After a bit of confusion early on Monday morning, PokerStars celebrated their 25 billionth hand ever played and awarded five people over $200,000 in cash and tournament entries.
On Wednesday of last week, PokerStars started counting down to the 25 billionth hand played on the site. After reaching their 24.85 billionth hand, every million hands after that scored players who were involved in the hand anywhere from $300 to $2500, depending on the stakes of the tables they were playing at. By the time Sunday evening came around, players swarmed the site in an attempt to be on the right table at the right time.
Early Monday morning, the 25 billionth hand came up and then the fun began on PokerStars. Sitting at a six handed $1/$2 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo table for the 25 billionth hand were CONFEDERATE, NEONFROST, TUPAPI777, FRTSPKNDMN, N47J25S and CHRIS12080. With CONFEDERATE ineligible for any of the prize because he had not been dealt into the hand, the remaining five players were set to split up $200,000 in cash – with $100,000 going to the winner and the remainder of the table to split another $100,000 – and tournament entries to four events (the upcoming European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo, the 2009 World Series of Poker Championship Event, the 2009 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) also going to the winner of the hand.
One thing that had not been considered by PokerStars is if the 25 billionth hand came up on a split pot game, as this Omaha Hi-Lo table was. In Omaha Hi-Lo, it is more than possible for two players or more to win a portion of the pot. Putting this aside for the moment, play began between the five players eligible for the huge awards. While play was occurring, another huge issue arose to cause problems.
Due to the huge volume of players on the tables of the site as well as the numbers simply observing the action, there was a software glitch which caused one of the players, NEONFROST, to have his hand mucked. NEONFROST, who was sitting with only $7 on the table at the time, complained that he hadn’t taken any action and his cards simply disappeared. PokerStars reviewed the hand history and concluded that NEONFROST, in fact, did not take any action and was therefore allowed to be in the hand without making any bets.
As the hand played out, (which can be reviewed on YouTube), NEONFROST was the beneficiary of PokerStars’ goodwill when he hit a Queen high flush and took the high end of the pot. Battling at the table as well, TUPAPI777 was able to make a qualifying low and brought about the split pot scenario that players had feared. PokerStars, though, was quick to make a decision and came up with an excellent decision as to the awarding of the prizes.
PokerStars decided that NEONFROST and TUPAPI777 would split the major award of $100,000 and, in a gracious decision, award both of the players the four tournament package. The remainder of the players at the table who were in the hand – FRTSPKNDMN, N47J25S and CHRIS12080 – divvied up the $100,000 for being at the table. While it could have been a very problematic situation for PokerStars, their quick decision and action as to the awarding of the prizes portrays them in an excellent light. Congratulations to all the big winners and all of those players who earned money during the PokerStars’ 25 Billionth Hand Celebration.

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