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Poker news | Oct 30, 2020

Do Online Poker Sites Really Ban Winning Players?

By RTR Dennis

665x200 mar19 online poker

Online poker rooms don’t compete against their players. Instead, they merely take rake out of tournament buy-ins and cash-game pots. Therefore, poker sites don’t seemingly have any reason to ban winners.

However, certain sites do get accused of banning successful players from time to time. GGPoker recently took heat for this issue.

Do GGPoker and other sites really prohibit players just for winning profits? I’ll discuss this issue more by starting with the GG controversy along with when operators do take action against successful grinders.

Recent GGPoker Debacle Raises the Question

The controversy at GGPoker started when Tobias ‘dudd1’ Duthweiler claimed that he was banned from the site. He also tweeted that his winnings were confiscated as well.

According to Duthweiler, he previously played on a site called Natural8—now under the GGNetwork. The German poker pro drew the ban in 2016 after he was accused of bumhunting. Natural8 management warned that his funds would be confiscated if he tried playing anywhere within their network again.

More recently, Duthweiler signed up at GGPoker. He now claims that he didn’t realize Natural8 and GG were connected.

Dudd1 deposited $50,000 on GGPoker and ran that amount up to $180,000 over the course of two weeks. When he tried cashing out, though, GG finally identified him and took the winnings.

Duthweiler received his original $50k deposit back. However, the remaining $130k was distributed among the opponents whom he beat.

Did GGPoker Do the Right Thing?

We’ll never know whether Duthweiler truly did or didn’t know that Natural8 was on the GGNetwork. He claims that he didn’t, so we’ll take his word at face value.

Therefore, the real issues with this story are as follows:

  • Why did GG let dudd1 play for two weeks before banning him?
  • Is GGPoker justified in taking Duthweiler’s winnings?
  • If Duthweiler is bumhunting, does he still have a legitimate complaint?

According to GGPoker’s statement, their software didn’t catch Duthweiler right away. Instead, they only noticed that he was banned from the network when he tried cashing out.

Therefore, the site wasn’t just waiting to see if he won before taking action. They honestly didn’t know that a banned player was winning on the network until later.

As for taking Duthweiler’s winnings, GGPoker noted that he violated their terms and conditions. Their terms state that they not only reserve the right to take the money but even the deposit if necessary.

Luckily, they didn’t go the latter route and returned his original deposit. They did, however, confiscate his winnings and give them to Duthweiler’s losing opponents.

According to a Twitter pool run by Doug Polk, over 72% of poker players believe that GGNetwork should’ve let Duthweiler keep both his deposit money and winnings.

Finally, bumhunters are never popular in the poker community. If Duthweiler was undeniably bumhunting, then he arguably deserves to lose his winnings. Of course, proving that he was only seeking out fish is easier said than done.

Famed online PLO player ‘VeniVidi1993’ claims that the GGNetwork also banned him for bumhunting and took his winnings. He adamantly denies engaging in such practices.

Bum Hunting Has Been a Problem in Poker for Years

GGPoker hasn’t received great publicity for their dealings with Duthweiler. Some social media users even accused them of stealing money from dudd1.

GG states that they never ban customers just for winning profits. Instead, they only prohibit those who’ve, “violated our terms of service agreement by cheating, bumhunting, colluding, or acting in any way we deem to be predatory.”

GGPoker considers both direct and indirect bumhunters to be in violation of their T&Cs:

“Direct bumhunting is defined as joining a table once the mark has joined and leaving shortly after the mark has left, even though the table has not broken. Indirect bumhunting is defined as refusing to give action to certain players while giving action to others.”

GG and other sites don’t like bumhunters because they hurt the online poker ecosystem. They’re predatory players who only seek out fish.

The latter, meanwhile, actually contribute deposit money onto poker sites. Fish are less likely to continue playing if they get dominated by pros every time that they log on.

Few people advocate for bumhunters. The latter don’t really contribute to the poker world in a meaningful way and aren’t willing to take on better players.

Of course, the big issue in the GG story is whether Duthweiler was truly targeting fish. If so, he doesn’t deserve much sympathy. According to the poll, though, many players do feel that he should’ve received his winnings after being banned.