PokerStars Says DDoS Attack Caused Outage; WCOOP Main Events Rescheduled for November 6
PokerStars has confirmed that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks caused "temporary site outages" that forced the cancellation of dozens of tournaments on Sunday, including all six WCOOP Main Events.
All tournaments were paused as a preventative measure at around 8:00 p.m. (BST) yesterday, before being cancelled less than two hours later.
PokerStars confirmed that all affected players would be compensated, and in a statement said that their teams continue to work on looking after players who have been affected.
The site also announced that they intend to run all WCOOP Main Events on November 6 — including all six NLHE and PLO events — ensuring all 2022 WCOOP Main Event champions will be crowned.
In a statement, PokerStars said that there was no cyber breach during the incident, with all customer account and personal information secure.
"We know how frustrating it can be to experience this kind of disruption"
Their teams continue to work on countering the issue, although there were no details as to who was responsible for the DDoS attacks that caused the outage.
"We have a great track record of keeping our platform operational, however, we know how frustrating it can be to experience this kind of disruption," PokerStars said. "Unfortunately, such events are a constant threat to every company operating online and we are no different.
"These attacks mostly go unnoticed by customers because of the investment we have made in our security systems and the layers of protection we have in place to successfully repel them."
What is a DDoS Attack?
During a DDoS attack, a series of bots attempt to flood a website with requests and traffic. Essentially, multiple computers storm one computer during an attack, pushing out legitimate users. It is not a hack of the site and no player data is accessed as a result.
This is not the first time the poker industry has been hit by DDoS attacks. In 2020, the opening day of the GGPoker WSOP Online was heavily affected, while 2018 saw multiple incidents of tournaments being cancelled as a result of attacks.
PokerStars apologised for the disruption to players participating not only in the World Championship of Online Poker, but also in the Galactic Series Main Event.
The final weekend of WCOOP has been rescheduled to November 5-6. Several warm-up events are scheduled to run on the 5th, before the WCOOP Main Events start on Sunday, November 6.
- NLHE Main Events: $109, $1,050, $10,300
- PLO Main Events: $109, $1,050, $10,300
There will also be three Women's Events (Low, Medium and High) on Sunday, November 6.
While the Galactic Series Main Event will not be re-run, for Southern European players affected by the outage, PokerStars will run a Sunday Million on November 6.
There was also clarification on the Monthly Poker Challenges, with PokerStars confirming that players who were unable to complete their Challenge due to the impact of the technical issues will be compensated.
Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester. He previously worked as a freelance live reporter, and video presenter for the World Poker Tour.