Americas Cardroom, a US-facing poker site, cancelled its US$1 million GTD Million Dollar Sunday event and other tournaments amid a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that began on April 24. The DDoS attacks on Americas Cardroom had already forced the cancellation of the poker room’s tournaments.
How the Latest Series of DDoS Attacks Happened
Americas Cardroom announced on April 23 that its poker client would go offline for maintenance on Tuesday, April 24 from 7 a.m. ro 10 a.m. EST. At 9:30 a.m. on April 24, the poker site said on Twitter that the site was experiencing a minor Internet Service Provider (ISP) issue, which was at that time already being looked at by the site’s technical team.
Players began reporting problems with the poker site when they could not log in to their account after the 10 a.m. maintenance deadline. At 10:11 a.m. on Tuesday, Americas Cardroom tweeted that the online poker site was under a DDoS attack and announced that all running tournaments would be paused until further notice.
Since Tuesday, Americas Cardroom has been giving updates through Twitter about the site’s current status. The attack was mitigated briefly on April 28, but a new DDoS attack continued to cripple the poker site. On April 29, Americas Cardroom announced its cancellation of the US$1 million GTD Million Dollar Sunday tournament and refunded players based on the poker brand’s terms and conditions.
Who or What Caused the DDoS Attacks?
Americas Cardroom and WPN are no strangers to DDoS attacks, with the first DDoS incident dating back to 2014. DDoS attack is frequently used as a method for cyber terrorists to extort money from online companies. In previous attacks, cyber criminals demanded Bitcoin payment from the said online poker room.
Nagy said in an online video that the company would not pay any ransom set by terrorists. His announcement likely had a positive effect as the number of DDoS attacks went down after the video was posted. But both Americas Cardroom and WPN continue to be the target of cyber criminals.
With extortion as the least likely motive of the DDoS attacks, there were suspicions before that rival poker brands were behind the cyber terrorism. In fact, Nagy hosted a live stream on Twitch.TV in September 2017 in which he said that the source of the attacks was another poker company. But the CEO could not present any evidence to back his allegations.
There are no clear indications what the source of the DDoS attacks is. But if extortion is taken out of the equation, the ones that are likely to benefit from Americas Cardroom’s going offline are competing poker sites.
Current Status of Americas Cardroom
The month of April has already been rough for the poker brand when Americas Cardroom promoted on Twitter a satellite tournament that promises to give away 50 GTD packages worth US$12,500 for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2018’s main event. WSOP responded to the tweet that, clearing that WSOP is not affiliated with the online poker room. Americas Cardroom clarified to the players that the US$12,500 package prize of the tournament would be used for the US$10,000 buy-in of WSOP live main event and for travel expenses as the site had done in the previous years.
As of this writing, Americas Cardroom is still under attack as developers continue to look for an effective mitigation solution. With technicians still working on bringing the online poker room back online, the site continues to disassociate itself with WSOP in its current tweet which said that there are other live poker tournament series. As seen in the response to Americas Cardroom’s latest tweet, online poker enthusiasts are eager to play on the poker site soon, but their patience is wearing thin.