during the nighttime. We agree that's good enough when suddenly laia gets a call. She talks spanish for a while and asks me what model my laptop is, fuijitsu? I tell her yes. She tells me someone found it at the hotel lobby and the security has it now. She asks us to wait and goes to get it. She does return with my laptop.
This is just really weird, why leave it in the hotel? Why not just throw it in the sea when they realized their operation had failed. This later became pretty clear, the fact that nothing had gone missing made this investigation so much harder to do, people did not realize how serious this thing was. Oh and now the computer starts and goes to windows perfectly, the only thing is it does not ask for any password anymore. At this point I also tell my friend Ville Wahlbeck, a pokerstars pro about this thing who then forwards it to pokerstars.
I go to the pokerstars staff room close to the tournament area, everyone is very friendly and helpful, the it-guy offers to check my laptop which I let him but tells me this is not his speciality. He doesn't find anything but tells me if someone cracked the password it's very likely they know enough to delete the system logs and all the traces aswell. I explain the situation to one of the staffmembers who sends the story as an email to pokerstars security. Now however we talk about this whole thing with my friend alot before going to bed and are very confident that this will get solved, the lobby is full of cameras so we will see how the laptop ended up where it did. The elevators are full of cameras and have a very small time interval so we should see a guy carrying a huge laptop. All in all we just have big expectations from tomorrows meeting at 12.
During this night something very weird happens that hasn't ever happened to me before in any luxury hotel. Me and my friend wake up to a room phonecall at 5:30 saying "Your taxi is ready" I ask what taxi - "the taxi to the airport" - i ask "with whos name?" - no name, just the room number, I tell the guy on the phone haven't ordered any taxi and the call ends. It could be we are just imagining, we were extremely paranoid at this point, but my friend said he thought the guy on the phone did not sound like a hotel employee because of the way he talked, it was not in that usual polite way but actually fairly rude one.
We wake up again to the phone ringing at 9:30. I answer and there is a voice saying "do you want to make business" I answer "What" - again "do you want to make business" - "Huh about what?" - "About the women" I just answer "no" and hang up. Now we are both too upset to get anymore sleep. For us it already seems clear someone from the hotel staff is in on this, so they can easily find out to which room we have moved. Now these calls could obviously be a coincidence aswell but lay them behind your ear for a while as my story continues.
The time is passing by so slowly but finally it is 11:45 and we decide to go down already to ask for laia. I've also asked Ville Wahlbeck to join us, as I know he is good to deal with these kind of situations. He also told me pokerstars will have a separate meeting with the hotel later this day. She is ready and she is with an old guy she presents as the security guy. This man does not speak any english and laia will translate both ways.
Within the first few minutes it is very clear he is not here to help us. He is here to make this thing go away, anything we try to bring him he comes up with some weird explanations. At one point he basically says "Nothing has gone missing, you already got a room upgrade and free roomservice, what more do you want?" Firstly I go straight to the point, I tell him so the laptop was found in the lobby, which is ful of cameras, did you find the guy who was with it? He answers that the laptop was not actually found in the lobby, but someone had brought it to some hotel employee in the second floor, and in that place the cameras did not work.
We three just look at eachother stunned, this is so laughable. I ask him if it's just these cameras not working or how many are not working right now to which he responds that 8 cameras. If this is true, it is pretty shocking for a 5 star luxury hotel to have this kind of a hole in their security system, or it could just be a lie because they were very unwilling to help us and it was just an easy way to not have to check the footage, or the final option, that someone from the staff is hiding something. I then tell him ok but you have cameras in the elevators, he tells me there are so many people in this hotel it's impossible look through all the footage, I try to tell him it is a very short interval when the guy was in my room but he is not listening. The only thing they provide us with is a door entrylog to our room, which is fairly confusing, he talks about how the codes change when you go to the reception to resync the key, there is three different codes on that paper and he explains this third one is my friends new code for his key.
Everything of this is so confusing and we are already so tilted we didn't look at this too closely until later with my friend, and realized they had explained the codes wrong to us. So there was two options, a guy from the security personnel could not read his own hotels security code, or they were intentionally trying to trick us. However I will get back to this in more detail later in this story. We know this meeting is not leading anywhere and pokerstars probably will be able to pressure them better or somehow explain the seriosity of the situation so we decide the meeting is over.
