PokerStars faces controversy over Twitch poker streamer suspension
Online poker network operator PokerStars has come under fire following its suspension of Twitch streamer and poker player Felipe Carmanhani. Carmanhani was caught using GTO Wizard, a training system that shows you how to play against a perfect opponent, during a session on PokerStars.
Carmanhani was playing in a Bounty Tournament at the time, and it is against PokerStars’ rules to use cheating software while in such a competition. It is also against Twitch’s terms and conditions to cheat while streaming. Punishments include a complete account ban, but currently, Carmanhani’s Twitch account is still active. GTO Wizard has banned the Twitch streamer, according to another prominent online poker streamer, Mark Rubbathan, also known as Weasel.
After being alerted to this by one of Carmanhani’s viewers, PokerStars issued him with a two-week ban. However, many fans and prominent figures in the online poker world took issue with the lightness of the punishment.
Following the announcement, many fans complained on platforms like X to share their complaints, including Twitch streamer Rubbathan. The PokerStars Director of Online Poker Experience, Chris Straghalis, issued a statement in relation to the ban after conducting a personal review of the case.
Straghalis noted, “Going forward we will conduct a review of our internal process to ensure this does not happen again. Browsing of pre-flop charts and/or using RTA is strictly prohibited and strong action is indeed warranted. Our sincere apologies for the initial review which was not adequate for the infraction in question and did not meet our high standard.”
However, the controversy continued, with more people joining the debate following Straghalis’ comments. For example, World Series of Poker Online Main Event champion Bert Stevens issued a statement saying, “What [do you] want them to do? Admit that their actual security is completely made up? They have to treat this as a one off, not a guy being so comfortable cheating that he does it on stream.”