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Chico Poker Network Busts Colluders in Monthly 50k SNG Race

Chico Poker Network Kicks Colluders from 50k Extreme Sit 'n Go Leaderboard Challenge

Poker CollusionStarting earlier this summer the Chico Poker Network, which consists of BetOnline,, Tigergaming, and PayNoRake began running a new promotion dubbed the $50,000 Extreme Sit'n Go Leaderboard Challenge.  This promotion has recently been the subject of some debate and intrigue.  Professional Rakeback poker news has the story.

This promotion is solely for single table SNG players, and awards $50,000 USD spread over three ranges of buyins.  The payout structure was such that the first place finisher of the top tier could receive an astounding 22.4% of the payouts - $11,200! This temptation, as with all things involving money and human beings, proved to be too much for some of the participants who allegedly decided to collude in order to gain higher prizes.  Subsequently, this leaderboard recently became the subject of much private, and finally some public debate. 

Professional Rakeback was first tipped off about this story some time mid September when rumblings in an online chat group spoke of how fast and furious some players were earning points.  It turns out that there was already much speculation on some private Romanian poker forums centered around two players, the person currently holding first place, Mahonney, and the player holding fourth place, FatConroy, may be possibly colluding.  Shortly thereafter one of Professional Rakeback's own clients approached us about his inability to overtake some of the participants despite putting in double time grinding shifts on the tables.  We decided to investigate further.

Chico Network's Initial Response

We immediately contacted a network representative and asked them to look into the matter.  Simultaneously a thread popped up on two plus two poker forums espousing the same things we had been hearing in private about these two players.  However it also had other information to report.  Evidently one of the players who had been warned in the aforementioned private Romanian poker forum had contacted tier 1 support at Tigergaming and asked them to investigate.   Perhaps there was a miscommunication somewhere, but whatever happened, the initial review did not find any malfesience and the players were allowed to continue.  The official company response was

"Unfortunately we cannot ban players from our site simply for playing together in tournaments or upon request of other players."

Explanation and Resolution

What was happening was that Mahonney and FatConroy were grinding hard on the SNG tables, but they were also periodically sitting together at heads up sit and go tables and shoving all in on the first or second hand.  Essentially they were doing HUSNG flips as a way to amass points.  Sure, this cost them a small amount of money in rake, but with $11,200 up top for first place, and a fourth place prize of $2,800 there was $14,000 of prize money up for grabs and this was their strategy to clinch it.  As Professional Rakeback staff spoke to the Chico Poker Network's management about this situation and how we felt it was a violation of the rules and spirit of the contest, other players also emailed in their distaste for the state of affairs.  As is usually the case with online poker sites, a combination of sharp eyed players and a concerted effort to point out a situation seems to have helped find a resolution.  One of our players who placed in the top 10 when the promotion ended informed us the next day that his payout was 2 places higher than he had expected.  We were unable to get any word, but it appeared that Chico Network invoked one of the rules of the promotion and disqualified the two players who were allegedly colluding.  Here is that clause (taken from Betonline's terms, which are identical at all four sites):

" reserves the right to review transaction records and logs from time to time for any reason whatsoever. If upon such review it appears that a player is participating in strategies which in its sole discretion deem to be abusive, the Company reserves the right to revoke the entitlement of such players to the promotion."

We knew the situation had been solved but then sought out an official word.  Before we could get one, a representative of two plus two poker forums, ProfessionalPoker, pasted in an official response he had received:

"Hey guys - thanks for bringing this issue to our attention - after
thorough investigation by our Risk/Fraud team, the offending players have
been removed. We have also requested our software developers to remove
HU's from the Sit 'n Go's, but this may take some time, so in the interim
we have altered our T&Cs to avoid this issue going forward. Once again,
thanks to your vigilance and alerting us to this error."

Professional Rakeback is happy to report that the Terms and Conditions of the October version of the $50,000 Extreme Sit'n Go Leaderboard Challenge have in fact been amended pending this software fix to read:

*Sit n' Go tables not eligible for the promotion include: any 1-Up Sit 'n Go (double or nothing), any Instant All-in Sit Go, any satellite and play money tournaments.


The Happy Ending

So once again, all is right and good in the world of online poker.  A pair of colluders who were abusing the system have been caught and their unjust rewards were redistributed to players who played by the rules.  It is by the combined efforts of players that many a collusion group (PokerStars), bot ring (Full Tilt Poker), or insider cheating scandal (Absolute Poker) has been busted and banished from the online felt.  Without a concerted community response these types of scams will continue.  Professional Rakeback would like to personally thank our clients, the two plus two forums, and those posters within who contributed and helped in gathering information and applying pressure to get this situation resolved.  We would also like to thank Chico Poker Network for doing the right thing and paying out the legitimate players according to what they rightly earned in September's promotion.


If you would like to participate in the current October SNG race (remember it pays out in two parts, the major 75% payout is in the 2nd half of the month!) there is still time to sign up with Professional Rakeback.  If you are a US based player, our partner Chico poker skins Betonline and both allow players from all 50 states and US territories.  You can sign up for Betonline and (each offer a 200% up to $2,500 poker deposit bonus) at our BetOnline review and Sportsbetting poker review pages.  If you are a player outside of the USA, you may want to take advantage of the guaranteed 24 hour payouts offered by our ROW Chico Network partner, Tigergaming. Be sure to read our TigerGaming Rakeback review first however.

Professional Rakeback thanks you for your time in checking out our articles and our website.  Please share our articles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and like / follow our social media pages to show your appreciation :)  Until the next time... play well!