I'm mentally crushed. I don't believe what just happened in the last 30 minutes. Everything was so clear before we entered that meeting, we thought there was close to no chance this would not get resolved. I however have hopes that pokerstars will deal with this properly. I wait and after sometime after 17:00 I get a text from a pokerstars rep saying the meeting was finished. That the "hotel changed their view about the cameras" (still not sure what this means, certainly not our rooms corridor cameras, probably about the ones when the laptop was found the second time, but wtf how do you change your view, you mean lied at first), and that the hotel is reviewing the footage now and will update us later tonight. The casino is also going to review the footage as they have to ensure my friend was plaing the cash games, and that the head of arts security has agreed this is a major breach in security.
I'm ecstatic, I thank them and send the exact cash game table where my friend was sitting so we can get him out of the picture.
I wait and around 21:00 I get a text from another pokerstars rep saying that the hotel has to make a full investigation and will give the report tomorrow morning. I go back to the room with very high hopes for tomorrow. We also tell the reception to not let any calls through to our room during the night.
We wake up at 11:00 to the alarm clock and no updates yet. I go to the pool to wait and ask the pokerstars rep a few times but no updates. At some point I hear the hotel and stars have a new meeting to see the report. I wait and wait and after 21 in the evening they finally have news for me and tell me I have to come alone no exceptions. I try to explain this concerns my friend just as much as myself, his laptop could also be in danger but she insists. We walk to the pokerstars staff room where I meet the pokerstars security manager. We sit down and he tells me "your friend might not be as good of a friend as you think he is". I know this friend of mine very well, we travelled two months in south america last winter, he hangs around my house, he has had so many better spots do this to me that I don't really take this seriously. I assume the stars security manager has some heavy proof, however he shows me some notes about the same door entrylogs we saw in that meeting earlier.
The hotel seems to have convinced him of what they tried to show us, even after they had been caught lying before. This is basically all he has, and then also that the cameras were working in the second floor where the hotel claimed the laptop was found, but when he checked the footage nothing happened there, so he was going to look into that aswell. I did explain that there is a very very veeery low % that my friend is behind this, and that I thought you already checked the cameras that he was playing in the cash games, but he had not. He also did not know at which cash game table my friend had been sitting at even though as I wrote earlier I texted this to a pokerstars representative who answered the text with "thanks, that helps alot". I also said my friend Ilari Sahamies was sitting at the same cash game table and had told me that my friend had been there the entire time. He wrote down Ilari as a witness some paper. I then asked if we could focus on what we will do after you check the cameras in case my friend is not the one who did it, like check the 10 minute interval from the elevators when my laptop for the first time had reappeared. He seemed very busy and in a hurry the entire meeting and said that he will first check the cash game cameras for my friend and then tomorrow go from there if he is not the suspect.
In my childish mind I had imagined like a team of multiple pokerstars security guys investigating this putting huge pressure on the hotel... But I do sincerely think he was trying to do his best, he just had his hands full with the tournament security. I feel like pokerstars should've either put someone else on this case or someone on the job he normally has so he could put more time on this case. In less than 30 minutes of the meeting starting he had to go.
I was CRUSHED. I can't remember the last time I've felt like this. My legs were shaking and I was ready to vomit at any second. I didn't believe this, it all seemed like some kind of sick twisted joke. I ran into Juha Helppi at the casino entrance where he asked how it went (I had told most of the finnish guys at some point in this situation about what was going on) I told him about this last meeting and he couldn't believe it either. We just could not understand when something so clearly had happened and we had very exact times on everything in a hotel full of cameras that this could just be sweeped under carpet by bureaucracy. He saw how crushed I was and I told him I had no more energy to deal with this, that I was going to take a flight back home to Finland the next morning and just be in touch through the phone with the pokerstars security manager. My hopes for anything to happen were very low. There was no talk of getting the police involved anymore.
This is basically where the story was supposed to end, I had it pictured in my mind already, perhaps in an even more negative tone, was going to write it the second I got home to Finland.
