Buggin’ Out: Daniel Negreanu Defends GG Poker after WSOP Stoppage, Doubts Live Tourneys (in the US) Return in 2020

5 min read

As the face of GGPoker, Daniel Negreanu is the go-to guy for customer complaints on social media if something goes awry. When the relatively new online poker site crashed on Sunday — causing the postponement of two WSOP Online Bracelet Series events mid-tournament — he had to take the heat from dozens upon dozens of online poker players on tilt.

“People are steaming, rightfully so, when their software is crashing,” Negreanu told CardsChat News in an exclusive interview. “I do feel your pain. I don’t blame you for being pissed. If you want to choose to be pissed off at me, that’s okay.”

Negreanu wasn’t playing in Event #32 or #33 when the tournaments crashed. The six-time World Series of Poker champion is still in the US and competing in WSOP.com online bracelet tournaments for players in Nevada and New Jersey. So when two GGPoker events for players elsewhere in the world were halted in the middle of play, he was unaware of the problem that would cause a weeklong delay for these two events until July 26.

“Obviously, I’m not a tech guy,” Negreanu says. “I don’t know much about how to develop a server, how to maintain it. So, I have to trust in those that do. And I do know this: they’re working night and day to make sure this is a situation that’s rectified.”

Unsurprisingly, that didn’t stop social media hounds from attacking.

GGPoker Hit by DDoS Attack, Growing Pains

“[GGPoker] did everything they could leading up to it,” Negreanu says. “The first issue we had was a server overload, due to massive numbers — numbers we expected but even more so.”

But a second issue complicating matters, he explains, was a DDoS attack on Sunday.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic on a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic. When this occurs, the website ceases to function properly.

“[That’s] kind of outside our responsibility base,” Negreanu explained. “Having said that, we’ve tightened that up, expanded server space, so, knock on wood, everything going forward will be amazing. We did have Event #34 come off without a hitch, thankfully.”

DDoS attacks aren’t new to online poker. They’ve happened at some point to nearly every poker site, including PartyPoker and PokerStars.

“Internally (at GG Poker) they don’t take it lightly,” Negreanu says. “That’s why I have a lot of faith that they’re doing everything they can to make sure that it’s a stable environment for people to play.”

GGPoker launched in Asia in 2014. By 2017, the site expanded to Europe and Canada, but had never taken on anything in scope similar to hosting 54 WSOP events. In May, however, GGPoker did do something of a trial run by hosting a $100 million WSOP online circuit series, consisting of 18 ring events and 100 other tournaments.

Major Live Poker Tournaments Dead in 2020?

Negreanu also gave his thoughts on the future of tournament poker in the US as the nation struggles to contain COVID-19.

The World Series of Poker means a lot to the second-greatest live tournament player of all time. And though he’s hopeful the virus will abate by fall and the WSOP will host the 51st running of the event in Las Vegas, he says he won’t bet on that happening.

“I would say no, absolutely not,” he said when asked if he expects a major live poker tournament to run in the US again this year.

“But then again, Venetian is running 80-player tournaments,” he said, referring to the resort’s recent introduction of shootout-format events, “and people are trying to get it going again.”

WSOP Europe a Possibility

Negreanu argues that the progression of the coronavirus in the US will make it difficult for major poker events to run until a vaccine is available, which could take years. However, he also doesn’t believe live tournament poker is going away.

“It’s possible that the World Series of Poker Europe could happen at King’s Casino [in the Czech Republic],” Negreanu contends. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see that because they seem to have done a good job [containing COVID-19].”

The GGPoker ambassador is critical of those in the US who refuse to wear a face mask in public. He said wearing a mask has become politicized.

“People are resistant and militant about the idea of wearing a mask, and others say that you should,” Negreanu said. “Because of that, I think we’re going to continue to see spikes.”

Going to Mexico

Negreanu is heading to Mexico next month to compete in the GGPoker WSOP series. He chose the country south of the border instead of his home nation of Canada, which has banned American travel due to the COVID-19 problem in the US.

Thus far, the six-time bracelet winner his cashed in 10 of 21 events on WSOP.com, but he’s still looking to end his highly-publicized seven-year bracelet drought. Negreanu has six figures at stake in bracelet bets this year, so it would be highly profitable for him to take down one of the 85 WSOP Online Bracelet Series events this summer.

“I’m certainly feeling confident,” Negreanu said when asked if he’s feeling good about his bracelet bet.

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