The $12.5 million guaranteed The Venom ended last week, making it the largest tournament in WPN history with a $2,650 buy-in that attracted 5,045 entries.

The winner was the famous regular Dominik Nietzsche.

“Got to win the venom for 1.8 mil and made a few of my close friends and myself a pile of money.” he wrote on Twitter in his characteristic laconic manner. "Biggest win of my life by far. Damn".

Also making the final table were Chris Moneymaker (6th) and last World Series MVP Ian Matakis (9th).

However, the tournament was remembered not for the impressive prize money and the stellar finale, but for the wave of bans that began on the second day right in the midst of the action.

“Second largest stack in day 2 of the Venom is a bot,” said the author of the MTT Database Review channel when the tournament was paused. “Bot that I reported to ACR over a month ago. Including directly to Head of Security and to @WPN_CEO. Bot that I reported together with another 50 MTT bots, out of which majority is still active".

“Wait a second...
I lost to this account on last hand of the day,” Beriuzy said in alarm. "How are you sure it's a bot?"

– "Yes, 100% certain".

In the comments to the MTT Database Review tweet , the official ACR account was quickly tagged:

At the Winning Poker Network, the integrity and fairness of our gaming platform are of paramount importance. (See official statement)

In line with our security protocols and following a review of suspicious playing patterns, we have suspended the account of the player under the username “Withia,” who currently holds the second position in chips during the ongoing multi-day tournament, The Venom $12.5 Million GTD Tourney.

This action has been taken due to potential violations of our terms and conditions. As part of our standard operating procedure, gameplay for this player has been suspended pending further investigation.

Should this player cash in the $12.5 Million Tournament while being blinded out, we will adhere strictly to our terms and conditions, including laddering payouts accordingly. As always, we continue to actively monitor the play on our network and are committed to maintaining a fair and secure gaming environment for all our players.

Beriuzy had more to say:


This is the hand worth around 30k USD that i lost to "withia".

You just BANNED this account while the tournament is running for being a bot but you do not compensate any affected players?

Just 6 million chips taken out of play & that's it?

Nah this is fucking stupid"

Beriusy ended up in 303rd place, with Withia still in the game with a stack of 50 blinds:

"Still managed a little run for a cash but our banned boy still outperforms us after sitting out all day.

Seems fair😂

Congrats ACR on acting like you did something but in reality did fuck all except expose your own incompetence.

I assume his ~10k cash will be kept by you."

The ACR security service did not limit itself to just one account and continued to eliminate bots when the second day of the tournament was in full swing.

“RIP bot from Russia and its stack of 32 starters,” wrote MTT Database Review.

In total, he discovered four bots that made money in the sit out:

Recap of bots banned mid-Venom:

Withia – 23 starting stacks
Verucasalt5 – 10 starting stacks
MReGoR – 32 starting stacks
acquiton – 27 starting stacks

Thats $230k worth of buy-ins (ignoring rake).

Now if I hopefully understand this correctly, this money is already being redistributed automatically just through the fact that the bots could not realize their equity and were forced to sit out while their money contribute to the prize pool. And the mincashes they did make should be taken from them and everyone placing under them should automatically ladder up (can anyone busting 1-4 places from a payjump confirm if it already happened?).

This is infinitely better situation than if the bots completed the tournament and were allowed to withdraw their potentially massive winnings. However it is still a very random distribution of equity.

Awesome if you get a sitting out bot on your left, useless if that bot busted you in day 1. Interested to see how @ACR_POKER handles this. Hoping they will be generous. It was the flagship tournament after all.

And it is not just the 4 bots in Venom, but it looks like around further 50 MTT bots (usually playing $5-$215 stakes) which I reported are banned now. MTT streets look pretty clean today.

We are not done yet. Need to see more transparent refunds now and make sure there are better security processes put in place to eliminate bots for good. But it is a huge progress.

A few hours before the final table, one Twitter user asked Chris Moneymaker if he would like to comment on the situation.

The ACR Ambassador, who made it to the final day with the sixth stack, responded with his characteristic humor :

“hope they find a few more tonight.”

After criticism for taking such a frivolous approach to an acute problem, Chris changed his tone:

"Can not answer a question I do not know answer too. Myself and other team pros do care and are constantly pushing for more action and clarity"

A 2+2 post at the start of 2024 alleges bots are being used on ACR Poker and have racked up nearly $10,000,000 in profits.


Bots on ACR were the main topic of Matt Berkey's podcast last week.

There he told who is hiding under the nickname MTT Database Review:

– There is a group on Discord for high-stakes regs, and there are also representatives of the main rooms in it. This guy is one of its main participants; he addressed WPN representatives more than a month ago: “Here is a list of bots, you should take a closer look at them.” He even specifically warned that Venom would obviously be a tasty morsel for all bots, and the security service should prepare in advance.