Online poker in New Jersey could be said to have suffered a setback of sorts. Last night, during their heavily-promoted Garden State Super Series (GSSS), partypoker’s servers experienced a serious malfunction. Over 700 entrants bought in to the $200,000 Guaranteed Main Event of the GSSS only for the event to be disrupted midway through. This was most unwelcome news for the players, each of whom ponied up the $200 buy-in, eager to cash in on what was to be a big overlay. To their credit, partypoker did what they could to make the best of the unfortunate situation.
After intensive efforts to fix the technical glitch failed, partypoker issued an email to all players affected who still remained in the tournament, which read as follows:
We experienced some serious technical difficulties with the Garden State Super Series and some other tournaments this evening which resulted in some of this evening’s GSSS events, including the main event, crashing and their cancellation. Numerous attempts to resume these tournaments failed.
Players will shortly be paid out funds as per our tournament cancellation policy which deems that the entire prizepool is considered for payout including the guaranteed money which had not yet been covered by player buy-ins.
The cancellation policy is as follows: http://nj.partypoker.com/how-to-play…nts/rules.html
Eliminated players at the time of cancellation will not be refunded their buy-in or entry fee
Players still in the tournament will be refunded the amount that would have been awarded to the next player to be eliminated from the tournament. 50% of the remaining prize pool will be distributed equally between the remaining players, and 50% will be distributed on a percentage basis according to each player’s chip count. The remaining players will also be refunded their entry fee.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will have caused. We have been humbled by this experience and appreciate the enormous burden we have placed on the players tonight and are so sorry. We will diligently work to make certain that we overcome these technical challenges in the future.
As confirmed by numerous players on Twitter, partypoker remitted the funds, as promised, to all players remaining in the tournament at the time of the malfunction. Moreover, again to partypoker’s great credit, these payments processed and distributed to the players reflected the full $200,000 prize pool guarantee. In other words, they didn’t capitalize on a technical glitch to renege on their commitments to the players.
Despite partypoker taking responsibility for factors clearly beyond their control, players were understandably upset with what happened and publicly voiced their displeasure on social media as well as popular poker forums.
There’s no such thing as a “good time” for bad things to happen to a poker operator, but partypoker seems to have gotten caught with their pants servers down at a particularly bad time, for multiple reasons.
The GSSS represented the debut appearance of former New Jersey Devils star Ken Daneyko as a partypoker ambassador. Much commotion was made of this deal, which represented another successful crossover of poker into the mainstream. Daneyko naturally was active in promoting participation in the GSSS and it seems as though he’s unintentionally ended up with a bit of egg on his face. Not the most auspicious of debuts to say the least…
Beyond this, “PokerStars” has been a buzzword on people’s lips in New Jersey, as their arrival on the local online poker scene seems imminent. It can’t have hurt their chances of gaining market share to have had this happen at a premier partypoker event.