At this point I think it's good to go through the door entrylog, as my friend was smart enough to take a picture of it. I'm jumping a bit in the timeline, as me and my friend started looking at this log just before going to bed this same evening, and it actually made total sense. This leaves two options. The security guy we had the meeting with was either incompetent and could not read his own hotels security logs, or he was lying to us:
It starts with my friend busting out of the tournament, he tried to enter the room at 13:32 with his key 45D787. The last attempt is at 13:32:21, he takes the elevator down to the reception and 2 minutes 30 seconds later at 13:35:57 he is back at the door and it unlocks for his key 45D787. As you can see the code did not change when he went to the reception to get it resynced. 20 minutes later the room is unlocked for maid service (which we do not suspect had anything to do with it). But here is the interesting part: The key number 3EDC24 is neither of ours that attempts to enter the room for the first time at 14:51:04. At this time my friend is playing cash games and I'm still in the main event, so this can easily be proved with cameras that pokerstars also has access to (they had access to the entire casino cameras). At 14:54:26 some sort of service personnel enters the room is fairly lucky as it seems to buy me 20 minutes of time. 15:19:06 you can see he finally gets access to my room, 3 minutes before this he has unsuccessfully tried to enter again a few times. I arrive at my room door at 15:40:01 with my key 45D009, my last attempt being at 15:40:44 before going down to the reception to resync my key and arrive back to the room at 15:44:29. As you can see the key number once again does not change. It seems the minibar service had been there 2min30sec earlier but noone was there when I entered. This is the time I notice the laptop is missing. I search for it for 9 minutes and when I'm leaving the room at 15:53:12 I remember testing to see if my key works which shows in the log as another unlock. I walk to the casino to ask my friend if he has seen my laptop. During this 3EDC24 enters my room at 16:02:18. Only 2min 41 seconds before I am back in my room and notice the laptop is there (16:04:59). Which is pretty ****ing scary. He could have even been hiding in the bathroom as I was in the room.
It took me and my friend 5 minutes to figure out this when noone was there trying to tell us what everything meant. Obviously we can't be 100% sure this analysis is correct but seems pretty damn clear to me. This can also be proved for sure with the lobby and elevator cameras. And it is this exact log that made the hotel blame my friend and pokerstars to suspect my friend which is pretty ****ing absurd, when even if you don't understand the log you could have synced the times with the cameras to get the whole picture. They somehow in a very unclear way told that according to the logs the only other person who entered the room after me was my friend, and that his keys code somehow had changed after the resync. (Even if it was true that the resync changes the code, there should be 2 keycodes that tried to enter the room unsuccessfully, and then 2 new keycodes, that then successfully unlocked the room, which there clearly was not.
So back to the story. I was walking from the casino to my hotel room just crushed. Tired of picking up the soap from the prison shower floor. As a pokerplayer I do not believe in anything supernatural but this had to be faith. In the hotel elevator a guy looks at me and says hey jeans. I don't recognize him at first and say hey, whats up, who are you. He answers "I'm Ignat, 0human0, how are you?" Even this is so sick, as I almost always just make the standard (I'm fine, what about you?) answer but this time I was just too sick of everything so I answered "Not good, my laptop was stolen". He looks at me with a surprised face and says his was also.
And then we find out the exact same thing had happened, but for him it was today, two days later than my incident. He returns to his room from the beach, his key doesn't work, he gets a new key to notice his laptop is not in his room. He goes down to the reception to complain and comes back up only to notice that the laptop has been returned. He also says there was 2 phonecalls made to his room. One asking when he wanted the room to be cleaned, to which he had answered in 2 hours. Another one after that 2 hours, where when he answered nothing was said, and the call just ended. So very likely someone checking if he still is in his room or not. I asked him if he had been told about my case. He said no, he said "they did tell me there was some small similar case but it was just the guys friend messing around" .
He also told me that they had caught the guy on tape entering his room. This gave me a huge wave of new energy. I immediately took the elevator down with him, told him that we had to go see the pokerstars security manager, he was still there and for the first time I felt he took this thing as seriously as it should be taken. He came with us to the reception to talk with whoever ignat had been talking to and after nothing more could be done he said he would be back there 8 in the morning to continue solving it. He would call us right after he has news. We went back to our room with my friend and just talked for a few hours about this whole sick thing. It feels like this could only happen in a movie. Then we started talking about the entrylogs that I analyzed a bit earlier in this post and took a look at the picture he had of them. It really took us less than 5 minutes to make sense of them, and I don't think we would have ever looked at them again had I not ran into Ignat.
And here we are, the next day now. I just spoke with the manager who told me he has a meeting with pokerstars at 14:00 and 15:00 with the hotel. I told him we had solved the entrylog and it would help alot with the meeting with the hotel but he did not have time to go through that.
