Archive for the ‘Online Poker Site News’ Category

Merge Poker Network Taking Possible Heat

September 11th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Subject: Poker Reports

Online poker site, Subject: Poker, has cited through their own sources that the US Attorney in Maryland is planning on seizing money and other company belongings from a payment processor who was said to have worked with Merge Gaming Network. Subject: Poker’s report is not clear and it does not give specifics as far as what processor(s) are being targeted and whether or not the government will be handing out indictments. Also not stated is whether or not domain names will be seized.

When Black Friday originally dawned on the American poker industry Merge was one of the few networks able to avoid catching any heat. And as bewildering as it was that they were still able to operate, Merge and its affiliates kept running. Finally, in an attempt to cooperate with the American government even further Merge stopped accepting new US-based sign-ups, but continued letting players who were already signed up continue playing.

This is a little of what the article on Subject: Poker looked like:

“ If the DOJ does follow through on its reported plan on roughly the same timeline, it is unlikely that customers would be able to withdraw before seizures occur because withdrawals on Merge currently take over a month to reach customers. Indeed, since payment processors are reportedly being targeted, a withdrawal could potentially move a player’s money into the reach of the DoJ.

If Merge and its payment processors begin to move funds in an attempt to avoid potential DOJ action,” Subject: Poker continues, “this could lead to further processing delays and possibly even bounced checks. Again, because of the slow withdrawals on the Merge Network, it is unlikely that players withdrawing now would be able to avoid such problems; they may instead simply be subject to delays and possible failed transactions.”

The biggest question is whether Merge keeps the money set aside for player funds seperate from their business funds or not. That is what killed Full Tilt a few months back, they did not seperate the two. PokerStars, on the other hand, did seperate these two accounts which is why they were able to pay players back so quickly. They paid back a total of $150 million to players to date.

PokerStars Bank Account Freed

September 9th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Department of Justice Releases Account

For the first time in a long time PokerStars is getting a bit of good news this week. A long while after Black Friday the US Department of Justice is releasing one of the bank accounts that were seized. There is a requirement however, and that is that the account must always have a balance of at least $5.5 million. The number of $5.5 million is what the government decided was the amount from US players. At this point there has been no word of exactly how much money was originally in the account but at this point PokerStars is happy just to have one of their accounts back.

This move from the DOJ allows the prominent poker room to recover anything held in their account in a Luxembourg bank in the name of Sphene International, a former payment processor for PokerStars. SI still has many other accounts still frozen and under government scrutiny.

The official statement went like this:

“WHEREAS, the Government and PokerStars have reached an agreement pursuant to which PokerStars consents to the restraint of $5.5 million in the Account for the pendency of the above captioned case, and the Government agrees that it does not object to PokerStars’ use of the remaining funds in that account.”

We will see if this is the beginning of a string of actions from the Department of Justice and it is probably good for PokerStars that they have been compliant during the entirety of this investigation. That is going to help them in the long run.

Indiana Targeting Poker Operations

September 8th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Indiana Gaming Commission

Black Friday took much away from a large amount of undeserving people. And now that most players can no longer enjoy the game they love in front of the computer they are beginning to turn to small games with friends in the comfort of their home. These games go on everywhere all over the United States and the world and are, for the most part, harmless both in the eyes of their patrons and law enforcement. The Indiana Gaming Commission advocates for these small games because the gaming commission is obviously in support of these games, but there are numerous offenders that are taking these small home games and letting them snowball out of control. These people are who the IGC is targeting.

The IGC uses a special task force called the Gaming Control Division to seek out and destroy large illegal gambling operations. This enforcement team was established in 2007 and has had a fairly succesful track record to date. The 40 arrests that the Control Division has made since 2007 seems like a small mark, but finding these operations is not the easiest task to take on. They are especially seeking out electronic machines such as slot machines and as of last January they had seized over 5000 of these electronic games.

The IGC does does not anticipate these home games escalating into a problem, but they also state that the point when you cross over the threshold and begin breaking the law is clear. Poker games played in a private residence are perfectly legal up until the point that the house owner(s)/operator(s) collect rake from the games. This collecting of rake is what has put some people behind bars in the past few years. They simply ask that patrons be aware of their actions as to not land themselves into any trouble.

Lock Poker Issues in Malta

September 8th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Malta Gambling Commission

Lock Poker is in the news facing more possible trouble, but it is not from the US this time. The Merge Network site is under scrutiny because they have been displaying the seal of approval of the Malta Gambling Commission which it is not licensed for. The MGA has stated that they have never worked with Lock Poker and therefore the poker site should not be displaying their seal.

