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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Pokerstars bans Dustin “Neverwin” Woolf for multi-accounting

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In a case very different from the circumstances under which Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo was banned, Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf has been banned from Pokerstars for the same root issue - use of multiple accounts by one player. If you'll recall, Bonomo received a lifetime ban from Pokerstars, Party Poker and other online poker sites after it was discovered that he entered large field tournaments multiple times using different accounts. The public outcry against Bonomo's actions was loud and sustained, and his ban was universally heralded as something "good for the game."

Woolf's circumstances are very different, and have provoked an equally strong but opposite reaction on the popular forum Neverwinpoker.com. According to an email Woolf received from PokerStars "A review of your account shows that you have been systematically accessing the accounts of others in order to play at our site. We cannot allow the integrity of our games to be challenged by any player attempting to gain anonymity, for whatever reason." Woolf admitted to playing on the accounts of friends, and allowing friends to log on and play his account as well, but claims that this type of play was not against Pokerstars policies.

The accounts of other players who have shared accounts have also apparently been frozen, according to Mark "Newhizzle" Newhouse, who said on the Neverwin Poker forum that his account was also frozen. Other forum members that have logged on to their accounts at Woolf's home have also had their accounts frozen, although none of these players have been informed of a permanent ban such as the one Woolf has received.

From the text of an email from PokerStars to Woolf: "Please do not attempt to open any further accounts with PokerStars, as any such accounts will be closed and any monies therein may be deemed forfeit.

If we subsequently discover that you are still using other players' accounts after receipt of this notice, those accounts will also be subject to summary closure."

Multi-accounting is often used by high-stakes online players to hide their identity, as they seek more anonymity as they play. The sharing of accounts between friends has often been a standard practice in online play, and Woolf admits to playing this way in an email sent to Pokerstars. "I have lots of friends on [P]okerstars and we play at each other[']s houses all the time. Also[,] sometimes I will play with friends on their accounts when we are splitting action in the higher limits."

Pokerstars responds that this is indeed, a very different issue from the ZeeJustin debacle, but is nonetheless a violation of the site rules. "You are correct on one thing, this is not a "ZeeJustin" multi-tourney or a collusion issue, this is an issue based on plain and simple abuse of playing on other players' accounts when you had already been told this was not allowed by PokerStars' policies. Not to mention, if you add the fact of having your 'neverwin' account and yet having access to all these other accounts, this is clear multiple account abuse alone; maybe it was not multi-accounting (playing one more than one account at the same event), but definitely giving you the advantage of coming to our tables with a user ID other players would not recognize as you. This is NOT allowed, period."

There are items in the Pokerstars Terms of Service that would seem to correspond with this, namely items 9.2 & 9.3 of the TOS.

"9.2. The User agrees that he/she is solely responsible for all use of the Service under his/her Login Credentials and that he/she shall not disclose the Login Credentials to any person whatsoever.

9.3. The User is obliged to keep his/her Login Credentials secret and confidential at all times and to take all efforts to protect their secrecy and confidentiality. Any unauthorized use of the Login Credentials shall be the sole responsibility of the User and be deemed as his/her use. Any liability there from shall be that of the User."

Woolf's opinion on the matter is as follows - "I agree that they should enforce this rule, but I was never warned properly that I would be banned, if I am banned why isn't every other person that has done this banned as well. I at least deserve another chance just like everyone else, and if it happens again I would understand, but this just isn't fair how I was singled out in this particular situation."

If Woolf is to be prosecuted for his offenses, how many other big-name players on PokerStars are also guilty?

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