iBUYPOWER Match-Fixing Scandal
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The iBUYPOWER Match-Fixing Scandal refers to the controversy surround the former Counter Strike:Global Offensive team, Team iBUYPOWER, who had deliberately lost a CEVO Professional League match versus NetCodeGuides.com. Later, it emerged that the players and managers had used the skins betting site CSGOLounge to place large bets against themselves. The resulting fallout lead to Valve permanently banning 7 individuals from its sponsored tournaments, which has sparked debate over the harshness of the bans, as well as numerous jokes about the players and the throw.
iBUYPOWER entered the competitive CSGO scene in late 2013, with a team consisting of the US players Skadoodle (Tyler Latham), DaZeD (Sam Marine), anger, adreN, and Canadian player AZK (Keven Lariviere). The roster changed multiple times over the course of 2014 – At the time of the NetCodeGuides.com match, their roster included swag (Braxton Pierce) and steel (Joshua Nissan) replacing adreN and anger. They enjoyed success in American tournaments, winning CEVO Season 4 and 5, as well as the ESEA Global Finals Season 15, and were tipped as the "North American Super-team". However, their performance at majors was disappointing, failing to make the playoffs in all 4 major events they attended. steel left the team in November 14, and the entire squad was disbanded at the start of 2015, with rumors that some of the squad were to form a new team under the organization Evil Geniuses.
Match versus NetCodeGuides.com
On the 21st of August 2014, iBUYPOWER faced off against NetCodeGuides.com in the Group Stage of the CEVO Professional league, on the map de_season. Despite being heavy favourite, iBP were beaten thoroughly 16-4. Immediately, spectators of the game noticed unusual behaviour from the iBP players. Accusations of a throw were made by some, but the event was largely ignored until January 2015. iBUYPOWER went on to win the entire tournament.
Richard Lewis' Article
On the 16th of January, esports journalist Richard Lewis published an article on the match in question on the Daily Dot website. In the article he revealed various pieces of leaked evidence showing that iBUYPOWER members had placed high value bets against themselves and deliberately lost the match. He and CSGOLounge employee Courtney Timpson were able to identify a large number of unusually high volume bets by Duc "cud" Pham and Derek "dboorN" Boorn, who were connected to members of iBP. The article was confirmed by Cloud9 player "ShahZaM" (Shahzeeb Khan) who had been advised by Netcodeguides.com founder Casey Foster that the match would be thrown and had also placed a bet against the team.
On January 26, 2015, Valve released a commentary on the incident, Integrity and Fair Play, which announced the indefinite bans of four of the iBP players in addition to the orchestrators of the fix. Valve was able to confirm details in the article by Lewis through inspection of inventories and transactions, noting that many high value items won during bets were transferred through to the banned individuals. In all, seven individuals were indefinitely banned from participation in any capacity in Valve-sponsored events. Valve clarified that the bans are permanent on January 5, 2016, in A Follow Up to Integrity and Fair Play. Numerous websites reported on the bans including Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer and various others. The original Daily Dot article was linked to the r/GlobalOffensive subreddit, where it received ~4000 upvotes.
The individuals permanently banned from Valve-sponsored events includes:
Duc "cud" Pham
Derek "dboorN" Boorn
Casey "caseyfoster" Foster
Sam "DaZeD" Marine
Braxton "swag" Pierce
Keven "AZK" Larivière
Joshua "steel" Nissan
Skadoodle was the lone iBP player to remain unbanned, as he had declined to share a profit in the throw.
On August 31, 2015, Richard Lewis published an open letter to Valve on Daily Dot, in which he condemned Valve for leaving the players in a state of uncertainty regarding the future of their careers due to the "indefinite" nature of the bans.
CSGO Community Reacts
Community reactions to the bans were mixed. While some praised Valve for working to stamp out match-fixing, others were critical of the harshness of the bans. One critisism was of Braxton "swag" Pierce's ban, with some claiming that his permanent ban was unjustified given his younger age and that he was likely pressured into the throw by his more experienced teammates. Youtube channel Nerdgazm CSGO published a video from CSGO caster Semmler's stream, where he discussed the iBP bans, saying that 'Steel and DaZeD should burn' for being the ringleaders, as well as 'ruining' swag's career, who was tipped as a future star player.
Other parts of the community were quick to make jokes about the ex-iBP squad. On July 31st 2015, youtube channel Vital CSGO published a video titled 'When I'm iBuyPower' – a spin-off of 'When I'm Bored. In just under 2 years, the video accumulated over 500,000 views and ~4,900 likes.
On July 24 2017, tournament organiser Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced that they would lift the indefinite bans of players banned for match-fixing, including the 4 players of the ex-iBUYPOWER lineup. The development allows the players to play in ESL/ESEA organised events. They were later also unbanned by other major tournament organisers such as Dreamhack and Faceit. They remain banned from Valve-sponsored tournaments and majors.
 Liquipedia – North American Match-Fixing Scandal
 HLTV – iBUYPOWER vs NetCodeGuides.com
 Liquipedia – CEVO Season 5: Professional
 The Daily Dot – New evidence points to match-fixing at highest level of American Counter-Strike / 1-16-2015
 Valve – Integrity and Fair Play 1-26-2015
 Valve – A Follow Up to Integrity and Fair Play 1-5-2016
 Kotaku – Valve Bans Match-Fixing Counter-Strike Players For Life 1-5-2016
 Rock Paper Shotgun – Valve Bans Players Caught In CS:GO Match-fixing 1-27-2015
 PC Gamer – Valve bans seven CS:GO pro players from tournament play for match fixing 1-26-2015
 Reddit – New evidence points to match-fixing at highest level of American Counter Strike 16-1-2015
 The Daily Dot – An open letter to Valve on the iBUYPOWER bans 8-31-2015
 HLTV – Ex-iBUYPOWER unbanned from ESL tournaments 7-24-2017
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