Winning Poker Network Bans 31 Online Poker Accounts
Identifying and tracking down online poker bots, it is likely a difficult process. Once that part is done, someone (or a team of people) needs to look at all of the activity linked to those accounts, possibly over the course of years. Then, there is the identification of all players who lost money to those bot-associated accounts. And, of course, the poker operator must then notify all victims and issue refunds.
And that is an oversimplification of the process.
Few poker sites are transparent about the bots they identify and the money they seize. Some do reveal that information – at least in part – but it doesn’t happen often. Perhaps there are fewer bots on the sites today than in previous years. To the poker public, though, it seems as if the revelation of bots or illegally-operating accounts is rare and possibly only done under pressure.
As for the Winning Poker Network, the last update about bots came at the end of 2020. This week, however, WPN changed that with a new release of information.
Banning 31 Accounts
Actually, the Winning Poker Network did not reveal the information, nor did its flagship site Americas Cardroom. Poker player and writer Blaise Bourgeois took a screen shot of his email from WPN. It explained that WPN banned 31 accounts that violated the network’s terms and conditions.
With that, WPN was reimbursing $698,048.09 to the 29,380 victims.
This averages out to $23.76 per user.
— Blaise Bourgeois 🔥 (@BlaiseBourgeois) January 19, 2023
The problem was, however, that many of those who received that email did not actually receive the refunds. Bourgeois did not receive his money, nor did Jeremiah Williams.
Why is WPN claiming they refunded my blackchip poker account Ieaturbankr0l for $2850.32 when I'v only ever received $40.90 in refunds? @WPN_CEO whats going on here??? Attached is every refund I'v ever gotten + ACR claim that I'v been refunded 2850.32 pic.twitter.com/oJkfANvXdk
— Jeremiah Williams (@Jeremia19275163) January 19, 2023
Hopefully, there was simply a delay in finalizing those reimbursements.
That’s a Long Time
By taking a look at the chart on the WPN website listing banned accounts, anyone can see the accounts banned, the amount seized from them, and the date of credits for victimized players.
Interestingly, the banned accounts that were just announced this week show ban dates as far back as April 2021. That means that WPN sat on the seized funds and did not redistribute them – in some cases – for nearly two years. The most recent banned accounts happened in the summer of 2022, still six months prior to the distribution of funds.
WPN and ACR are not responding to Twitter inquiries about this topic from players.
Yes, actions matter. That is why WPN gets credit for finding bots, banning them, and redistributing funds to other players (or doing so in the near future, hopefully). In total, since WPN created the Security and Game Integrity Policies compensation tracker in 2019, the totals are:
-Total accounts banned: 165
-Total money redistributed: $4,112,269.08
-Total players credited: 96,715
Transparency also matters. While the WPN web pages dedicated to the subject and the available lists are certainly a sign of transparency, it is concerning that some credits took more than a year and a half to process.
Players want and deserve more expediency and communication.