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$2 Million PokerStars Collusion Ring Caught

by Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Staff Writer

The Chinese collusion ring on PokerStars was first made known to the masses with a post in May 2010 on 2+2 Poker Forums. One of the suspected colluders posted saying that his PokerStars account was closed with approximately $10,000 in his account based on a review of his play in $50 and $100 double or nothing sit & gos. PokerStars security asked him about his affiliation with approximately 50 other players, most of whom were from the same city of Hangzhou, China. With the responses (and non-responses) of the suspected colluders, PokerStars determined they were making "team" plays and suspended their accounts.

Poker Stars Logo

The collusion was alleged to include hole card sharing, making squeeze plays against non-colluders and chip dumping. The collusion was initially identified by PokerStars to have occurred between December 2009 and January 2010 with the cheating accounts being frozen in January 2010. Further research by the affected players indicated that the collusion may have occurred months earlier than November 2009 as indicated by PokerStars and as recent as April 2010.

A double or nothing sit & go starts with ten players and concludes when five players remain. The winners receive double their buy-in. Due to the number of winners in each double or nothing, collusion or team play can prove to be profitable.

Armed with this information a number of players started checking their databases against the list of names PokerStars identified in the e-mail to one of the colluders and subsequently included in the inital post to the forum.  The results showed a significant amount of play against the Chinese colluders. Even more people indicated they suspected cheating was occurring and e-mailed PokerStars security months before but nothing was done initially. With the heat turned up on PokerStars they started responding to their customers and by the end of June 2010 they refunded approximately $500,000 to the affected players.

Within the last week it was reported that PokerStars has paid out an additional $1.5 million to its players as a result of the Chinese cheating ring bringing the total approximately $2 million. It has also been reported by players that they are seeing new accounts being created in China and jumping directly into the $50 and $100 double or nothings.

As this is an ongoing story,so keep checking back here at Rakeback.com Poker News section for additional developments as they occur.

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