The main characteristic of a site that is able to display this specific seal is that the poker room must be licensed in Malta. According to a statement on their website they have never given a license to Lock Poker. The MGA of course goes on to urge players not to play on sites that are not officially licensed by them. This is truly interesting because other sites on the Merge Network like Black Chip Poker, Hero Poker, and Overbet Poker are licensed by the Malta Gaming Commission. Unfortunately for them in this situation, Lock Poker is licensed by Kahnawake Gaming Commission which is from Canada. But since sites on the same network as Lock are licensed in Malta, it is intriguing as to why the MGA is only targeting

Entrtaction Poker Network Limits Service

September 7th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Dropping Out of 5 Countries

It is important to remember, but at this point in time this story is more hear say than anything but the Entraction Poker Network is said to be ending service to Turkey, Israel, Canada, Norway, and Russia. Entraction has not released any official public statements yet but the reason is more than likely going to be something to do with legal trouble. In today’s online poker market networks are taking precautionary steps whenever they can as to not suffer the same blow as the big four sites on April 15th of this past year.

Post Black Friday is a completely different world for online poker players for a number of  reasons. A number of nations (besides the US) have been putting all sorts of restrictions on online poker for various reasons. Earlier in the summer we heard a story about PokerStars vacating the Australian market as to avoid more legal trouble. What makes this story a little more credible is the email that was posted on the 2+2 forums. In part the email said this:

“We regret to inform you that Entraction will be blocking access to the Poker Network for the following five countries as of September 29th: Canada, Israel, Norway, Russia and Turkey.”

At this point the general thought is that this end of service is going to solely apply to poker and not affect the casino or sportsbooks. According to pokerscout.com, the Entraction Network is ranked 11th worldwide as far as traffic is concerned. We will keep you up to date with the latest on this situation as news reaches us.

Week In Review

August 30th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

FreeGoldPoker.com

In recent months, the last thing most people would expect to hear is that a new online poker room is opening for US players. But Jamie Gold is now offering a free poker site that claims to be regularly giving away money and prizes. It seems to be a mix between a free poker site that offers no cash prizes and subscription sites which are for the most part illegal in the US. I am interested in seeing how this works when everything is up and running.

More Sites Leaving the US

Part of the Cake Poker Network, Poker Pros Network is the latest poker room to end its services to the United States. All players who have been signed up prior to August 31st will still be able to play as normal, but at the end of the month they will terminate all new signups from American based players. The reason for leaving was simple, their operations simply did not comply with current US laws and avoiding punishment for this long was good enough and they did not want to press their luck any further.

Full Tilt Still Frustrating Most

Instead of the good news we had all been expecting to hear spawn from the latest Full Tilt investors development, it seems like the same old story. Even though it is more than likely that a majority of former Full Tilt players have lost their money for good with no shot of getting it back, any positive news coming from Full Tilt would be nice. There is a possibility of new investors on the horizon, but we will take that news with a grain of salt.

Reacting to Phil Ivey’s Stand

June 9th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Picking Sides

About a week ago Phil Ivey announced that he would not be competing in the World Series of Poker this year and on top of that he is going to file a lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker. He claimed that he was doing these things to fight for the common poker player, most of which suffered serious financial and lifestyle changes on April 15th. Since his announcement there has been a lot of talk about Phil and it seems as if sides are starting to form.

Online the sides are forming, mostly in blogs. One big supporter and backer of Ivey’s announcements is Canadian Daniel Negreanu who is currently sponsored by PokerStars. After hearing about Ivey’s statements he told reporters, “I admire that he’s willing to give up something like the WSOP, that I know is so important to him, for what he thinks is principally right…He’s making a stand for his own personal reasons and the benefit of other people and I think it’s a good thing…I think in a lot of ways he’s standing up for himself and the issues he’s having to deal with. Him taking that stance is really strong.”

Daniel makes a good point, because the WSOP is a chance for people like Phil to rake in a lot of cash and he is completely skipping it this year. If he were just doing this for attention or for the wrong reasons, I really do not think that he would hurt himself financially. But there are plenty of people who think Ivey is just pulling a stunt and making these statements while have alterior motives.

There is one person who sticks out as being probably the most anti-Ivey on the web. His name is Andrew Robl and he wrote what he thinks about Ivey’s stance in his own blog. He said that Ivey’s statements were “self-serving” and that he was simply trying to take the heat off of himself, and what better way to do that than to place more blame on Full Tilt‘s shoulders. Robl bases most of his argument on the fact that Ivey actually owes Full Tilt money, and if he really were looking out for the common player he would have paid Full Tilt so that they would be able to pay players faster.

There are a lot of different opinions on Ivey floating around, and before forming your own I suggest reading around the internet and finding out all the details of the situation.

US Player Cash-Outs Taken Care of by PokerStars

May 1st, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Breaking News

Beginning this past Tuesday, PokerStars was proud to announce that US players would be able to finally receive their funds in their online accounts. When United States’ players log in to PokerStars there is a message that reads, “We are pleased to announce that the cash out option in the PokerStars Cashier is now available. Please log in to your PokerStars account and visit our Cashier to withdraw your real money account balance at your convenience.”

