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PokerStars pays $2 million to players affected by Chinese collusion ring

19 Aug 2010

By Aaron Todd
The revelation of a Chinese collusion ring on PokerStars has resulted in a decision by the world's largest Internet poker room to refund players affected by the cheaters to the tune of $2 million, according to online forum posters at

According to several threads on the forum, several Chinese players on the site were joining the same "Double or Nothing" (DoN) sit-and-go tournaments, typically at the $52 or $104 buy-in level. DoN tournaments are single-table tournaments that begin with 10 players. Once five players are eliminated, the tournament ends with five survivors winning double their buy-in.

In this case, members of this ring would sit at the same table. They could then share hole card information and dump chips to each other to assure that they would cash out for more money than they put in.

The situation was made public, surprisingly, by one of the accused cheaters. "Jane0123" started a thread in late May complaining that PokerStars had suspended his account without cause, not allowing him to play or withdraw the $10,000 in his account. There were many who instantly applauded the situation, as many regular winners in the $52 and $104 DoNs said that they had thought something was up and had alerted PokerStars security.

In late June, after the situation had been public for a month, PokerStars distributed $587,000 to players affected. In tournaments where PokerStars deemed collusion occurred, players were bumped up once colluding players had been removed from the tournament results. The compensation amount didn't sit well with many PokerStars regulars, and it was recently increased to $2 million.

While PokerStars would clearly like this issue to go away, several posters continue to report new Chinese accounts cropping up and playing similar styles, with several regulars playing most if not all of their tournaments as well as 7-card stud cash games together.

While a final solution to the problem appears to remain up in the air, "JTM210577" suggested a possible answer.

"What about a new SNG registration system?" the poster wrote. "Like when 100 players are registered in a pool, stars (sic) will open 10 DoNs with all the players randomly entered at the tables?"

For more on this story, see the "Stars DoN Chinese Collusion Ring Time Line" on the twoplustwo forums.
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