A third-place match in a Dota 2 tournament between Peruvian teams Elite Wolves and Infamous has come under suspicion of match-fixing.
Last night’s match in the Pro Dota 2 Cup resulted in a 2-0 win for the underdogs, Infamous, netting them a $500 prize against an Elite Wolves team featuring one of South America’s most famous players, Freddy “SmAsh” Sina.
Infamous, formed by ex-members of Team Unknown after their unsuccessful run at last year’s Valve Major in Frankfurt, allegedly offered info about a potential throw to gamblers in exchange for a percentage cut. The team’s manager has since admitted captain Jesus “Ztok” Carhuaricra offered a friend betting advice, but denied anyone was involved in match-fixing.
Shortly before the game began, odds on two in-game items at betting sites VPGame and Dota2Top shifted radically to favor Infamous, by as much as 0.5 on VPGame. This swing pitted Infamous as the favorites, compared to the odds offered on Dota2Lounge—and despite Elite Wolves being firm favorites for days prior.
After the game’s conclusion, a screenshot posted to the Elite Wolves Facebook page appeared to show Infamous captain Jesus “Ztok” Carhuaricra offering a friend a safe bet if he had expensive items.
“Do you wanna make money?” Carhuaricra’s messages said, in his native Spanish. “But I get a percentage, a good percentage. Come on, it’s highly secured.”
The post was quickly removed by page admins.
Several accounts placed maximum bets on VPGame and Dota2Top before the match began, which could account for why swings were seen in their odds but not on other sites. One account made more than $5,000 from placing multiple bets, as much as the total prize pool for the Pro Dota 2 Cup. The same account made similar max-value bets on Saturday’s Elite Wolves match against Enemy, again favoring the underdog and again seeing a massive return on investment. PinnacleSports, another operator offering bets on last night’s third-place match, has since voided all lines on the series.
In an attempt to clear the matter, Pro Dota 2 Cup organizer Sam Manuelson invited Carhuaricra and managers of both teams to discuss the situation last night, as soon as he was made aware of the allegations.
According to Manuelson, Carhuaricra left almost as soon as the call began. His sole contribution to the meeting was the word “Huskarboy” before leaving Infamous’ co-manager to field Manuelson’s questions. Co-manager, Vitoria “Guashineen” Otero, confirmed that Carhuaricra had asked his friend to bet on them. She explained that Infamous had practiced playing with a Huskar and that they were confident Elite Wolves could not counter it, so he asked to place the bet.
Upon checking all players’ match histories, however, Manuelson found no evidence that the team had played on public matches with a Huskar pick. After asking to see screenshots of the players’ private match lobby history, which should show if they had played scrims with the hero, Otero refused to send such files on the grounds that “they did nothing and they don’t need to prove anything”.
Otero told the Daily Dot she joined the conversation because manager Joe “Ccasani” Plasencia had been busy at the time of the call. “The guys told me ‘we practiced Huskar and we felt confident about using it again’,” Otero said. “So, I understand by that that they practiced it recently, but Huskar is their old strat.”
Plasencia confirmed the pick was their long-standing ace in the hole, and that they wouldn’t have practiced it recently. Otero’s Brazilian nationality meant she was fluent in Portuguese and English but not Spanish, resulting in some confusion.
“The admin came blaming us of something, I didn’t know if it was real and I got defensive arguing that they practiced,” Otero said. “I just understood it wrong and was taken by the heat of the moment.”
Plasencia said that Carhuaricra had made the comments to his friend about asking for a percentage of the bet in jest, and that it was “not with the intention of cheating.”
“The communities here are very toxic and are always waiting for some scandal,” Plasencia said. “It’s very difficult to be a pro player in Peru and Latam, we do not have sponsors who pay us money, but we have the basics and we can play Dota with that. We do not need to 322,” he said, referring to Alexei “Solo” Berezin’s lifetime ban from StarLadder tournaments for betting against his own team and throwing in an attempt to win $322.
The manager has spoken to Manuelson who has not changed his decision to withhold the $500 winnings from Infamous until shown evidence of their Huskar practice games, and to deny both teams an invite to the next season of the Dota 2 Pro Cup. Plasencia maintains that he cannot provide evidence of recent games as the team has not scrimmed with the hero, despite it being their trump card.
This isn’t the first match-fixing controversy to hit the Dota world. Last year, Valve permanently banned the players of Team Redemption—just days before their appearance at The International qualifiers—for their part in a match-fixing scandal in 2014. Players Kok Yi “ddz” Liong and Fua Hsien “Lance” Wan were found to have asked their girlfriends to place two large bets on their matches in the Synergy League and were dismissed from the team. The entire team regrouped as Team Redemption but, despite the new moniker, was banned from Valve-sponsored events in March last year.