Saturday, October 06, 2007

WCOOP Main Event Investigation Continues...

[Cal here, on weekend duty---]
Online Poker

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The investigation into whether the account that won the recently completed PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker [WCOOP] main event, "TheV0id," continues to go on behind the scenes at PokerStars. Rumors about the identify of the account holder quickly leaked out following the win last week, since "TheV0id" had no appreciable tournament history before showing up deep in one the richest online tournament ever held, complete with a $2,600 entry fee to boot.

It seemed that the account in question had been registered to the sister of British poker pro Mark Teltscher; Teltscher was the winner of an EPT event in 2006 and a runnerup in another EPT tourney earlier this year. However, Teltscher, an egotistical and controversial player, had his own account ("play2kill") also in that tourney, which had busted out during the middle stages. Later forum postings also suggest that Teltscher may have frequented loaned the play2kill account to high-stakes players Mikael Thuritz and Sander Lylloff, another happening which, if proven, would be against Stars policy.

To make matters more interesting, it seemed as though the accounts designated for both Teltscher and Teltscher's sister had been tracked as playing the event from the same Internet ISP (this was specifically refuted later in a second, public Stars post), making the chance that this was really Teltscher playing both accounts far more likely. While other questions were raised, and later dropped, about a couple of the other final-table players, the investigation into Teltscher continues.

A PokerStars security person posted the following on the 2+2 forums on October 4th:

PokerStars's standard practice is to conduct a special security review for players in each large tournament, including the Sunday Million and WCOOP events.

At this time the review is completed for all players in the WCOOP Main Event which concluded on October 1, except for the winner, where the investigation is continuing. We hope to conclude it as soon as possible.

The details of all security investigations are confidential.

This player has also requested that their personal information is not disclosed, and therefore PokerStars cannot divulge information about the player's identity.

Stephen W.
Manager, PokerStars Game Security

As to the matter of the supposedly duplicated ISP, Stephen W. from PokerStars popped on the following day to add this:

Having read much of the speculation in this and other similar threads, I feel compelled to clarify a couple of points.

1. The account that won the WCOOP main event was played from the same computer and the same IP from the start of the tournament until the finish.
2. No other account played from this same IP or computer, during the tournament.

Having stated the above, there are still serious open questions that require the investigation to continue.

Rest assured that the purpose of this investigation is to ascertain the facts of the case in their entirety. The outcome that is reached will be based on those facts alone and no regard will be paid to speculation or outside pressures.

Stephen W.
Manager, PokerStars Game Security

And to date, the results of the investigation have still not been released. The episode remains a curious one, since if the $1.2 million first-prize is seized and re-distributed to the other players, it would be by far the largest ever amount tied to rules-circumvention allegations. More on this is likely to come out next week.

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