UPDATE: Stox Poker has now completely merged into CardRunners. CardRunners offers free memberships with play on Fill Tilt; get details here.

Following a couple of weeks of scandals involving founding member Nick Grudzien, online poker training site StoxPoker announced today that it will be shutting their doors.

The move, announced formally in the Stox Poker blogs, will effectively result in StoxPoker merging completely into Cardrunners. According to Stox, the process of merging Stox and Cardrunners accounts and the complete dissolution of the Stox site will be undertaken by May 1st 2010.

It’s been a tough few months for Stox. First, the site was hit with a mini-scandal involving instructor Jason Ho, who was the subject of a torrent of allegations regarding coaching and staking scams. Read about that on 2+2 here.

The death knell, however, came in the form of an admission by site co-founder Nick “stoxtrader” Grudzien that he had played on multiple accounts. Allegations against Grudzien first surfaced a couple of weeks ago on 2+2; he responded with one of the most baffling non-explanations in history before eventually admitting that he played on multiple accounts on both PokerStars and Full Tilt. Oddly, Grudzien continues to refuse to provide an explanation for his multi-accounting, referring only to a mystery motivation that he has decided not to make public. From his blog:

It is true that I had multiple accounts, though it is not true that I ever used them to gain an advantage or played them simultaneously. I had two accounts at both pokerstars and FTP for 4 years – stoxtrader at both sites was used to prep and produce poker training videos. I generally played lower stakes than my normal games on that account. I also played on 40putts at FTP and knockstiff at pokerstars – these were the only accounts I played my normal games on until January 2010. In January I decided that I needed to switch names. I cannot say why I made that decision, but it is the same reason why I have not been active in the 2+2 forums defending myself and it is something that is ongoing and I cannot make public.

That led to Grudzien’s resignation from Stoxpoker on March 24th, but Cardrunners apparently decided the damage had already been done. Cr co-founder Taylor Caby made a subsequent announcement on 2+2 distancing his company from Stox and previewing the dissolution of Stox Poker:

Last week, Nick agreed to resign from our company and is no longer associated with us as a manager or coach. While I don’t know what the resolution of the investigation(s) will be as to the alleged collusion and soft-playing, we denounce these behaviors by anyone, inside or outside of our company, in the strongest way possible. I have done everything I possibly can to get a copy of the the 40putts database, but have not yet received it. I urged Nick to make his database available to a few trusted people, both inside and outside of our company.

Finally, I concluded that the StoxPoker brand cannot be salvaged as part of our effort to improve our business. We’ll be adding many of the Stoxpoker coaches to the CardRunners roster, and we’ll honor all StoxPoker memberships at CardRunners. I’d like to say thanks to all of the Stoxpoker coaches for their efforts over the years, your contributions have been much appreciated, and I’m sorry about any guilt by association you may have felt because of recent events.

For more details, check out the video blog from one of the original Stox Poker instructors, Bryce Paradis:

Part 2:

One thing to take from both Bryce and Caby’s comments is that Grudzien continues to be obstinate in terms of releasing data that could help clear his name regarding allegations of collusion involving his accounts. Draw from that whatever conclusions you like.

Link to long, long thread on 2+2 detailing allegations (ongoing).

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