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Clear collusion in Italian and PStars soft-peddling.

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Clear collusion in Italian and PStars soft-peddling. - Fri Nov 18, 2011, 02:48 AM
(#1)
mcrissinger's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,650
BronzeStar
So, yeah. This was a play money game. I mean, what can I do?

So there were two people on my table speaking Italian. A lot.

Google translate reveals what they were saying, turns out it was blatant cheating, so I called a chat mod while I was compiling my email to support.

Just for gits and shiggles, this is the report, response, and reply to and from PokerStars. In the PokerStars Support thread.

From: MY NAME HERE
Sent: 2011/11/18 00:55:10
To: support@pokerstars.com
Subject: Blatant collusion in Italian.

Hand #70725415876 players rayan83roma and gil0519

The first line I ran through Google translate was something along the lines
of "I'll do my best not to interfere." The 2nd line was "Gil, if I type 1,
fold."

Clear collusion. Thanks for whatever action you take against these cheaters.

********

Hello mcrissinger,

Thank you for your email.

Regarding your rules complaint, we unfortunately are not able to enforce real money poker room rules in our play money games. The reason is play money hand histories are not archived (for game server performance reasons), so we cannot review the hands to identify rule violations.

Since play money has no "real" monetary value, players who try to gain advantage in play money games are essentially wasting their time... since play chips are available for free to anyone who wants them.

While we understand many players exclusively participate in play money games and understandably object to poor behaviour from others, we hope they can also understand our position. Trying to gain advantage in play money games is completely pointless because, financially, there is nothing real to be won.

Of course, in PokerStars' real money games, such players will encounter a dedicated team of Poker Specialists, who monitor the games and strictly enforce our real money rules. Even at the lowest limits, such as $0.10 tournaments and 1c/2c cash games, players who break rules will, depending on the nature of the offence, receive warnings or permanent bans from our site. HOwever as you know, PokerStars is no longer offering real money play to US residents, or residents of US territories.

As for the use of foreign language, we have forwarded your email to our Chat Team for review. In the future you can contact them directly by sending an email to chat@pokerstars.com.

Our Chat Team is currently required to handle a large number of emails, so we apologise in advance as there may be some delay before you receive a reply.

All chat reports are handled in the order received, so you will be contacted as soon as your email reaches the front of the queue.

Additionally, for a much faster response, instead of emailing chat complaints to Support or the Chat Team, we suggest you call a chat moderator.

To call a chat moderator, click the chip tray and select the "Call Moderator" button. Enter a short description of the chat issue in the pop-up box (e.g. "KidJoker is being abusive"), and click OK. The first available chat moderator will visit the table, investigate the situation, and take action if any is necessary.

We appreciate your patience, and thank you for your assistance in keeping the chat at PokerStars clean and friendly.

Regards,

Vanja T
PokerStars Support Team

*********

I did report this to a chat mod while in-game. "Scott" responded with the standard cut-and paste "I cannot enforce rules violations, only chat." and then proceeded to not chastise the players for their non-english chat. I thanked him and clicked the "send" button on this report.

Look, I understand that the chat and support staff has been hit hard by the ban on US players. But I think it's a huge mistake to ignore blatant collusion on the play-money tables. ESPECIALLY when it comes to non-US players that are colluding in a language other than English.

When I'm playing the play money games, I'm doing it to both keep my skills "edge" and to promote pokerschoolonline.com to the players from countries that ARE allowed to play for real money. I'm doing this because I appreciate what I've learned and the money I've earned from being a member there. There are a lot of PSO players doing the same thing.

It's in PStars best interest to give these cheaters a stern warning or a full-on ban before they end up in real money games and PStars has to pay out of their own pocket to the people that have been cheated.

Other than the fact that PokerStars paid me when I cashed out after Black Friday, the HUGE amount of chances for people to earn real $ for free is what makes you the best site around.

Letting cheaters get away with cheating, even during play money games, is NOT something you want to do.

Please up-ticket this to management.

P.S. I DO archive ALL of my hand histories. So, if you want them, feel free. I'll send them to you so you can enforce the card room rules.

*******

That's where it stands for now.

