Global online poker giant PokerStars has become the latest victim of “technical problems” which have resulted in interrupting its game offerings across many of its largest online poker networks, including the global dot-com market, the new European shared network, Italy, and India.
The outage comes just days after both partypoker and WPN’s network America’s Cardroom were hit by DDoS attacks, prompting speculations that PokerStars could also have been attacked.
The disruptions started yesterday late in the evening and almost every player found themselves disconnected or sitting out from the tables. Almost all the tournaments were interrupted including the PokerStars flagship Sunday Million.
While PokerStars initially stated that the problems were resolved, a second wave of disruptions struck the PokerStars servers again on Monday.
The operator issued an apology on Twitter on Sunday. It did not immediately respond to pokerfuse’s inquiry into the cause of the disruption.
Not all players were impacted. Players from PokerStars’ smaller locally licensed countries—including Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania—were seemingly unaffected; players from these countries were able to chip up from the disconnected players.
PokerStars tried to mitigate the issue by pausing all the running tournaments, but this came almost an hour after the disconnections started. This allowed unaffected players to build up a chip lead by “blind-stealing” from the disconnected players.
The operator canceled all the tournaments and players were automatically paid out in accordance to their cancellation policy under which players receive refunds based on the chip count and stage of the tournament. This led to complaints on social media and poker forums as many players were blinded out before the tournaments were paused.
PokerStars posted another update on Twitter and wrote that “technical issues” have now been resolved, and it would evaluate how refunds have been issued.
In a message in the client, the operator stated that it was “experiencing a high volume of support requests” and asked for patience as it works through crediting refunds.
However, on Monday PokerStars faced yet another disruption across most of its network—forcing the operator to cancel the ongoing and upcoming tournaments again. Whether this is a second wave in the DDoS attack or some genuine server issue remains unknown.
The attacks follow a week of disruptions at competing sites including partypoker and US-facing offshore site Americas Cardroom. On Friday, partypoker’s Managing Director Tom Waters issued an apology on the company’s blog.
“The unfortunate events of 9 August were understandably frustrating for our players. After consideration, the decision was taken to pause and then subsequently cancel all affected tournaments. Our team worked hard to try to resolve the key issues,” the statement reads.
“As poker players ourselves, we fully understand how frustrating it can be when an online poker room suffers technical issues, and we fully appreciate the considerable patience and understanding shown by our players in light of these difficulties,” it continued.
America’s Cardroom, another poker site that was plagued with a series of DDoS attacks last week is continuing to face technical issues on its site. According to the site, some players are receiving a “checking for protocol” message which is not letting them log in.