Software glitches in New Jersey’s highly regulated online gambling industry are far from unheard of, but one of them has been generating some buzz this week.
Poker player Jon Borenstein was in New Jersey over the weekend and was playing on the WSOP’s online platform. He was down to just a handful of tables left in a tournament when he played a hand that appears to have short-changed him chips. He posted a video of the incident to Twitter.
— Jon Borenstein (@JBoishere) July 22, 2019
The video garnered a slew of reactions from the poker community, who also were able to spot what was wrong with the hand. The WSOP responded via its account.
“This matter is being investigated thoroughly,” the WSOP said in a tweet. “A reminder to all players, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to resolve any issues you have. We are not allowed to resolve any player issues via Twitter.”
According to the video, Borenstein was in the big blind and had 175,252 in chips after his 500-chip ante.
After his big blind of 4k was out, he had 171,252 in his stack. So far, so good.
It was folded around to a player in the hijack position, who moved all in for 4,346, slightly more than the big blind.
Current pot size: 14,846.
The player in the small blind, who already had 2k in the middle, raised to 16k.
Current pot size: 28,846. So far, so good.
Borenstein four-bet to 44,302.
Pot size: 69,148. So far, so good.
The small blind folded their cards, and before the flop was dealt, it looks like the player was moved to a different table, which is not unusual.
At this point, there was a side pot. According to the video, the main pot (the portion of the pot up for grabs between Borenstein and the all-in player) was 17,538. That was the correct main pot.
The side pot, or the amount of chips that Borenstein was guaranteed to receive back after the small blind had folded after raising to 16k, was 51,610. That was the correct side pot.
Borenstein tabled A-9 and was up against the all-in player’s K-3. At this moment, Borenstein correctly had 130,950 in his stack. This is when it looks like the hand glitched.
Borenstein lost with his A-9, and received 39,956 back, returning his stack to 170,906, which was incorrect. The all-in player received 29,192, which also wasn’t correct.
It appears that the all-in player, who won with K-3, raked in an additional 11,654, which should have gone to Borenstein.
The 11,654 is the amount that is the difference between the small blind’s 16k raise and the all-in player’s all-in bet of 4,346.
Borenstein should have ended the hand with more than 180k.
Where’s the bug?
The hand video posted was a replay, and not the hand as it happened live.
When contacted by NJ Online Gambling, Borenstein said that the glitch resulted in him having the incorrect amount of chips entering the next hand. In other words, the glitch appears to have impacted the integrity of the tournament. The glitch wasn’t in the replay of the hand.
Borenstein said that the chip counts shown at the end of the replay reflect what they had when they started the following hand.
He ended up finishing in sixth place.
Would Borenstein have placed higher with the extra chips in his stack, and therefore won more prize money? It’s impossible to know. WSOP.com is in a tricky spot here, as it’s difficult to assign a dollar amount to his missing tournament chips.
The fact that the online poker site says it’s investigating the matter is encouraging, though. In a regulated online gaming environment, the host site is held accountable when a player feels wronged, in a way that unregulated offshore sites are not.