Over the past few days, online poker players have alleged that the Merge Gaming Network is experiencing issues with a network attack or possibly cheating.
On the forums at Two Plus Two, the subject has given birth to a rather extensive thread dedicated to the issues that Merge is having. Poster FoldzNeverpointed out on Sunday how the Merge software had been “disconnecting” when in use, in particular when a player with the moniker l4ss3m4jj4nwas in an advantageous position.
“At first it was in SNGs and a PLO game, but now he has taken a turn in the $125,000 Sunday Major,” FoldzNever observed. “I myself have personally watched him build pots no less than 10 times and, on the turn and river, either min-raise or donk-bet for the software to DC (disconnect).”
Other posters were quick to provide video evidence of such actions and confirm it was happening while said player was in several pots. It also brought out other issues that have besieged Merge’s software.
Poster norfair18named several instances where it seems there was a deliberate denial of service (DDOS) on Merge. In particular, norfair18 cited DDOS attacks during the $215 Big Ticket and $530 Main Event tournaments on the site, players logging into other players’ accounts through a “bug” in the system, and similar attacks as cited by FoldzNever. “Other sites are experiencing similar issues, but obviously Merge is the weakest link,” norfair18 concluded.
Some pointed out that by issuing the DDOS attack, the player in question would also knock himself out of the software, but others were quick to point out that this is the desired effect. By being the last person with action, others involved in a hand would be folded out and the player would pick up a huge pot without having to show down.
The reasons for the DDOS attacks can vary. With an online poker site, DDOS attacks can, as cited above, cause pots to be pushed to a player who, if they are allegedly causing the DDOS attack, wouldn’t have otherwise won. The DDOS attacks can also open gateways towards sensitive credit card information, personal data, and other important bits. As of May 2014, eWeek.com estimated that there are approximately 28 DDOS attacks every hour during the day. Read about DDOS attacks.
DDOS attacks have allegedly been occurring for quite some time on other gaming networks, both poker and otherwise. Allegedly, PokerStars was hit with such an attack recently, as have Full Tilt Poker, the iPoker Network, and the Winning Poker Network. For the past few weeks, mainstream gaming systems such as the XBox Network and the PlayStation Network have also fallen victim to such attacks.
At this time, there is no information on whether the alleged perpetrator of the DDOS attacks has been caught and/or punished. The Merge Gaming Network also has not made any statements regarding the incidents.