So this is the entire story 100% as I remember it writing this in my hotel room. I believe that this has happened to multiple players, me and ignat only happened to be lucky enough to come back to our room at the right time. We both also had it in common that both need a password to enter the laptop, otherwise it would probably have taken them less time to fix the laptops. I also am still completely stunned at how this whole thing almost got sweeped under the carpet with all the evidence, in an European Union country at a 5 star luxury hotel. I will write more when I hear news, or if I come up with something I forgot. Feel free to post questions and I'll try to answer them when I have time. If your question from my other thread was not answered in this post feel free to post it again.
If this investigation does not lead to any results, we think it is unacceptable for pokerstars to organize the event at the same place next year.
Jens & Henri
Last edited by Videopro; 09-06-2013 at 01:22 PM.
Reason: added link to original thread.
Damn that is shady as hell, lol @ the cameras not working.
The manager sounds shady as hell too... Guessing some of the people were in on it or just receiving payoffs from some organised crime operation.
Why are poker players so passive? We let them take away our online poker, we let them get away with things like this. I would refuse to leave until I got a clear explanation on EXACTLY why this has happened, would threaten to sue Stars and the hotel and get myself the best lawyer I could find and sue some people. You people areso passive. You just let people walk over you. MAN UP AND GET A LAWYER. If you're lawyer says there is nothing that can be done. Then sack him and get a new lawyer, because a good lawyer knows there is ALWAYS something that can be done!
Did the receptionist seem to hold you up or make a call or text etc. when getting ur card resynched? Seems weird two days later it would happen to Ignat was the same reception or the security guy working those days but off the day earlier.
Jeans, having worked closely with victims like you before I would ask you to do the following:
1. Do not turn back on that laptop, especially if it can be connected to the internet
2. Buy a new laptop, with your standard stakes this will cost you 2-3BB and could will save you a ton of money in the future
3. Bring your laptop to a trusted security expert (preferably an (ex)hacker that you personally know or that is vouched for by a ton of people you know). Get him to find out exactly what has been installed/done to your machine and if there any unusual IP addresses etc that it is "talking to"
4. Change your passwords to your poker sites / email address etc from a different computer (preferably the one that you buy). Use a different password for each account, it can be a pain, but is needed
5. Get security tokens for all sites that offer them if you don’t already
While the cameras might “not be working”, it is possible that they have been purposefully turned off. There could well be information in the Hotel’s Security Database showing who turn off what cameras and when – maybe push for this to be looked into too.
I wrote a small piece on professional players using their laptop/computer for ONLY poker, which might be useful for you and others going forward (apart from people breaking into your room ):
Originally Posted by pmarrsouth
The best way of safeguarding your living is to have a computer and internet connection dedicated for POKER USE ONLY. Anyone playing for a living, especially $3/$6+, should have this. Nothing else should be installed on that machine other than your poker sites, your HEM/PT and table ninja/AHK. There is no need to have anything none poker related on it. The dedicated internet connection should only ever be used to have that computer connected to it - no phones, no personal computers, no friends who come around to the house, etc.
Skype/AIM/IMing/Facebooking/webbrowsing etc should all be used from your personal computer and another internet connection.
These people who are planting stuff on your computers are doing it as they know your IP address from programs such as Skype, AIM and also from having phishing sites which they will direct you to. Also poker players will allow people into their hotel rooms that they don’t really know, where they have their own poker laptops laid out in full view. This happens at poker events around the world. Letting people into your house when you are not there who can wander about is an issue too.
Unfortunately poker players are notoriously lazy and the vast majority of them will not be bothered to spend 1 BI (or even <1 BB in the case of a nosebleed player) on a dedicated computer. A 2nd internet connection for most people will cost a few BB per month. Players will not be bothered about doing the above as it “wont happen to me” and then be amazed when it does happen to them. Some players wont even bother doing it after being hit for 6 figures, when heavily advised to do it as they are clearly a target.
While the above will not 100% rule out someone infecting your machines, it will heavily reduce the possibility of you getting compromised in this manner
Buy a dedicated computer, only install sites & HEM/PT & TN
Get a dedicated internet connection for that computer only
Lock your computer when not in use if people in house
Don’t allow people to use/ go near your laptop when at a live poker tourny
You can PM me here if you want any further information or have questions
The fact that in both yours and Human's case (and probably others) that the laptop happened to be immediately returned when you went downstairs to ask for a new key means it's pretty likely staff is in on this (staff notify each other or whatever when you are downstairs, main culprit is hiding in the room or more likely nearby on the floor). Really unfortunate and scary stuff, hope this is resolved.