Jeans, a respected high stakes regular, made a thread on 2+2 saying that the hotel room of he and his friend (0human0), another high-stakes regular, had been broken into and their laptops stolen. Upon contacting the front desk and going back up to their room, the laptops had reappeared, but with a nasty surprise. The laptops had a Trojan on them that had not been there previously. Lee Jones, a Pokerstars employee, has confirmed this to be true and has given suggestions to all players who may have had this happen, or fear it might have.
Jones suggests that all players at minimum change all passwords and run virus and adware programs on their laptops. He also suggests that you should reformat your hard drive and start from scratch. While this suggestion might seem like a hassle, considering what a Trojan can do to your computer and your online account, it is worth the time and inconvenience. Pokerstars is also suggesting that all players either take their laptops with them or use the room safe to further protect their laptops if they are not going to be in their hotel rooms.
This story isn’t the first of spotty hotel security on the EPT, nor in Barcelona. The thread on 2+2 is beginning to fill up with stories of people traveling to Barcelona on other business or for the EPT and being threatened or mugged while staying there. The EPT San Remo has also been pointed to as a place that doesn’t have suitable security and all players should proceed with caution when staying at hotels there. No matter how safe you think the city you are staying in is though, as travelers, it is best to exercise extreme caution and care.
This story is still developing, but Pokerstars’ prompt response shows that they are taking this very seriously and realize the issues that could rise from this. All players who are at the EPT Barcelona, or know someone that is there, should alert them to this situation. This black mark comes in the midst of a successful EPT tour stop that has seen giant fields and prize pools for all players. PokerUpdate.com will provide any updates to this story as they become available and provide suggestions for players as it becomes clearer exactly what happened and the sophistication of the virus.
Update Friday September 6th 5:01 PM EST: This story has continued to develop and things are a lot clearer now, at least in terms of the timeline of events. Yesterday, I gave a very brief breakdown of what happened from the short post made by Jeans at 2+2, but he has since made another thread with a full recount of the story here. While it is extremely long, it is something that everyone should read. The first thread was meant as more of a Public Service Announcement, while this current version is more of a full breakdown of events and gets to the heart of the matter at hand.
I can’t really give cliff notes of it, because it’s such an intricate story as evidenced by how long the story is and not feeling like it could have been any shorter, and it would not do it justice. There are many things at play when reading it, and after reading over it two times, there appears to be a few things that are undisputable. At first, no one took the story as seriously as they needed to. This caused more bad things to happen and other players to get their computers infected. The hotel did not want police involved and only did so after multiple people reported the same problem. Pokerstars is not free of blame here either, as it seems like they were too ready to believe the hotel, even though lots of questions couldn’t be answered by the hotel security staff.
The overall vibe from the new threads seems to be that this was an inside job stemming from the Arts Hotel, even though this is not confirmed and very possibly could be a bit presumptuous at this point. The story seems to back that up though as way too much happened as a coincidence, and it tried to get swept away far too easily. Many people in the thread are also pressuring Pokerstars to do more than they have, as they have been silent in the new thread. Some other players are also reporting that this has happened at other EPT stops, but those stories are unconfirmed and don’t provide as much detail, but they do involve well known players such as Jason Koon.
Jeans alluded in the thread that there is still going to be more from this story to come out, hopefully, and some kind of resolution should be reached as police are involved. As more details surface and some kind of final resolution is reached, PokerUpdate.com will continue to keep you updated.