Technology can be a pain in the ass sometimes. As awesome as it is (it lets us play poker online!), it can let us down at the worst possible moments. That was the case yesterday on PokerStars, when the world’s largest poker room experienced an outage right in the middle of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). The outage began at about 5:00pm ET and lasted for a solid couple of hours.
In a blog post today, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset, apologized to players for Monday’s problems, saying:
We strive every day to provide you with the best and biggest poker experience online and we take great pride in that, so on the rare occasion when there is a problem we want to make good on it. This is what we’re going to do: we’ll offer compensation, re-run the events that have not taken place properly next Tuesday, refund our players and look into possible ways to improve our refund policy.
Rasset explained that most tournaments that were running at the time of the outage – including the SCOOP events – would be “rolled forward.” That is, players will be refunded their tournament fees and then the prize pool will be split up among the remaining players. For tournaments that had yet to reach the money, 50 percent of the prize pool is divided equally among the remaining players while the other 50 percent is divided according to chip counts.
For tournaments that had already reached the money, every player remaining receives the minimum prize that hadn’t yet been awarded when the tournament was cancelled. The rest of the prize pool is split up according to chip counts.
Some tournaments will be “rolled back,” or essentially just cancelled with everyone’s money refunded and no prizes awarded. Rasset said that typically, about 10 percent of tourneys get rolled back. It’s like they never happened.
The refund process will take a few days as we need to perform due diligence and ensure that everyone is getting paid the correct funds. Also, we know that some players flagged up concerns of late registration exploitation and refund calculations that are not optimal due to extenuating circumstances. We are aware of both circumstances, and consider them important issues that we will address. Changing policy from one day to another isn’t possible as we detail our terms and conditions on our website, but I do want to ensure that our most important policies are as flexible as possible for those times that our players count on them.
There were some SCOOP events that never ever played out on Monday because of the technical problems, including Rush to the Bubble and Four-Max. SCOOP will be extended one day to next Tuesday and those events that weren’t played yesterday will be rescheduled for that extra day.
Additionally, PokerStars will hold a freeroll for anyone who was in a tournament at 5:00pm ET on May 15th. The freeroll, which will hopefully be held on Thursday (this is pending PokerStars ability to identify every eligible player), will award 100 tickets to the $1,050 buy-in, $5 million guaranteed SCOOP-01 No-Limit Hold’em event. PokerStars wants to get an e-mail to every eligible player on Wednesday, if possible.