The 2018 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker was won by unknown player ‘wann2play,’ or so we thought. After a lengthy investigation by PokerStars, ‘wann2play’ was disqualified, the winner’s $1.35 million share was redistributed to the rest of the prize pool, and ‘eze88888‘ was bumped up to first place.
The ‘wann2play’ account was frozen shortly after the $1.35 million victory and an investigation was launched by PokerStars. After roughly a year and a half had passed since the completion of the event in September 2018, the determination was made that ‘wann2play’ violated PokerStars’ terms of service.
“Our players deserve a safe place to play online poker,” Rebecca McAdam, Associate Director, Group Public Relations for PokerStars, said. “That’s why we invest millions of dollars every year and have a large Game Integrity team working round the clock. A large part of the Game Integrity team’s responsibility is to thoroughly investigate players who appear to disrupt that safe, fun, and enjoyable environment. If the case arises where we believe that a player is acting inappropriately, we use cutting-edge technology and practices to keep the game safe and distribute funds back to affected players as fairly and quickly as possible. Please check out our Game Integrity page and videos for more information at pokerstars.com/poker/room/gameintegrity/.
‘Eze88888,’ who is from Bahía Blanca in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and has been playing poker since 2009, told PocketFives that it “feels super good” to get the win and added prize money that comes with the ruling.
‘Eze88888’ said that he suspected something might be up during the later stages of the tournament. After the event was over, ‘eze88888’ spent time to review the event and also had conversations with some well-known players. That’s when ‘eze88888’ became even more suspicious that something foul was at play. ‘Eze88888’ said he spent months of exchanging emails with PokerStars as the matter was looked into further.
With being bumped up to first place, ‘eze88888’ was credited with the event’s original first-place prize of $1.529 million. At the end of the 2018 WCOOP Main Event, ‘wann2play’ and ‘eze88888’ agreed to a heads-up deal, with ‘wann2play’ taking $1.352 million and ‘eze88888’ taking $1.257 million. The event’s original first-place prize was $1.529 million, so ‘eze88888’ earned an additional $272,000 in prize money as a result of the disqualification.
The 2018 WCOOP $5,200 Main Event attracted 2,044 entries and generated a prize pool north of $10 million. The final table including Linus ‘LLinusLLove’ Loeliger, Robby ‘PlayaPlz’ Lipkin, Michael ‘mczhang’ Zhang, and Noah ‘Exclusive’ Boeken.
The last time a WCOOP champion was disqualified was in 2007. ‘TheV0id‘ had originally been credited as winning the event’s $1.22 million top prize, but it was ruled that ‘TheV0id’ violated the PokerStars terms of service. The account was registered to Natalie Teltscher, the sister of Mark Teltscher. PokerStars had determined that it was not Natalie Teltscher who had played on the account. After the DQ, Natalie Teltscher filed a lawsuit against PokerStars in an attempt to regain the winnings. The lawsuit was eventually dropped after Natalie Teltscher admitted she had not played in the 2007 WCOOP event, but rather someone else played on her account.