Posts Tagged ‘Sunday’

WPN Million Dollar Sunday Guaranteed Covered for First Time

 WPN Million Dollar Sunday Guaranteed Covered for First Time

The Winning Poker Network (WPN) finally won. On Sunday, August 24th, the network hosted its eighth Million Dollar Sunday tournament and for the first time, the guaranteed prize pool was covered.

The U.S.-facing network, which includes sites such as America’s Cardroom, Poker Host, and True Poker, launched its ambitious million-dollar guaranteed tournament back in December 2014. It was a bold move, as the network did not seem nearly big enough to guarantee that kind of money, but as one of the few networks that is not licensed in the United States but still accepts American customers, it wanted to make a splash.

WPN ran into serious problems just as the first Million Dollar Sunday began, though, as the network was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack which caused disconnections, table freezes, and registration problems. The network’s IT staff scrambled to try to stop the attack, but they couldn’t do it; the tournament was eventually cancelled and all buy-ins and fees were refunded.

The tournament was rescheduled for February 2015 and ran just fine, so WPN scheduled five more for the fall of last year. The DDoS attacks returned for the next two tournaments, though the network was ready for them. While the attacks caused some problems, the issues were kept to a minimum and the events proceeded as planned. WPN CEO Phil Nagy even went on Twitch to let people know that he had received a ransom demand from the attackers, a demand which he refused to pay.

But even though WPN seemed to have solved the DDoS problem, it still had the problem of attendance. The network simply did not have enough players willing to pay the $ 500 + $ 40 entry to allow the million dollar guarantee to be hit. The network had to pay out over half a million dollars in overlay for those first three fall tournaments combined. As such, for the remaining fall tournaments, the guarantee was cut in half, though to make up for it, two more tournaments were added.

In the seven total Million Dollar Sundays leading up to this weekend, WPN had paid out a million dollars in overlay.

But finally, this past Sunday, the Winning Poker Network attracted 2,118 entrants to its $ 500 + $ 40 Million Dollar Sunday, creating a prize pool of $ 1,059,000. Player “OIDA!!!” took the $ 211,800 first prize.

At least $ 200,000 was guaranteed to the winner and in a nice gesture, the members of the final table were given a free bank wire in order to allow them to receive their winnings quickly, if they wanted to withdraw them.

The network also added a special bounty for the Million Dollar Sunday tournament to celebrate the new season of “Game of Thrones,” which debuted Sunday night. Whoever knocked out a player by the name “King-Joffrey,” named after the whiny, evil, boy-king from the show, received $ 500.

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WPN Forced to Slash Million Dollar Sunday Guarantee in Half

 WPN Forced to Slash Million Dollar Sunday Guarantee in Half

The Million Dollar Sunday tournaments on the Winning Poker Network (WPN) have never managed to reach that million dollar guarantee, which why they will no longer be Million Dollar Sundays. While there has been no official announcement on its website, WPN has decided to chop the million dollar guarantee in half to $ 500,000. At the same time, though, the promotion will be extended an extra two weeks, doubling the number of “Million Dollar” Sundays remaining so that the total guaranteed prize money will stay at $ 2 million.

It has been a struggle for the network, which includes such poker rooms as True Poker, Poker Host, and America’s Cardroom, ever since it made the bold move to become the first U.S.-facing poker network since Black Friday to offer a million dollar guaranteed tournament. Its first attempt was back in December, but the network was hit with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack right when the event began. The DDoS attacks started a couple weeks beforehand, but stopped in the days leading up to the tournament, so network officials thought they were in the clear. They were very wrong. The attacks caused tables to freeze, players to be disconnected, and prevented players from registering. WPN staff paused the tournament several times to try to get things under control, but they couldn’t, so WPN CEO Phil Nagy made the executive decision to cancel the tournament after it was already running and refund all buy-ins and fees.

The tournament was rescheduled for February and was successful. Possibly because of that, the network decided to run more of these million dollar guarantees, so it scheduled five for the fall; one in September and then one each Sunday in October. When the September tournament started, the DDoS attacks came back, causing similar problems as before. Phil Nagy went on Twitch to keep players apprised of the situation and even revealed that he had received a ransom communication from the attacker, which Nagy didn’t even consider. Fortunately, the network weathered the storm and the tournament was able to finish.

Same story for the first Million Dollar Sunday in October, but there have not been any reports of any DDoS attacks from this past Sunday.

But even if the attacks have stopped, that doesn’t eliminate the fact that the network didn’t come remotely close to attracting enough players to the $ 540 buy-in ($ 500 + $ 40) tournament to cover the million dollar guarantee. WPN had to pay out $ 224,500 in overlay for the September tourney, $ 197,500 for the first October event, and almost $ 150,000 this past Sunday. Much of that could be attributed to the DDoS attacks, as they prevented players from registering and the most recent tournament saw its numbers improve without the attacks, but the WPN is likely just too small to host a million dollar guarantee.

As such, the guarantee for the remaining two events in the series has been cut to $ 500,000, but the network didn’t want to take away value from its players, so it added two more tournaments so that the total guarantee remains the same. The buy-in has also been cut to $ 270.

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WPN Million Dollar Sunday Hit by DDoS Attack Again

 WPN Million Dollar Sunday Hit by DDoS Attack Again

Another million dollar guaranteed tournament, another Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the Winning Poker Network (WPN). On Sunday, September 13th, the network held the first of five fall Million Dollar Sunday tournaments, which guaranteed a million dollar prize pool and at least $ 200,000 to the winner. But, as has happened when WPN has attempted this in the past, unscrupulous cyber bullies tried to ruin the proceedings.

In a DDoS attack, the culprits flood the target’s machines with communications requests, overwhelming it and preventing it from handling legitimate requests. In the case of the Winning Poker Network, it causes tables to freeze and players to timeout. WPN had to cancel a million dollar tournament in December because of DDoS attacks, though another one earlier this year was able to run despite yet more attacks.

During this weekend’s tournament, WPN CEO Phil Nagy went on Twitch to explain what was going on:

In the beginning of the tournament we had to pause the tournament for five minutes and then we resumed the tournament…and we’re getting some extortion messages where they want us to send Bitcoins to stop the attacks. Well, um…no. Not gonna do that. I just can’t imagine paying the terrorists to stop. That’s just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

He went on to explain that it is possible that players could experience some pauses in the tournament, but that the technical staff was monitoring everything to make sure things went as smoothly as possible.

“What I really want to say is eff these guys SO much and there’s no possible way that I’m paying you or I’m giving in,” he said.

Nagy said that the connectivity problems and pauses were keeping players away and that the tournament was going to have significant overlay. He repeated a number of times that it was going to hurt his pocketbook. He refused, though, to cancel the tournament as he did in December 2014. While he and his staff had to pause the event this weekend a number of times, it was different than in December, when they were unable to get the attacks under control. At that time, he felt the best decision was to cancel the tournament and refund players’ money because he could not offer a fair game. This time, though, WPN was able to keep order, so Nagy kept the tournament running.

“I literally had some people in my office that said this tournament is going to overlay so much that you have a great opportunity to bow out of it and blame it on DDoS,” Nagy admitted. “And I said, ‘Well what’s the point of having a guarantee when it’s not really a guarantee?’”

As it turned out, the overlay was significant. A total of 1,549 people participated in the tournament, creating a $ 775,500 prize pool and a $ 224,500 overlay.

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