PokerStars has reportedly stripped the winner of the 2018 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event has been stripped of their title. “Wann2play” initially won the tournament for more than $1.3 million, but it has now emerged that the player was unable to lay their hands on the prize money after reportedly breaching PokerStars’ terms and conditions.
The news broke out last week following a tweet by UK poker pro Max Silver, saying that the top prize had been redistributed to the rest of the finishers, with runner-up Ezequiel Waigel becoming the new champion.
The 2018 WCOOP Main Event attracted a total of 2,044 entries with some well-known pros making the final table, including Noah “Exclusive” Boeken, Michael “mczhang” Zhang, and Linus “LlinusLLove” Loeliger, who finish sixth, fifth, and third respectively.
Canada’s “4rebmun” finished eighth, followed by the UK’s “0409479” in seventh place. Costa Rican Robby “PlayaPlz” Lipkin finished fourth in the tournament. The final table finishers each walked away with at least $135,000.
Wann2play and Waigel agreed to a heads-up deal, leaving $200,000 and the title to play for. Wann2play, an unknown player from the Netherlands, ultimately took down the event, but not without controversy.
Rumors Began to Circulate in 2019
In July 2019, a tweet from high-stakes online poker pro “girafganger7” sparked speculations that potential ghosting was involved in the 2018 tournament, and that a well-known pro actually won the Main Event using a second account.
Wann2play never revealed their real identity and the only available info was that the player hailed from the Netherlands and won their way into the $5,200 Main Event via a $530 satellite. This fueled rumors that a professional player might have used the account.
Multi-Accounting/Ghosting Spotted
Waigel himself spotted an anomaly late in the WCOOP Main Event, and decided to review the tournament alongside other pros who also confirmed that another player could have played on the account. Waigel then reported his suspicions to PokerStars. The online poker site dug deeper and eventually found that Wann2play’s victory was indeed shady, resulting in his account being frozen and the prize being redistributed to other players who cashed in the tournament.
Waigel earned more than $200,000 more for being declared as the new champion, and was thankful that the anomaly had been properly fixed, with the deserving winners receiving their respective payouts.
PokerStars did not officially divulge the reason for Wann2play’s disqualification, but many believe it could relate to multi-accounting. Some players use this trick to play tournaments more than once, and often in aid of a VPN. Wann2play could also have been involved in “ghosting“, meaning he might have played with the help and advice of one or more stronger players.
Asked for a comment on this development, PokerStars’ Associate Director for Group Public Relations Rebecca McAdam said it has always been their commitment to provide players a safe and secure environment to play poker. Over the years, the company has invested heavily in various resources and technology, and even established its own Game Integrity team to identify and investigate unscrupulous behavior.
McAdam said winners found to be involved in tournament misconduct are dealt with accordingly, with funds being distributed back to affected players.
Wann2Play Not The First WCOOP Winner To Be Disqualified
This is the second time that a WCOOP Main Event champion has been disqualified. PokerStars also seized the winnings of the 2007 Main Event winner “TheVoid” after it was found that the owner of the account, Natalie Teltscher, had not actually played on her account during the tournament. Teltscher is the sister of English poker pro and European Poker Tour winner Mark Teltscher.
Teltscher filed a lawsuit in a bid to recoup her winnings, but was unsuccessful after she later admitted that she wasn’t the person using the account during the 2007 WCOOP Main Event. Kyle “ka$ino” Schroeder, who initially finished as runner-up, was declared the champion and received $1,378,330.50 in adjusted winnings as a result.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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