The Winning Poker Network’s (WPN) latest Sunday $1 million guaranteed tournament was a great success because it had improved its technical defense against Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS).

Last December, the network’s attempt to hold a Million Dollar Sunday tournament failed because of DDoS issues. This year, the event was not cancelled; it was just paused a few times.

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The tournament that WPN had to cancel in January was held in February, and a US player emerged as its winner. The WPN has already run two more online poker tournaments with guaranteed prizes of $1 million each and plans to run four more Million Dollar Sunday events in October.

Phil Nagy, the chief executive officer of WPN, said that the DDoS attacks discouraged more players from registering for the event, owing to which there was a huge overlay. The tournament had a field of 1549 players, and Nagy is of the opinion that there would have been at least 200 more entries if it weren’t for the DDoS attacks.

Nagy said: “Even short disconnections make headcount drop like a rock.” Referring to other US facing online poker rooms in the industry, he commented: “Most if not all of my direct competitors would have taken the excuse to kill it. We just have to take it on the chin and pay players as soon as possible.”

Nagy also said that DDoS attacks have had a serious impact on all varieties of online businesses, not only online poker. Even giant companies such as Microsoft and Sony and various governments have had to deal with DDoS attacks. He said: “DDoS does not seem to be going away anytime soon. In the current landscape it’s all about how well you mitigate and manage the attack.”

The WPN software now has a feature that allows the network to pause a tournament till players can get connected once again. These pauses, which last anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds, cause inconvenience and irritation to players. However, it cannot be denied that they enable players to at least continue the tournament where they left off. Players no longer find themselves totally out of a tournament just because they got disconnected.

The online poker industry is quite familiar with DDoS attacks as several online poker rooms have faced these attacks in 2014. Last month, there was a DDoS attack at partypoker. Recently, 888poker also introduced a pause feature for the benefit of its tournament players.

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