Storm Brewing as Players Accuse Partypoker of Shady Tournament Tactics

October 15th, 2018 | by Brian Corlisse

Partypoker has been accused of unfair practices after a forum poster provided third-hand evidence about the way the operator mitigates overlays.

Partypoker Live Millions Russia

Events such as the Live Millions in Russia (pictured) have prompted speculation that unfair practices are being used by Partypoker. (Image: Partypoker)

Posting under the handle pp-whistle, the unknown player said that Partypoker is involved in putting players into tournaments where they expect the buy-ins to fall short of the guarantee. Although the poster doesn’t name their “sources,” they outline the alleged deal staked players receive when they’re entered into Partypoker Live tournaments at the last minute.

“Most players seem to get a 40/60 deal, where they get to keep 40 percent of their cashes,” reads the October 5 post.

Speculation but No First-Hand Evidence

Supporting the claim that this happened at Partypoker Live events in Nottingham, Sochi and Montreal, pp-whistle says that a lot of Partypoker pros play “recklessly” because they get to re-enter “basically for free.”

Expanding on the point, the player also noted that Nottingham’s £1,000/$1,300 and £5,000/$6,550 tournaments received just enough entrants to meet their guarantees.

“The 1k event in Nottingham basically hit the exact guarantee with 1009 players. As everybody knows, the higher the buy-in, the less players are usually playing. Not so in Nottingham, where they pretty much exactly hit the guaranteed amount in the 5k again (1015 entries),” continues the 2+2 post.

Speculation regarding the use of affiliated players has been the subject of discussion within the community since 2017. At the heart of the debate is whether putting players into a tournament to ensure guarantees are met is fair when the operator has a financial interest in said players.

Although Partypoker has denied any knowledge of this being the case, many 2+2 members believe it’s become common practice in live and online tournaments.

“This is the worst kept secret in poker and well-known knowledge between almost everyone that plays,” wrote alligatorhater.

Tangled Web Raises More Questions than Answers

Also implicated in the potential scandal is staking site BRS. Looking back to a 2017 post, Breakingbad555 wrote that BRS players were receiving a special 70 percent rakeback deal on Partypoker.

Again, Partypoker has denied any special deals with BRS. However, some players believe BRS-backed pros are being used to fluff the numbers in Partypoker events.

Following the October 5 post, BRS has taken down its website and deleted its social media account, prompting further speculation that something is amiss with the current situation.

At this stage, no first-hand evidence has been produced to support the claims being made by players. Similarly, those on the inside, such as Partypoker Live Millions director John Duthie, have yet to address the topic.

However, we do know that 2019 will bring a change to the way Partypoker Millions events are run. Outlined in an October 10 blog post by Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong, all Millions main events will be freezeouts with a single Day 1.

Although this wouldn’t completely address the alleged buy-in fiasco, it would help to level the playing field. However, between this and the recent DDoS attacks, Partypoker could be facing an uphill struggle to win back confidence in its products.


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