Winning Poker Network was once again hit with DDoS attacks during one of their signature Winning Million Tournaments. While the tournament didn’t need to be cancelled this time around, it did have a massive 25% overlay. Encouragingly WPN did do a lot better this time in many ways than previously and seemed to catch less flack for the disruption.
Directed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are hardly a new thing for Winning Poker Network, which consists of America’s Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, PokerHost, True Poker and Ya Poker to deal with, and they aren’t even a new thing during one of their signature events. Regardless, that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow when your kickoff event for the 5 Million Dollar Sundays in the next few weeks suffers from them. These attacks crippled the event and saw a huge overlay materialize for those players who did brave the exceedingly frustrating conditions to play the tournament. The tournament did happen though, and the DDoSers were thwarted, at least for a while.
This attack was like many in the past with the tournament being brought to a halt and severe player connection issues plaguing those who didn’t get completely disconnected. Interestingly this time though, the DDoSers did have a demand of 5k Bitcoin, according to the CEO. That demand is about $1.15 million as of writing this and it does not appear likely that Winning Poker Network will meet that demand. If this was the first time they received an actual demand to stop the attacks, or if it was the just the first time the CEO of Winning Poker Network decided to make it public we don’t know, but the transparency is a refreshing change of pace from their normal way of doing business.
The communication and explanations were actually much better this disruption than pretty much any other time in the past. Not only did the CEO jump on the stream and let everyone know what was going on, but they also released a note to players that let them know what was happening and what the likely course of action was to try to fix the problem. This communication has been lacking in previous situations and likely helped make things a little easier for players, because they could at least plan for what was to come.
The Tournament itself saw a massive overlay as we mentioned. Without including tournament fees the Winning Millions got just shy of $750,000, which is a much bigger overlay then they have ever had. This overlay has got to make the team at Winning Poker Network at least a little nervous, considering they have 4 more of these tournaments happening every Sunday in October. There has been no major discussions about cancelling these tournaments as a result of today’s circumstances, and considering how WPN normally respond to situation, I wouldn’t expect them to change their mind on this issues. We think they'll simply chalk it up to a marketing expense and move along. While a quarter of a million dollars is a large amount to most people, relatively speaking, to a large and profitable poker room backed by an A+ sportsbook, this is really a non-issue from a financial point of view.
The tournament eventually did get back to normal though and with about 90 left as of the time of writing this, the tournament has been smooth for about the past 2 hours. It’s unclear if they have found a way to battle the DDoSers successfully or the DDoSers just decided to let it go as Winning Poker Network wasn’t likely to pay the ransom they were looking for. If the tournament does have problems from here on out, we will update the article and let you know what happens.
So while the result seemed to be okay, the DDoS attack clearly had an effect on the tournament and likely the confidence of many going forward. This could be a huge issue for Winning Poker Network, which consists of America’s Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, PokerHost, True Poker and Ya Poker going forward as they have many high profile tournaments on the horizon, as well as lucrative rakeback programs for players. Luckily for players with patience for 25% overlays on $1 million guaranteed tournaments it can be a time to reap some rewards. We highly encourage you to keep your eye on our home page as we will update you on any developments in this story and also pass along some major satellites for the next Winning Millions Tournaments. How do you feel the Winning Poker Network crew dealt with this issue? Should they have done something different? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.