Partypoker responds to fastforward scandal; players furious

Kat Martin Author Photo
Kat Martin
Posted on: September 30, 2021 10:47 PDT

Today on the partypoker Discord server, head of content at partypoker/Entain, Richard Prew, provided the first public statement on the ongoing fastforward scandal. It was brief:

"We have optimised the seating logic of our Fast Forward games to improve player experience. We continually review this and all other aspects of our games and we remain fully committed to upholding the integrity of our games."

The scandal revolves around compelling claims that the seating algorithm for fastforward tables leads to multi-tablers receiving an unfair seat distribution, potentially costing regs millions of dollars in lost EV.

The announcement comes a day after Doug Polk discussed the matter on YouTube. Polk told listeners that partypoker executive Rob Yong had looked into the matter, apparently uncovering the source of the problem.

Is the bug fixed?

Unfortunately for partypoker and all other interested parties, Richard Prew's statement is vague. Many on Discord interpreted an optimization of the seating logic as an announcement that the bug had been fixed. Others pointed out that this is not explicitly stated, and that the careful language parallels earlier communications to unhappy players.

Specifically, the main line of defense to date offered by partypoker is that the seating logic is "the same for all players", and thus fair. This is a disingenuous claim, given that anyone playing multiple tables is at a built-in EV disadvantage relative to those single-tabling.

Players on Discord who saw Prew's announcement as indicating the software had been changed had a natural follow-up question: Would players who could demonstrate lost EV due to the faulty algorithm now be compensated?

Prew provided the following response:

"Our Fast Forward games continue to meet the highest standards set out within the licences in all of the relevant jurisdictions in which we operate and there are no grounds for the issuance of refund in this instance."

Players furious

Players immediately reacted to this statement on Discord and on Reddit with varying degrees of fury and disbelief. Discord user mast3rkraft summed up the dominant sentiment:

"This is absolute disgrace. You need to compensate the players. I am withdrawing money and boycotting the site. I urge everyone to do the same."

User JLIU was not pulling any punches either:

"No grounds? are you kidding me? for five months you guys knowingly allowed unfair games to run. you essentially robbed your players knowingly. and now you're using some technicality based on legal jurisdiction to avoid doing what's right?"

Finally, Knaxis reminded all involved that this is a data-driven issue with solid evidence:

"I have the proof that your seating algorithm is rigged, and I already published it online. my hand histories are lifetime locked on partypoker and cant be faked, so the ground/proof is as clear as day."

This story will be updated as further developments emerge.

Featured image source: Reddit