WPN Announces Bot Crackdown and Player Reimbursements

WPN Announces Bot Crackdown and Player Reimbursements

Some trends in poker are positive. One in which online poker sites take greater steps to eliminate bots and reduce the amount of unfair play is very positive.

Earlier in April, PartyPoker announced it had a team of fraud detectors in place that had recently detected 277 accounts affiliated with poker bots. Not only did the site close them down and confiscate funds, it reimbursed all players affected by unfair play against those bots. Nearly $735K was given back to victims.

Within days of that announcement, Americas Cardroom announced its own efforts to do the same. As it turned out, it was an effort by Winning Poker Network to rid all of its sites of bots, with the obvious and primary focus on its flagship site, Americas Cardroom.

Since then, one major player account has been banned, but it resulted in more than $175K in player reimbursements from that single bot-controlled account.

WPN Promotes Policy

The message that WPN and Americas Cardroom want to express is very clear: The policy is transparent and verifiable.

WPN claims to be the only network with such a policy, and that can be disputed another day. But one thing that is unique about WPN’s policy is that they will expose the banned player’s screenname. The company encourages players to check their records and double-check WPN’s math regarding reimbursement amounts. “All our cards are face up,” they said.

According to the WPN reimbursement policy, there is a cap of $25,000 in reimbursements per offending player, and those funds are distributed to victimized players beginning with the most recent occurrences and working back from there.

Regarding tournament action, an offending player will be removed from a payout spot, if applicable, and move all other players below that up one spot. And each player in those lower positions will be paid the difference between the old and new spots. For cash game play, “We subtract losses to the offending player from wins taken from the offending player in a given session.”

Bans and Reimbursements

The list of banned players started on April 11, 2019.

The first one on the list was called “FoxRox” based in Latvia. This account affected 1.3% of Americas Cardroom users, and a total of $175,728.80 was reimbursed to players on April 11. Five players were awarded more than $1K, with SirtySree seeing the largest refund of $1,876.92. A total of 4,401 players received reimbursements for play against the offender from Jun 15, 2018 to April 11, 2019.

The second banned player was “Gluckauf” – another from Latvia. This account affected less than one percent of ACR users from February 2 to April 15. There were 1,057 affected players and total reimbursements of $25,134.60. AAnoob received $736.60 back, the most of any of the victims.

Another eight confirmed bots have since been banned, and the process of delegating funds to affected players is in process.

CEO Comments

Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy released a video statement about the new bot policy and his actions to this point.

“Over the past year, our poker community has been very vocal about bots on WPN. As the CEO, I didn’t handle this well. I let personal feelings get in the way of what the business should have been doing. I apologize for not handling that better. It won’t happen again.”

He went on to talk about an imbalanced policy over the past year in response to bots, but he admitted to some of the harm that caused.

“In players’ minds, an unregulated poker site means an unsafe poker site, and I’m going to change that. I’m not going to ask you to trust me. Instead, WPN is committing to transparent, verifiable gaming policies.”

From there, he explained the aforementioned policies. He also noted that some players are unhappy with the distribution of funds from bots, and he is starting a conversation about it on Twitch this week. This will help determine how the latest bot funds will be distributed to the victims.

The conversations with the poker community have been a long time coming, as players like Joey Ingram have been complaining about bots on Americas Cardroom. If Nagy’s intention to become transparent and stay in communication with the community, it may allay many concerns.


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 PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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