This is one of the hands. Well, I mean, it doesn't get worse than this. Google translate it yourself...:

PokerStars Game #70725418576: Tournament #470768492, 300+20 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2011/11/18 0:39:54 ET
Table '470768492 2' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: goodawg123 (1245 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 2: gil0519 (3775 in chips)
Seat 4: Beezee576 (835 in chips)
Seat 5: unblwvbl (4100 in chips)
Seat 7: rayan83roma (14438 in chips)
Seat 8: mcrissinger (1165 in chips)
Seat 9: GayByGOD (10269 in chips) is sitting out
unblwvbl: posts small blind 50
rayan83roma: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mcrissinger [6h 7h]
mcrissinger: folds
GayByGOD: folds
goodawg123: folds
gil0519 said, "farò di tutto per non intralciarti"
gil0519: calls 100
Beezee576: calls 100
unblwvbl: raises 100 to 200
rayan83roma: folds
gil0519: calls 100
Beezee576: calls 100
*** FLOP *** [2d Kc 5d]
unblwvbl: bets 800
rayan83roma said, "gil se scrivo 1 folda"
gil0519: folds
Beezee576: folds
Uncalled bet (800) returned to unblwvbl
unblwvbl collected 700 from pot
unblwvbl: shows [4d 3s] (high card King)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 700 | Rake 0
Board [2d Kc 5d]
Seat 1: goodawg123 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: gil0519 folded on the Flop
Seat 4: Beezee576 (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 5: unblwvbl (small blind) collected (700)
Seat 7: rayan83roma (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: mcrissinger folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: GayByGOD folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Oooh, new email from PStars: Hello mcrissinger.

Thank you for your email and for allowing us to be of assistance.

We have forwarded your email to a Support Supervisor for their review and response. You will receive a reply as soon as possible.

Your patience is appreciated.

Regards,

Susan W
PokerStars Support Team

*****

By the way, very soon after I received the first reply from @support, @chat replied that they had taken action. So, response time was A+ tonight.
 
Old
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Fri Nov 18, 2011, 04:41 AM
(#2)
Deleted user
Strange they would tell you to call a chat mod.

Think you know where I am with this topic,will leave it at that.
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 06:22 AM
(#3)
HostMichaeJO's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 33
Hi,

Thanks for the feedback.

That said, I do not envisage that we will be changing our policy here in the forseeable future. PokerStars would prefer to focus our efforts to mitigate collusion to where players are actually harmed by such activity. Since play money chips have no value, there is no harm caused here, and thus, PokerStars will not be investing the time and resources required to combat this activity at play money games.

Sincerely,

Michael J
PokerStars Game Security Team
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 07:27 AM
(#4)
boobylops's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 232
BronzeStar
Sorry to disagree Michael but play money is used as a training ground for real money games.

If you let them "get away with it " now they will do so when they progress to real money games.

At the very least the players involved should be given a final warning.
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 07:29 AM
(#5)
roomik17's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,556
BronzeStar
no money in play money...everyones solid
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 08:12 AM
(#6)
joker41673's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,850
Quote:
Originally Posted by HostMichaeJO View Post
Hi,

Thanks for the feedback.

That said, I do not envisage that we will be changing our policy here in the forseeable future. PokerStars would prefer to focus our efforts to mitigate collusion to where players are actually harmed by such activity. Since play money chips have no value, there is no harm caused here, and thus, PokerStars will not be investing the time and resources required to combat this activity at play money games.

Sincerely,

Michael J
PokerStars Game Security Team
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobylops View Post
Sorry to disagree Michael but play money is used as a training ground for real money games.

If you let them "get away with it " now they will do so when they progress to real money games.

At the very least the players involved should be given a final warning.
So could it be said that there is a possibility of the play chip games being a good place for these types of players to practice collusion and other forms of cheating so as to not be noticed before going on to real money tourneys and tables?

 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 09:23 AM
(#7)
RockerguyAA's Avatar
Since: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,089
BronzeStar
-Play money poker is not real poker.
--How exactly do you expect to get a 'skill edge' from playing playmoney players of no skill?

-I do however understand your frustration with the colluders speaking italian. That rules violation happens a lot and nothing seems to ever happen. Yet if you swear at someone you will be promptly temp. chat banned.
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
(#8)
mcrissinger's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,650
BronzeStar
Rocker, Moxie swears the play money $320 45 sit & gos play almost exactly the same as the $.25 and $.50s... So if I'm crushing them in play money... And we take the home games just as seriously as we always did, so it's keeping me from getting rusty.

Boobylolps, that's what I'm talking about.

Joker, well, if they're going to just tell each other what to do in an easily translatable language... They're gonna get caught quick. But yes, there could be others out there practicing much more subtle things.

HostMike... I understand not cluttering the server with fake money HHs and using semi-limited resources to focus on real money only, and if the company stuck with that line, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with the response. Adding the line, "oh well, it's just play money, nobody is losing anything" is what bugs me. Clear major TOS violations should be dealt with harshly in any game.

But, thanks for the reply.

