PokerStars Offers Freerolls for DDoS-Affected Players

PokerStars Offers Freerolls for DDoS-Affected Players

The recent swarm of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on internet poker sites was frustrating for operators and players alike. Sites ranging from Americas Cardroom on the Winning Poker Network to larger sites like PartyPoker and PokerStars were victimized by the attacks within a matter of two weeks earlier this month.

All seems to be calm now in the online poker world, and the sites seem to have staved off the attacks. The source remains unknown – as does the notion that the attacks were coordinated in any way – but not all players emerged happy with the way the sites dealt with the problems. While some players were reimbursed and accounts were settled, players in tournaments lost things that cannot be repaid like momentum, chip leads, and general rungood.

PokerStars wants to offer a gesture of goodwill toward everyone affected, and its in the form of approximately $650K in freerolls on August 22.

Five Freerolls

PokerStars has decided to offer some free money to all those affected by disconnections as a result of the DDoS attacks. The operator has a record of all players who were kicked off the poker site due to the DDoS problems from August 12-14, and each of them should find three freeroll tickets in their PokerStars accounts before the freerolls begin on Wednesday, August 22.

The free tournaments will run from August 22 to August 26 with one per day. Players on the dot-com site will find that each of the five freerolls are worth $100K each, with prizes in the form of tickets to the upcoming World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). The shared online poker market between France and Spain will offer five freerolls at €20K each, consisting of tickets to the Galactic Series. And the Italian market is looking at five €10K freerolls with prizes in the form of tournament tickets reflecting the dot-IT site’s daily schedule.

The details of the tournaments came from Pokerfuse, which reported that the “Players Freerolls” are located in global client lobby with a message: “This is one of five $100,000 freerolls to say thanks for your patience.” The European lobbies will reflect similar postings.

Pokerfuse also reported that players in India and New Jersey, two other markets affected by the DDoS attacks, have no freerolls on their schedules. In addition, those in Portugal and the Czech Republic won’t be allowed to participate in any freerolls because of their respective regulations that prohibit freeroll-type tournaments.

Learning from the Mistakes of Others

PokerStars’ final responses to the DDoS attacks was customer service in action. The immediate responses lacked some of the transparency for which many had hoped, as it took a couple of days to admit to the DDoS attacks as the source of the problem. And much to the dismay of all, including PokerStars, it took several days to put a final stop to the invasion.

The most recent wave off DDoS attacks started with Americas Cardroom on August 5. Not only did the problems continue for nearly one full week, the site operator and network both refused to admit to the source of the problem or use social media to let players know of their attention to it. And instead of admitting to being attacked, as happens to many other operators, Americas Cardroom pointed to another site that was dealing with the same issue. “Look! It’s happening to them!” It wasn’t a positive response.

Speaking of that other site, it was PartyPoker that then fell victim to DDoS attackers for several days. That operator’s response, however, was transparent and timely. Messages went to players via email, social media, and the PartyPoker Blog, complete with admissions and apologies.

Next up was PokerStars, and though the operator didn’t immediately recognize (or admit) to the source of the disconnection problems for so many of its players, it took only a few days for a significant response, complete with apologies via social media and a remedy that allowed every victim the chance to benefit. The freerolls took the PokerStars response a step beyond to indicate the seriousness of the problem and the need to reach out to players to apologize.

It seems that the sites that are part of publicly-traded companies and that maintain longstanding, generally positive reputations within the poker community did the right thing in the end. Not every player is going to be pleased with the responses of the sites, but the operators did respond with transparency, sincerity, and sensitivity.

In contrast, Americas Cardroom has not only responded without the necessities listed above, the site is still experiencing problems two weeks later.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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