As a goodwill gesture, the world’s leading online poker site PokerStars has announced freerolls across its major markets for the players affected by the recent DDoS attacks. In total over $650,000 will be given away via freerolls in the form of tournament tickets.
Although PokerStars has yet to make an official announcement on its website or social media, these “Players Freerolls” can be found in the poker clients with access to the global player pool, as well as the separate Southern European network (except Portugal), and the segregated Italian client.
In total five freerolls will run each day from August 22 to August 26 in the global player pool, each with $100,000 in prizes. Players in the shared European player pool will have access to freerolls worth €20,000, and players in the Italian market will be able to play freerolls worth €10,000 each.
- Largest player base in the world.
- Home of Spin & Go, Power Up and lots of other unique game variants.
- Biggest weekly tournament schedule around.
However, the freerolls are only open to those players who played real money games between August 12 and August 14. Each of those players will receive three tickets. Players can expect to see these freeroll tickets credited to their accounts soon.
“We sincerely apologize for the recent disruption to your play. This is one of five $100,000 freerolls to say thanks for your patience,” it says in the tournament description of the freerolls in the client.
“Everyone who played real money on 12-14 August will receive a ticket that can be used up to three times to enter a Players Freeroll.”
The freeroll awards tickets to a major upcoming tournament series. In the dot-com market, it’s tickets to the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP); in the European market, it’s tickets to the Galactic Series. In Italy, where no online tournament series have been announced yet, players will receive tournament tickets which can be used in poker tournaments on the daily tournament schedule.
Each freeroll on the global player pool will award prizes to at least 5840 players across various buy-in levels for WCOOP. The top prize, a WCOOP Main Event worth $5200, goes to the winner of the freeroll.
Interestingly, no freerolls have been announced for players in India or New Jersey. There were reports of disconnections from a few players in these markets. The freerolls are also not accessible in the Portugal and Czech Republic clients due to the countries’ regulations which do not allow operators to run freerolls.
The disruptions began on the night of August 12 when several players found themselves disconnected at the tables. As a result, all the tournaments were interrupted and had to be cancelled.
The following morning, PokerStars faced another DDoS attack and tournaments were cancelled again. The disruptions continued for a couple of days more and on August 15, PokerStars confirmed the attacks which caused the site outages across its major networks were indeed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in nature. The issue has since been resolved and almost all the players have been issued refunds.
PokerStars was not the only room to be affected by the recent DDoS attacks. US-facing offshore site America’s Cardroom was the first victim. An attack on partypoker soon followed, and the operator issued an official statement on August 10 publicly acknowledging that they had become victims of a DDoS attack.