Roomik, funny picture!
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 12:16 PM
(#9)
JWK24's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 24,788
(Super-Moderator)
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrissinger View Post
Rocker, Moxie swears the play money $320 45 sit & gos play almost exactly the same as the $.25 and $.50s... So if I'm crushing them in play money... And we take the home games just as seriously as we always did, so it's keeping me from getting rusty.
Can't speak for the 50 centers, but the quarter ones are not much tougher than the 320 play $$ ones. Slightly tougher near the end, but not much.
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 02:43 PM
(#10)
Deleted user
The argument that play money is not worth touching I can understand as it would take up more man power. That said I still think it is a starting ground for cheating just like freerolls are the gateway to
getting these colluders into the cash games.

I say the best stance would be to nip the issue like police force trys to do with young kids and drugs.
Teach them young and hope you can stear a few the other direction and hopefully they save some brain cells.

If some one cheats at play money,moves on to freerolls and gets to cash they are not going to be changing their stripes any time in that process.
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 02:51 PM
(#11)
HostMichaeJO's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 33
PokerStars doesn't simply face a choice of "do we enforce rules about collusion in play money?"

Rather, PokerStars faces a choice of how to allocate resources to maximise the value for our effort - We want to offer the most trusted and authentic games of poker in the world, so what is the best way to achieve that goal?

It is PokerStars' view that we would be better able to deliver trusted games by spending staff time on more proactive investigations of real money games. If we were to spend staff time on investigating play money activity, then that would obviously lead to less collusion reviews of real money activity. We do not think that situation would be preferable.

It's not a binary choice that PokerStars faces here, but rather, the need to set priorities to offer authentic games of poker.

In effect, here's a rough outline of current priorities when it comes to collusion:

1) Investigate all player reported allegations of real money collusion
2) Investigate proactively detected suspicions of real money collusion
3) Investigate all player reported allegations of play money collusion

Since (2) will never be complete, we will simply never get to (3). If you want us to do (3) then that requires us to stop doing some of (2).
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 03:14 PM
(#12)
freddysw's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 179
BronzeStar
I come to PSO forum on my down time and to read hand analysis forum and try to get in a class once in awhile. So of course I see the home page and will click on a hot topic if its of interest.

Any cheating scandal always catches my attention as it usually leads to a good read. I know it sucks being a US player with few options, but being worried about "cheating' at play money games seems a little much and I don't blame PS for not monitoring the play.

I applaud those of you trying to keep up with skill level and challenges anyway you can but I have never seen any value in play money games at any level. I would argue the opposite in that play money games will only lead to bad habits and big leaks. Invariably you know there is no penalty for making certain calls or plays.

Many of us in PSO have found a home in various sites and at least there you can start with $0 and earn and play with real money. That's how I decided to keep my edge when all this crap hit the fan.

Miss everyone in PSO and hope you all doing well.

Last edited by TOO2COO; Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 04:01 PM.. Reason: Removed Poker Site ID
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 03:16 PM
(#13)
EdinFreeMan's Avatar
Since: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by HostMichaeJO View Post
PokerStars doesn't simply face a choice of "do we enforce rules about collusion in play money?"

Rather, PokerStars faces a choice of how to allocate resources to maximise the value for our effort - We want to offer the most trusted and authentic games of poker in the world, so what is the best way to achieve that goal?

It is PokerStars' view that we would be better able to deliver trusted games by spending staff time on more proactive investigations of real money games. If we were to spend staff time on investigating play money activity, then that would obviously lead to less collusion reviews of real money activity. We do not think that situation would be preferable.

It's not a binary choice that PokerStars faces here, but rather, the need to set priorities to offer authentic games of poker.

In effect, here's a rough outline of current priorities when it comes to collusion:

1) Investigate all player reported allegations of real money collusion
2) Investigate proactively detected suspicions of real money collusion
3) Investigate all player reported allegations of play money collusion

Since (2) will never be complete, we will simply never get to (3). If you want us to do (3) then that requires us to stop doing some of (2).

It seems clear to me that PS should not be putting ANY resources to policing play money games. There is no income stream for PS from these games, they are fun games or learning games, at a very basic level, or as is unfortunate just now and hopefully temporarily, all that is available to a large proportion of the global online poker community.

Those wanting more serious play money games can set up home games which can be self policing by the manager and participants.

Any cost of policing play money games would presumably have to come out of the rake earnt from real money games. I think most 'paying customer' players would prefer the rake to be kept low and any available resources put to ensuring that real money games are free from unfair play and collusion.

