12/29/09 – The Internet's second largest online poker site, Full Tilt Poker.com successfully overcame the techies' worst nightmare on Sunday – a server failure whilst tournaments on the busy site were going full blast.
The crash came during one of Full Tilt's heaviest traffic timeframes, when thousands of players around the planet were in action on its famous Sunday tournaments, and the stoppage impacted everyone playing on the site around 19h45 Eastern time.
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Technical staff wrestled with the problem for several hours before it was sorted out, whilst the international player community bemoaned the temporary loss of the site and the disruption to their gambling activities.
"Unscheduled Maintenance In Progress: We recently experienced a network outage. We expect to be operational shortly," said one of several messages posted by site management to keep players informed. But after over two hours the site had to cancel all running tournaments.
It was not until 23h15 that Full Tilt's support unit emailed players explaining that when a tournament is cancelled before it reaches the money, according to tournament rule 31.2 (http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/tourRules.php):
1) All players still in the tournament at the time of the cancellation will be refunded their tournament buy-in and tournament fee. Players will have their buy-ins refunded in the tournament prize pool currency.
2) In addition, the remaining prize pool will be divided and distributed according to chip count.
For tournaments that award non-monetary prizes, such as live tournament seat packages, Full Tilt Poker assigns a monetary value to the prize and distributes it in cash to the remaining players based on their chip counts. In ring games, the hand being played at the time of the stoppage was considered dead and all bets were returned at the point of the crash.
The crash is likely to have been expensive for Full Tilt, but operations are now back up and running normally.