Typo costs PokerStars thousands in guarantee money

Jon Pill
Posted on: September 10, 2020 07:15 PDT

GGPoker has been put through the wringer for its slapdash approach to running tournaments and its general site security. There was even a point where a bracelet event had its name changed halfway through because they got the table size wrong.

But GGPoker is not the only one to have taken major damage from minor errors like this.

Thanks to a regional error on Wednesday September 9, 2020, PokerStars software offered a much higher guarantee than was intended. This ended up putting Stars out of pocket to the tune of €12,254.

GALACTIC-106: €125 NL Hold’em [6-Max, Progressive KO], €100,000 Guaranteed was correctly named on the French and Spanish language clients. But in English, it had a two-character typo. This changed the guarantee to €125,000.

With 799 entries and 190 re-entries, they collected a total of €112,746 for the prize pool. Half of that went out the door as bounties. The other half as prizes to the 179 players who cashed.

But a tweet from the winner pointed out the discrepancy. @henribuehler wrote: “ @PokerStars what am I missing here? €125k gtd, but prize pool is only €112,746????”


A professional contrast

PokerStars, to their credit, were on top of their error. In no time they had paid out the additional money to those players that cashed. Though anyone who earned a few bounties before the bubble broke is likely to be a bit miffed as Stars do not appear to be topping their wins up.

PokerStars explained their error tweeting: “Hi, the prize pool was €100K Gtd which was displayed if your language in the PokerStars lobby is set to French or Spanish. A localisation error meant that in English it showed as 125K. However, we recognise the mistake & have paid out the €12,254 to the 179 players who cashed.”

One imagines that when weighed against the rake from the WCOOP events, €12k starts to feel like lunch money.

The speed, transparency, and professionalism of PokerStars' response here may seem — to some — several notches up from GGPoker's responses to similar debacles.

Previous problems

Some people used the snafu as an opportunity to point out some previous, similar issues. As in April when Jans Arends tweeted at PokerStars, "Can you please explain to me why you keep canceling tournaments that are paused after day 1 has finished? [...] Also, you need to pay out the overlay ASAP."

This April error resulted in a similar mismatch between the guarantee and the prize pool.

It was put down as due to an unspecified "technical error." This error was promptly fixed in this case too. Though some people still view these mistakes with a conspiratorial eye.

Stars' response stated that it was all "due to a technical error, players were sent the wrong email and the full prize pool was not paid out as intended."

This error is bad timing as they are in the middle of the WCOOP. But at least they're not banning players for winning.