Partypoker and Americas Cardroom: A Tale of Two DDoS Attacks

PartyPoker and Americas Cardroom: A Tale of Two DDoS Attacks

Five months after hackers brought down Partypoker, the site suffered another series of DDoS attacks last week that disrupted its operation and caused it to cancel those tournaments already in progress. Similarly, Americas Cardroom also experienced a DDoS attack a few days earlier, but while Partypoker apologized for the inconvenience and sought to keep its customers constantly updated as to the problem, Americas Cardroom mostly added to its players’ frustrations by keeping them in the dark.

That was until it learned of Partypoker’s woes, however, at which point Americas Cardroom felt emboldened enough to take aim at its competitor’s temporarily halted operation, whilst dismissing the concerns of its own players, which it pointed out hadn’t actually lost any money. Needless to say, Americas Cardroom’s response during the incident did little to reassure the concerns of its customers, and it has since received a great deal of flack from them, as well as the industry as a whole.

Americas Cardroom’s Unregulated Site

Founded in 2001, Americas Cardroom is an unregulated site that mostly caters to US players. On Sunday, August 5th, the largest poker room on the Winning Poker Network subsequently saw the first day of its Mini Series of Online Poker (MOSS) schedule disrupted, and after tweeting that it was under a DDoS attack, the operator was forced to pause its tournaments, while numerous players found themselves ejected from the site, and unable to access or withdraw funds from their accounts.

Adding to their customers’ frustrations, Americas Cardroom indicated that all should be well by Monday, but instead the attacks continued throughout Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, it wasn’t until Thursday, August 9th that the site finally issued an update post via twitter, except by then it seemed more interested in mocking Partypoker’s troubles, stating:

“US regulated poker sites are not exempt from DDoS attacks. It would appear that partypoker is now dealing with its own DDoS headache, as it posted just about two hours ago on Twitter

The rather dismissive piece linked to in the tweet then pointed out that companies such as PokerStars, Partypoker, Twitter, Google and Spotify have all found themselves the targets of DDoS attacks in the past, and ended its half-hearted apology by commenting:

“Yes, it’s very inconvenient, but sometimes things happen that cause a business to temporarily stop operations – it has even happened to Disneyland and American Airlines.”

PartyPoker’s Regulated Operation

Partypoker also launched back in 2001, but it is a fully regulated site licensed to operate in the various markets where it is available. On Saturday, Aug 4th, Partypoker subsequently experienced the first of its DDoS attacks, but it wasn’t until Thursday Aug 9th that a second attack caused widespread disruption to its tournaments, and caused players to be logged out of their accounts.

While Partypoker players were naturally frustrated over the experience, Managing Director Tom Waters was quick to acknowledge the origin of the problem, and provide regularly updates to its customers on Twitter. He further assured players that their tournament money would be refunded within 24 hours, and that anyone still concerned should contact the customer service department for further information.

Partypoker also tweeted a link to its Partypoker blog for those looking for a more detailed explanation and apology, but unlike Americas Cardroom, the piece it provided took a much more transparent, accountable and understanding approach, stating:

“Our team worked hard to try to resolve the key issues. As poker players ourselves, we fully understand how frustrating it can be when an online poker room suffers technical issues, and we fully appreciate the considerable patience and understanding shown by our players in light of these difficulties.”

The vastly different approaches taken by Partypoker and Americas Cardroom clearly demonstrates the difference between playing on a regulated, licensed site which is obligated by law to be transparent and put their customers first, and an unregulated site like Americas Cardroom, whose players up until a few hours ago had not heard a single update in days.