Early on Monday morning, PokerStars celebrated its 25 billionth hand dealt on the site, but not without some confusion, a software error, and ultimately two major award winners.
Starting last Wednesday, PokerStars had been counting down the hands until its milestone 25 billionth hand was dealt. When the count reached 24.85 billion, every millionth hand resulted in cash awards for whichever table was in action. The prizes ranged from $300 for the winner in a micro-stakes game to $2,500 for those in the rarefied air of the high-roller tables.
By the time early Monday morning rolled around, the penultimate hand was drawing near and players were frantically on the tables, trying to be the group that would participate in the 25 billionth hand on PokerStars. When the countdown finally reached 25,000,000,000, the hand came up on a six-handed, $1/$2 Limit Omaha High-Low table. This is the point where the fun truly began, not only for those at the tables, but also for the staff of PokerStars.
Sitting at the virtual table for the 25 billionth hand were the following players: CONFEDERATE (who was not dealt into the hand and therefore not eligible for any of the bounty), NEONFROST, TUPAPI777, FRTSPKNDMN, N47J25S, and CHRIS12080. The six players patiently waited for a table host to explain the proceedings and what was at stake. For the winner at the table, $150,000 in cash and prizes was up for grabs, with $100,000 going into the online account of the winner and a seat at four of the most prestigious live and online poker tournaments (the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo Grand Final in Monaco, the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, and PokerStars’ own World Championship of Online Poker Main Event).
With the hand occurring on an Omaha High-Low table, there was the distinct possibility that the pot could be split, meaning that there would be two winners. As the action began to play out – and due to the large numbers that were playing online and watching the table where the action occurred – there was a software glitch that resulted in NEONFROST’s hand disappearing from the table. NEONFROST, only sitting on $7 at the time, stated he did not fold and his cards simply disappeared instead of giving him a chance to take part.
PokerStars was quick on the issue and reviewed the hand. After determining that NEONFROST indeed did not take any action, it was allowed to play out as if he was in the pot. This was fortunate for NEONFROST, as he was able to hit the high hand at the Omaha table with a Queen-high flush. At the same time, TUPAPI777 made a qualifying low hand and split the pot with NEONFROST.
After a few moments, PokerStars announced that NEONFROST and TUPAPI777 would split the $100,000 award. In addition, each would receive a complete tournament package. For being in action at the table when the hand was dealt, the three remaining players – FRTSPKNDMN, N47J25S, and CHRIS12080 – each walked off with $33,333.