Good luck all

Ed from Edinburgh - EdinFreeMan
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 04:41 PM
(#14)
mcgameboy's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 119
Whilst I can understand and also appreciate that Stars wish to prioritise the investigation of collusion in real money games over those which occur in play money games...I cannot help but be reminded of an incident that I once reported only to be met with the usual "play money we can do nothing blah blah blah" response.

My argument however was not related to a "standard" play money game. It was related to a regional league game which had a play money buyin but awarded REAL MONEY prizes at the end of the month. Therefore, the players involved DID have something to gain.

I pointed out the following factors to Stars when reporting the incident in question.

1. the two players involved were clearly friends with each other.
2. one of the two players involved was in contention for not only a Top 5 finish (where the increases in prize monies get steeper), but also for winning the league.
3. the incident happened at the final table (where points awarded increase with each elimination)
4. the player in contention for winning the league was the shortest stack of those left in the tournament
5. his co-colluder was the chip leader
6. the two of them got into a raising war to isolate themselves before the chip leader suddenly "misclicked" after 5 betting preflop and folding to a 6 bet shove. NOTE: He had already put 50k in chips in and folded to the final raise for a mere 5k.
7. The other players at the table immediately reacted with cries of "chip dump", "collusion", "pair of effing cheats" etc etc

Yet still, despite all that evidence, Stars did nothing, except for the usual "play money no can do blah blah blah" bs response.

In a league where (quite often) every single point seemed to matter, (the league had been decided by 1 point on quite a few occasions during its 2 and a half year history and there have even been ties for 1st place overall on a couple of occasions as well), such an incident CAN lead to a player gaining an unfair advantage in terms of acquiring a BIGGER REAL MONEY prize. And IF that player DOES gain a bigger real money prize, then that means someone UNFAIRLY ends up with a smaller one. Have we forgotten PSO April when De Hitman profitted at the expense of lisbon roar to the tune of $500 already? There was no real money buyin for that tournament...it was a freeroll with a mere $10 prize pool.

My argument would be that even if an incident of collusion is taking place "within play money/freeroll circles", then it should be looked at. Some of these incidents are open and shut cases...like the incident described by the OP. And they can be dealt with in double quick time.

Stars have various "tools" at thier disposal to combat such measures...such as "flagging" two players with "previous" which prevents them from playing in the same games. They can issue chat bans to players who use foul and abusive language. Why cant they issue chat bans to players who use chat as a "collusion aid"? Surely the use of chat as a collusion aid is an ABUSE of chat privileges?

Given that online poker has been riddled with scandals in recent times, it is PokerStars DUTY and OBLIGATION as the INDUSTRY LEADER WORLDWIDE to keep online poker as clean as they possibly can. We, as diligent and vigilant players, are ready, willing and able to assist Stars in acheiving this goal by acting as (and I quote Stars themselves here) "thier eyes and ears".

It would be nice if OUR efforts to assist Stars were rewarded in the form of Stars taking proper action to stamp out this kind of nonsense by putting proper deterrents in place and taking VERY decisive action. We are, after all, trying to help Stars, not hinder them.

Last edited by mcgameboy; Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 04:47 PM..
 
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Mon Nov 21, 2011, 06:04 PM
(#15)
EdinFreeMan's Avatar
Since: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,540
In response to the first part of mcgameboys post, this was something I got very frustrated at myself, when the UK and Ireland League (as was) had 3 divisions. Division 2 was 2,000 play money chips to enter the daily tourney. The play money pot was distributed as a prize in the tournament, and points were awarded for the monthly leaderboard which gave real money prizes. Apparently no hand histories were kept by PS and collusion, chipdumping and soft playing were rife between friendly players. This certainly affected those serious players who were playing to boost their bankroll with League prizes that were substantial for the top places.

My understanding is that this can no longer happen since the introduction of the new UKIPT League format which replaced these, as there are no play money entry games, just cash buy-in and freerolls. I hope this is the case and they are now policed as for all cash games.

I also recently reported issues with the Facebook Freeroll League which initially got an unsatisfactory response from PS, saying it could not be investigated as it was not for real money. I followed this up pointing out it gave cash value prizes ($0.10 tickets) and the League gives entry to $5k added monthly and $10k added annual tourneys. I received an apology from PS Support saying the initial response was incorrect, that these were policed exactly as real money games and the players I reported were investigated and warned for their rule 20 violations.

I believe all tournaments that award prizes of any monetary value, including points toward Leagues with prizes are included in the 'real money' category that PS Support will investigate. At least that is my understanding from several individual incidents I have received feedback from. Perhaps HostMichaelJO can confirm this.

Essentially, anything our poor US brethren are not allowed to play in currently should be policed.

Ed from Edinburgh - EdinFreeMan
 

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