Winning Poker Network Cancels Tournament After DDoS Attack

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When you’re ahead in a tournament with the current game going in your favour, the last thing you want to do is have to stop playing for any reason, and you certainly don’t want to have to give up on the entire tournament and forfeit all your winnings. Unfortunately that was the reality for the leading players at the Winning Poker Network’s $1,000,000 Tournament last week, as the organisers called off the event due to a DDoS attack against the site.

What Went Wrong

There was a huge turnout at the unique Winning Poker Network event, which had attracted players from around the world to have a go at winning a share of the impressive prize pot. Despite a promising start to the tournament, a few hours into the event the hangover from a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack which the site had suffered from the previous weekend began to cause network and connectivity issues for many players.

Deciding that the disruption caused by the problems were too severe to allow the tournament to continue, organisers pulled the plug on the tournament. All players were given a full refund, but that can be little relief to the players who had been enjoying success throughout the event, and saw their hard work come to nothing.

Sad Day for American Players

Winning Poker Network $1,000,000 Tournament screenshotThe key reason why the event was enjoying such a huge turnout was the fact that it was the first event with such a large prize pool which had been open to American players in over four years, due to a partnership with America’s Cardroom. With high hopes of not just making some cash, but also enjoying some world class poker and a bigger challenge that many are used to.

It’s unclear what the reasons behind the attack were – and it seems unlikely that it was targeted at ruining the fun of the poker loving American public – but it does mean that the landmark tournament had to end in a greater disappointment for the Americans than most of the other players involved.

Larger Problem

Though this is the highest profile problem of recent times to come after a DDoS attack – due, of course, to the large amounts at stake – there has been a reported increase in them at poker sites over the last year or so. It has led some players to question whether the attacks have been orchestrated to benefit certain players, but there is little evidence for this, and given the unpredictability of the connectivity issues cause by them, this scenario seems unlikely.

While Winning Poker Network decided that it was best to close the tournament, rather than risk players feeling disenfranchised if they lost a crucial hand due to a connectivity issue, one has to wonder if the online and mobile poker industry is doing enough to guard against these sorts of attacks.

One thing’s for sure though: with a $500 + $40 entrance fee to the tournament, those players who had already been knocked out must be pretty glad to see their cash again.

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