Saturday September 07,2013 : POKER TOUR LAPTOP TAMPERING LATEST (Update)
Four players now known to be at risk
The scandal surrounding hotel room invasions and laptop interference at the European Poker Tour Barcelona continued to excite widespread comment in poker player circles and media coverage Saturday as more details of the security problems at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona emerged.
Finnish poker pro Jens “Jeans” Kyllönen posted a detailed account of his experience on the twoplustwo forum here:
He accused the hotel security staff of less than five star attention, having been told that surveillance systems in the hotel were not working properly on his room floor, and opined that the hotel seemed more interested in sweeping the affair under the carpet than actively investigating.
He also revealed that other players had experienced similar room invasions and laptop tampering, and Poker News subsequently revealed that three other players: Ignat "0human0" Liviu, Aku Joentausta and Lauri Pesonen were now believed to have been victims, posing the question how many other players staying at the Hotel Arts may have been affected.
One of the victims, Ignat "0human0" Liviu, told PokerNews that at least some of the hotel's security cameras were working, because a suspect had been recorded entering his room, described as "a skinny guy around 1.7-1.8 metres tall" that Liviu did not recognise.
All the players report a similar modus operandi. Their room keys malfunctioned and had to be re-coded, and when they entered their rooms their laptops had gone missing. These later reappeared in the rooms or were handed to hotel staff but bore signs of tampering. In some cases the laptops disappeared twice, the second time being returned with evidence of tampering expunged.
This suggests that the motive of persons unknown may have been to single out known high stakes professionals and install software on their laptops which would put them at a disadvantage in subsequent tournament action.
EPT organiser Pokerstars is collaborating with the local police and the hotel in investigating the matter, and company spokesman Lee Jones has posted the following advice:
"If you're staying at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, please store your laptop in the room safe. If it won't fit in the room safe, buy a laptop cable lock (available at any computer store) and lock your laptop to something in the room. If you can't do that, take your laptop with you when you leave the room.
"Change the password on your laptop right now.
"We strongly encourage you to run virus/trojan detector software on your computer before using it for any online play.
"I know it's a hassle, but wiping the computer clean and reinstalling everything before you play online poker with it would not be a terrible idea.
"We're very sorry about this; everybody on our staff and at the Hotel Arts is taking the situation seriously. We have the Barcelona police involved too.
"We'll keep you updated as soon as we know more. For now, please be hyper-vigilant and hyper-careful about your laptop."