There is a further message that instructs players that there will be a delay in the processing of their transaction because of the high number of people who are also requesting cash outs. The ways to cash out include bank wire, paper check, and bank transfer. These are the same options for cash out that existed when US players were still playing on PokerStars. Although it has taken some time, in most people’s eyes, the wait was well worth it. Forums all over the web have contributors that are expressing their absolute joy at these new events.

Sufficient Funds

After “Black Friday” many people wondered if the site they played for would even have enough money to reimburse everyone all at once as would be the case. But PokerStars has assured their ex-customers that the funds are available. A press release that was issued by PokerStars this past Wednesday stated, “In agreement with the US Department of Justice, PokerStars has made arrangements with a US bank and today began the process of returning player funds to fromer customers in the US. The funds to cover these withdrawl requests are readily available.

PokerStars was also able to explain why they were so quick in being able to process player cash outs. In the same press release they said, “All player deposits for players outside the US are completely safe and secure. PokerStars has always held such funds in accounts that are segregated from company assets, in compliance with the strict licensing laws of the Isle of Man.”

Some Concern

Not everything was perfect unfortunately. Frequent Player Points, or FPPs were collected and saved by players sometimes for years at a time. And even though cash outs are now available, no word on what will be doen about FPPs has been spoken. Some say that PokerStars is now in talks with the Department of Justice and an answer is imminent. Just like everything else in this whole mess, patience is key to survival.

Online Players Discuss Their Uncertain Futures

April 26th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

The Struggle Continues

In the wake of “Black Friday” there are so many issues to discuss and so many sides of the story to hear that it is nearly impossible to cover it all. But what has not been covered enough is how the people who are directly effected by this, the players, are reacting and responding. Some seem to be unphased by the government’s actions while others are not taking it so lightly.

Positive Outlook

Some players, like Hac and Di Dang from Fairfax Station, Virginia are describing recent events as “a blessing in disguise.” The two brothers are highly skilled players at no-limit hold’em and pot limit Omaha and because of the government’s actions, their only source of income has been taken away. Di Dang has a surprisingly positive outlook on t he entire situation, he says, “I think we’re (him and his brother) ok. We’ve saved our money, but a lot of our friends haven’t…I actually wanted to retire from poker eventually, so the news didn’t hurt me as much as it hurt my friends. Poker is stressful. I could win or lose a million dollars or more every month…Poker was always a means to and end for us. It was never what we wanted to do forever.”

Online pro Faraz Jaka is taking advantage of the situation by focusing on his caster-board company. He said, “I can’t say I was totally surprised because there was always a grey area with poker after 2006…I started a business and got into real estate…Since I’ve already been spending alot of my time on axiscasterboarding.com, this is just an opportunity to focus more time on that, which I have wanted to do anyway.”

These two players being so optimistic about the situation is great to see, but it is no secret that there are plenty of other people out there that are still very angry about the entire fiasco. A good amount of former online players are simply moving their services to casinos and playing live games. Some even say that the change of pace between online and live playing will be new and exciting.

The majority of players are simply holding out and hoping that our government realizes the financial opportunity that lies within regulating poker and hope that things will be more figured out within the next year or so.

Full Tilt Poker Launch Private Tournament Feature

April 13th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Your Own Private Tournament

This feature is exactly what it sounds like, players can create tournaments and choose who is and is not allowed to participate. If you are in a rush and need to set a tournament up very quickly, you can choose from 1 of 7 tournament templates, these include No Limit Hold ‘Em, No Limit Hold ‘Em knockout, Pot Limit Omaha and a few others. If you are not in too much of a rush to get started, you are able to control basically every aspect of your tournament from the type of game being played to the buy-in amound and more. The catch to creating your own tournament is that as a Full Tilt member you will have had to collect 100 Full Tilt points across the span of your membership to be able to create a tournament.

Ring Tickets

A feature that has a lot of people buzzing is the ability to go to the Full Tilt Store and purchase tickets to cash games. These tickets are only good for buying into real money ring games. Each ticket will have a set value as well as maximum and minimum values coupled with an expiration date. There is also something called a FTP release value and that is the number of Full Tilt points a player must earn in order to add the ticket as real money in their Full Tilt account. Until you reach the point amount, the ticket is only able to be used to buy into cash games.

Account History

To find out detailed account info, players used to have to e-mail Full Tilt support, but now that function will be found under the “requests” menu. The types of resports you can have access to are financial transactions and the histories of your games. Your real money balance along with tickets, tournament dollars, and you can even set custom datre ranges. A common misconception is that game histories are the same as hand histories. Game histories simply record and tell about the summary of a session at a table including buy-ins, cash-outs, and ending balances. Once created, an e-mail will be sent to your account and your full report can be accessed by returning to the “Account History” page. All reports are presented in Microsoft Excel format.

Full Tilt has added some other minor changes to better their site and make things easier on players. The functionality of the site has increased alot because of these add-ons.