Valve bans then unbans Counter-Strike skin trader with a $1.5 million inventory and the highest Steam level in the world

A Counter-Strike chicken with guns.
(Image credit: Valve)

Update: 02/10/2023: Subsequent to publication, the ban on St4ck's account has been lifted. 

Valve has banned a prominent and somewhat controversial Counter-Strike skin trader, St4ck, whose account boasts one of the most high-value inventories you'll ever see: by some estimates it is the third most-valuable CS skin haul out there. Pricing stuff in CS is always a bit of a guessing game, because when we're talking about rare items you're relying on middlemen and third party vendors for valuations, but PriceEmpire values St4ck's inventory at $1.45 million and lists items including a Souvenir Factory New AWP Dragon Lore ($400K), five Katowice 2014 foil stickers ($90K apiece), and a metric ton of guns and knives that go for between $5K to $40K. 

Don't your heart break? The reason for the ban is unclear, with some saying it's an automated ban triggered by the user saying something nasty in a Steam comment, but there's no evidence of this. Others have speculated that it may relate to St4ck's reputation as an alleged scammer, and you don't have to go too far back to find a multitude of videos about how this user apparently ripped some people off for what, in the context of their account's inventory, are relatively piffling amounts like $30K. St4ck's also been accused of scamming players for skins, and refusing to pay for goods received.

St4ck is a divisive figure at the best of times. Their reputation was built through giveaways, and their incredible Steam level of 5001 obviously brought attention of its own. St4ck had in recent years been a little quieter though, ironically enough, announced their return at the start of the year with a post titled "2023 is the year of comeback".

The account has been hit with a community ban rather than a VAC ban, which puts that expensive inventory in limbo. Community bans can be issued for anything from abusive chat to illegal activities (such as, er, selling CS skins for real money). St4ck's account can still be viewed on Steam, and there is of course every chance that the ban will eventually either lapse or be removed (reader, it was: see update at the top of the article).

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."