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WCOOP 2018 Champ DISQUALIFIED; $1.35M Redistributed

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The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) 2018 event may have been decided around two years ago, but this doesn’t stop things from changing afterwards. And that’s exactly what has happened, as the brand has disqualified the Main Event winner, “wann2play.” According to a tweet by Max Silver, the winner’s account was frozen shortly after the tournament took place in 2018. However, it is only now that he has been disqualified and his $1.35 million in winnings redistributed. The new champion of WCOOP 2018 has been named as the original runner-up, Ezequiel Waigel.

PokerStars WCOOP 2018 Disqualification

The Story of the 2018 WCOOP

Book and Spectacles

The September 2018 WCOOP Main Event from PokerStars, one of the most prestigious series to be found on any online poker sites, saw 2,044 entrants to the tournament with a buy-in price of $5,200. The final table there was played by top-profile players, including Linus “LLinusLLove” Loeliger and Noah “Exclusive” Boeken. Loeliger would end up busting in third, resulting in a heads-up match between the aforementioned “wann2play,” from the Netherlands, and Waigel who utilizes the screen name of “eze88888” and is from Argentina.

In that heads-up match, the two players agreed to a deal which saw Waigel, as the chip leader, lock up $1,257,203.66 and his opponent $1,152,967.97. Proceeding onward, Waigel lost, leaving the remaining $200,000 that was in play to “wann2play.” The final amount taken home by the “wann2play” was $1,352,967.97.

Not much was known about the winner of the tournament, which was something that the PokerStars blog was swift to admit. Apart from the fact that he or she had won a $530 satellite event to gain entry into the tournament and, of course, that they were located in the Netherlands, little more was known of the player. Yet, it didn’t take long for PokerStars to proceed with freezing the account once WCOOP 2018 was over.

Rumors began circulating regarding what was described as a “well-known pro” ghosting that same account. For instance, “girafganger7” – a top professional player – tweeted the following:

Tweet From Giraf Ganger

Waigel Confirms Suspicions Over "wann2play"

While Argentina’s Waigel has only recently been named the WCOOP 2018 winner, moving up from his original second place finish, he has stated that he noticed there was something funny going on right away on the final table. He saw that “wann2play's” style of play appeared to change at the final table from what it was before.

Naturally, he was competing against “wann2play” for several hours, and while Waigel claims that “it could be coincidence or just a matter of money,” a review was conducted at the end, and his suspicions were confirmed. Other than that, Waigel confirmed that he had also spoken with some other people regarding the situation, and they had specifically stated that they knew ghosting was involved although names could not be divulged.

It was then that Waigel notified PokerStars of his own suspicions regarding his opponent in the final although it seemed that the operator was one step ahead, already looking into the situation. Eventually, PokerStars confirmed the matter with Waigel though they didn’t provide him with many details. Instead, they simply said that “the winner wasn’t him and was multi-accounting/ghosting”,while a VPN was also confirmed to be in use.

Cash Redistributed to Rightful Winners

Naturally, it’s better that the situation has been rectified, and now the rightful players have received their necessary winnings for competing properly in the WCOOP 2018 tournament. Waigel himself said that he feels great with the fact that everything has now been resolved. He is now the recipient of approximately an extra $272,000.

WCOOP Has Experienced This Before

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Oddly enough, the WCOOP Main Event has had players vacate the title following tournament misconduct prior to this occasion. The last time it happened was in 2007. Back then, Natalie “TheV0id” Teltscher looked like she was in line for a huge $1.22 million win after competing in the tournament. Yet, PokerStars did some investigating and found certain issues with the account and gameplay that had taken place during the course of the event.

Following the investigation by the operator, it was discovered that someone other than Ms. Teltscher had participated in the tournament from her account. And while she did attempt to recoup the money in court, she was ultimately denied her appeal. This forced her to drop her lawsuit against the PokerStars brand.

According to the brand, Natalie's story altered midway through their investigation into the WCOOP 2007 final event, initially claiming that she had played from the account herself. Yet, when provided evidence by PokerStars, she conceded that she hadn’t actually been participating. Natalie Teltscher is the sister of poker professional Mark Teltscher.

As a result of this, Natalie Teltscher was forced to pay some of the legal fees of PokerStars in addition to forfeiting her prize. Furthermore, all other players in the 2007 WCOOP tournament were moved up one position so as to account for her disqualification. This saw Kyle “ka$ino1” Schroeder become the champion of the event, receiving $1,378,330.50 of his adjusted prize money.

Other Player Disqualifications in the Poker World

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Of course, the WCOOP event isn’t the only one where players have found themselves being disqualified for one reason or another. Multiple tournaments taking place around the world have seen individuals either have to vacate their positions in final rankings or been forced out due to misconduct.

Alas, it’s not always because of the actions of the players themselves as popular pro Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu found out when it came down to the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. While he was initially awarded with the title, it was later discovered that a staffer had entered incorrect information, and this led to Negreanu being stripped of the Player of the Year title. Instead, that honor went to Robert Campbell once all figures had been entered correctly and checked again.

In perhaps one of the more bizarre disqualifications to take place in recent times, one participant in the WSOP Main Event 2019 took things to the extreme. Players participating on Day 1c of the event were witness to quite the spectacle when a male player opted to drop his pants, expose himself and then launch his shoe at the head of the table’s dealer! Of course, that sort of action constitutes immediate dismissal and disqualification.

While those circumstances have marred the reputation of the specific tournaments in which they occurred, the hope is always that poker players will proceed with gameplay in a sincere and lawful way. If you’d like to involve yourself in online tournaments, then there’s a possibility that the WCOOP isn’t available to you if you live in the United States or Australia. Fortunately, we have prepared a thorough guide to online poker in the USA along with an overview of internet poker for Australians.