Friday, September 06, 2013

EPT Barcelona Venue Marred by Hotel Room Break-ins

More weird news from the ongoing European Poker Tour Barcelona stop, where several prominent European pros have reported cases of their laptops gone missing from their rooms and then reappearing either in their rooms or elsewhere in the Barcelona Arts Hotel, the EPT venue.

The happenings, which as at last report involved at two different Finnish pros and a Russian player, were broadly publicized after a two-day brushoff by hotel staff given to Jens Kyllonen, one of the affected Finns.  Kyllonen, known online as Jeans89, ran into a strange series of events: First having his room keys not working ... then getting new keys ... getting the room open to find his laptop missing ... then reporting it to security ... then finding his new room keys not working again ... then getting a third set of keys ... then reentering his room to find his laptop magically returned, but with clear-cut evidence that it had been hacked, probably in an attempt to access and pilfer Kyllonen's high-stakes online accounts.

Another Finnish player, Ignat Liviu ("0human0") suffered the same strange series of events two days later, with the two Finns unaware of each other's problems until a chance encounter in an elevator.  (Liviu's laptop was later recovered somewhere near the Arts Hotel's lobby.)

Meanwhile, Kyllonen had been getting the runaround from the hotel's staff, including the bald-faced lie from security that none of the security cameras were working in the hallways; the same lie was also told separately to Liviu.  Eventually PokerStars officials became involved, and Lee Jones even took the unusual step of posting to 2+2 to acknowledge the situation.

In a couple of 2+2 threads, including the one where Jones later appeared, Kyllonen offered some convincing evidence that this was a hacking operation being run by someone affiliated by the hotel, possible including security.  Kyllonen even published this image of a key-card log for his room that he obtained in his many arguments with security, which he and Liviu were able to analyze and determine that the likeliest culprit was the guy stocking the in-room fridge and service bar in Kyllonen's $300-per-night room.  Look at all the different keys and failed accesses on this printout:

Meanwhile, PokerStars appears to be applying some corporate-level heat unavailable to standard players and other room guests, getting the Barcelona police involved.  Barcelona has a reputation for being one of Europe's scummiest locales, a generally unsafe, no-longer-good-for-tourists city best left off of international travel schedules.  It's maybe 50:50 as to whether the investigation produces real results or just a larger-scale whitewash, with the possible future of the EPT Barcelona stop itself one of the possible things in play.

No comments: