Before the excitement of one of the largest, most anticipated and well attended events ever held on PokerStars had time to cool down, rumors and discussion of a 17 year old player having been amongst the huge final table pay-outs had already began to surface within the poker community.
While PokerStars was most likely already doing their due diligence in making sure nothing was out of place before dishing out the massive mounds of money, suspicion from the media arose that something wasn’t quite adding up when the 6th place Netherlands finisher’s father was the first point of contact and claimed to be the person who had played the event.
Those in the business of investigative reporting don’t tend to stay confused long and available information soon pointed to the fact that while the person registered to the “zuerrr” account was listed as being 19 years old, he was in fact only 17. Since being under 18 doesn’t meet with the PokerStars Terms and Conditions to be eligible to play, it now made perfect sense why the father was claiming to be the actual player responsible for the $518,000+ finish and payday.
While the argument can be put forth that it can’t be proven otherwise, it is a moot point. Playing on another person’s account is also against the rules, old news and points that have been dissected thoroughly through past examples such as Canadian player Sorel Mizzi having his large FTP win confiscated for finishing another player’s game. If the 17 year olds father did indeed play, does he have his own account and how would this be any different than other instances of forbidden multi-accounting? Site Security can apply science and past lessons to reduce any doubt, comparing hand histories from each can show deviations in playing styles that certainly help prove identity, the same way players learn to exploit opponent’s patterns and the same way players deciphered the anomalies in “superuser” results, ultimately leading to them being exposed. Even without this obvious type of lead in “zuerrr’s” circumstance, IP addresses are looked at and identities verified whenever significant money is involved and eventually, almost any infraction of the Terms and Conditions are detected, no matter the stakes.
While some may argue that age shouldn’t take this life changing event away from the player that outlasted over 59,000 players to place where he did, others will counter the simple fact that he should have never been in the field in the first place. By entering, “zuerrr” affected the outcome for all the other players who were allowed to play and were not breaking the rules. Canadians who can remember visiting Las Vegas after turning the legal age to gamble in Canada, but not the USA, can certainly relate to what stops many from sneaking a slot pull or two. It isn’t the fear of whether or not we could stay under securities radar long enough to slip a twenty or two into the one armed bandit, it is the gut feeling that we just might be “unlucky” enough to hit a jackpot we could never claim.
The biggest question in this particular circumstance is what should be done with the 6th place finisher’s confiscated winnings? Should it be split evenly amongst every player he took chips from? Do they divide it amongst the entire field, a share worth about $9 each? In theory, everyone who played the 5th anniversary game was affected by this random player in the mix. Or, do they reserve the funds for the roughly 7500 players that made the money? Divided among them, it would amount to roughly $70 a piece or over 30% of their initial buy-in. Maybe, it would be most fairly distributed only to the other players that were a part of the deal? Over $500,000 certainly shouldn’t pad the pockets of the billion dollar corporation that took it away and doubtfully will, but possibly putting it up as a tournament prize-pool that is restricted to everybody that played in the March 6th event is a viable solution?
What are your thoughts? Could it be put in trust until he becomes “of age”? This would certainly be sending the wrong message and opening the door up for much more of the same incidents, right? Where do you think the money belongs?
We would love to hear your opinions in the “Online Poker Section” of our Forum, do post away!
Update: Poker Stars has not released an official statement on the incident to verify that the money has been indeed withheld. Details on the investigation have not been released but a person representing himself and being accepted as an official PokerStars representative on a 2+2 discusion thread has made a statment in regards to no decision having been made regarding this possible issue and that they can make no comment in detail on investigations . We look forward to the “official” outcome of the underage player story that has been creating worldwide buzz.