High-Stakes pro banned from GGPoker claims poker site never refunded his account balance

Jon Sofen
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Posted on August 11, 2020 6:29 pm EDT

A high-stakes poker pro who was banned from GGPoker claims the money in his online poker account was confiscated instead of being returned to him upon his removal from the poker site.

Tobias Duthweiler, a German pro who plays under the screen names “Ben ABC” on GGPoker and “dudd1” on PokerStars, shared a lengthy story about his situation on the 2+2 forums. But this isn’t a typical cut-and-dry story like you’ve probably heard numerous times from players complaining because they got caught breaking the rules.

Duthweiler’s claim is far deeper and more complex. We’ll get into the details below, but the gist of it is he ran his $50,000 bankroll up to $180,000 and then had his account funds confiscated after the security team discovered he was banned from another GGPoker Network site in 2016.

Does GGPoker owe Duthweiler money?

Any experienced online poker player knows that once you get banned from a poker site, if you create new accounts, you run the risk of getting caught and then losing the money you have in the account. Duthweiler, in his lengthy 2+2 post, admitted he was banned in 2016 from Natural8, GGPoker’s sister site in Asia.

As such, he isn’t permitted to play on any of GG’s network of sites. But he claims he had no idea that Natural8 was part of the same poker network as GGPoker. And he says the poker site only confiscated his funds after he built up a huge bankroll.

Duthweiler, in his post, said he initially made a $50,000 deposit on GGPoker in 2019. He says he ran bad and was down thousands of dollars before catching a heater at the end of May, running up his account balance to $180,000.

GGPoker then forced high-stakes players to change their account names to their real names instead of anonymous monikers. At that point, he says in the post, the poker site required him to verify his identity. His account was then locked as GGPoker noticed he had been previously banned from Natural8. The money in his account — $180,000 — was confiscated and his account was deleted.

Duthweiler said in his post that he had already verified his identity upon signing up for GGPoker last year. So, he’s confused about why the poker site allowed him to play for months before finally removing his account and confiscating the funds.

“So if I wasn’t allowed to play on GG-Poker, how is it possible to play there for over a year? Don’t they check the accounts being created on their network? Have they just been waiting until I finally had enough money in my account to make it worthwhile for them to keep it? If I would’ve kept losing, would I still be able to play on GG-Poker?” the frustrated online poker pro wrote.

Duthweiler said he’s currently in conversations with GGPoker’s security team. He informed the 2+2 community that after some back and forth, the poker site finally offered to refund his initial $50,000 deposit but not the full balance. The poker pro, as to be expected, isn’t satisfied with the proposed solution and feels he deserves the entire $180,000 balance.

“Again, the money I won was won 100% fairly: I never hid my identity; there was nothing to cause an unfair advantage over anybody; most of the other high-stakes players were aware of who I was, since I play across all sites and it’s not very hard to find out who I am,” he argued on 2+2.

Steffen Sontheimer, one of the top high rollers in the world, went to bat for his friend and fellow German poker player. “Goose” let loose on GGPoker and questioned where the extra $130,000 goes if it isn’t returned to Duthweiler. He wrote in the same forum thread, “to me this is just an unfair treatment and it gives me a very bad feeling about keeping money on GG, so I think that needs to be spread.”