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I would like to share with you an email I received from Ben Y. of PokerStars Support Team. This is a great review as it explores the intricacies of collusion on the table.

I sent an inquiry if the photo below constitutes a collusion on the table or not. See the review below.

Hello SarahCandatu,

Thank you for your report.

PokerStars continually monitors the games for collusion, and we sincerely appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention. Following your report, we have completed an investigation into the accounts of players 'barsch 1964' and 'Unix2'.

One of the most important aspects of a case we consider when reviewing a case for collusion is whether or not the suspect players have a relationship. Key in trying to determine the nature of a relationship, if any, is location. In this case, one player lives in Germany, and the other Czech republic. Location, however, is generally not a good indicator as to whether cooperative play is occurring or not. It is noteworthy, but in and of itself is not sufficient.

Aside from location, we use a variety of tools and methods to assist us in determining whether or not relationships exist between players. One of the things we look at is their frequency of play together. Given how many players are playing on PokerStars at any given time, it would be unusual for seemingly unrelated players to frequently end up at the same table. The players in this case have only played 1 of their tournaments together. This fact, along with the other data we considered, confirm that these players do not seem to have a relationship with one another.

No collusion review could be complete, though, without a thorough review of the play itself. An advantage of online poker, as compared to live poker, is that every hand is recorded, allowing for a complete review. If any play is considered suspicious we can review the hands with all cards showing.

When reviewing tournament play for possible collusion we check for the following:

1) Best hand playing - where colluding players play only the better of their two hands.

2) Soft playing - where colluding players refuse to play aggressively against each other. For example they may check or fold against each other where they would normally bet or raise against a stranger.

3) Chip dumping/Stack balancing - where the large stack folds to the small stack to balance their chips. The idea is to improve the chances of both players finishing in money positions in a tournament.

We found no evidence of any of this suspicious play.

The hand you reported was not against the rules. Darvin Moon checked on the river with the nuts also, but there is a big difference, here is why. Darvin checked when last to act, this is not allowed he has the best hand and must be bet as there is no reason not to, you can't lose. In your reported case the 'Unix2' was first to act, so was probably trying to induce a bluff from his opponent.

Given the lack of any relationship between their accounts, the relatively rare play together, and the lack of any suspiciously played hands, there is no evidence to suggest these two players are cooperating at our tables.

I have placed notes in both players' accounts indicating your concerns and the result of this review.

Once again, thank you for your report, and for choosing PokerStars.


Ben Y
:-P skerStars Support Team
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