Archive for the ‘Ultimate Bet’ Category

Week In Review

June 27th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Pro-Poker Bills

In the last week we saw the development and introduction of a pro-poker bill from Representative Joe Barton from Texas. Many are saying that his bill, which would leave up to each and every state whether to legalize online poker, is the best poker bill to come out so far. It is receiving support from all different spectrums and if any bill was going to give the average player some hope, this one is it.

It is about time we start seeing these kind of bills because poker has reached a critical point in America. Seemingly everyone is against poker, or at least that’s how the law looks at it, but in reality we find that a lot of members of our government are completely behind the idea of legalized and regulated poker. It makes so much sense in the grand scheme of things. For one, it makes the general population happy because as we can clearly see, most people tend to take the side of online poker. The government will see large benefits because of the revenue that they could pull in thanks to taxes on the games. And another reason these bills make so much sense is because the game of poker has been working on the internet for some time and this whole time it is running unregulated, and an unregulated market is a scary market.

WSOP Still Running Strong

The World Series of Poker, which has been going on for almost a month now, is seeing some of the best ratings in its history. Coming into the tournament almost everyone would have bet money that this year’s attendance would be greatly affected by the events of “Black Friday.” But showing the same fortitude that it showed last year when everyone thought attendance would be low because of the economic status we found ourselves in, the WSOP is running as strong as it ever has.

Attendances are as high as they ever have been and in most cases, this year’s tournaments are breaking attendance records that were set last year. Event organizers are glad to see that yet again poker proves to be able to stand up to almost any type of hardship. Even if that hardship is the closing down of the 4 biggest sites around.

No Cash Out News

As is customary, we check in with the cash out situation as it stands currently. Unfortunately the news is the same as it has been for a while now. PokerStars is the only site of the big four that have been returning player funds. UB, Absolute, and Full Tilt all remain at the starting gate as far as refunds go. There has been very little in the way of press releases and public statements from who I am coining to be the “Unreliable three.” It is a much different story than the final weeks of April and May when those sites were sending out emails of assurance and all that jazz. The truth of the matter is that a majority of the players that lost money due to these sites are coming to grips with the fact that they will probably never see any of that money ever again.

No Cash Out News

June 25th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

PokerStars Still Working Alone

It has been over 2 months since Black Friday now and the news remains the same. PokerStars is the only site out of the big 4 that has begun making payments to their former players. Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker still assure their ex-players that paying them back is their first priority, but with the lack of any tangible results, it is becoming harder to believe that their priorities are how they say they are.

On Black Friday a very large number of people were not only put out of work, but they were also banned from having access to the money that they worked incredibly hard to earn. We have talked about how this is completely unfair numerous times, but having to wait over 2 months for what is rightfully yours is even more outrageous. It would even be a bit better if PokerStars had not started returning money because then it would not seem like the other 3 sites were doing nothing. It is confusing to most, myself included, as to why one site was able to resolve their money situation in a little over a week, and the other three have seemingly made no progress in a little over 8 weeks.

When Will It End?

The question that still lingers on the top of everyone’s minds is, when will it end? When will the players receive their money or at least hear a final completed solution?

Since mid April a majority of the online poker community has been on an emotional roller coaster. Not only are they not receiving their money, but they are also no really receiving any real information as to what has happened to their money. Full Tilt, Absolute, and UB should really keep players informed and provide them with all the relevant info they can. As always we hope to hear a good ending to a story that has been nothing but frustrating for so many.

 

Less Promotions

June 6th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Recently Absent

Promotions that are not sign up bonuses have been few and far between lately. Granted the sites that usually offered the best promotions most frequently have not been allowed to offer US players their services for almost two months now. PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute, and Ultimate Bet were the 4 biggest names in US online poker, and since they were ceased and shut down in the US, the poker industry has suffered, to say the least. But with all of the other sites, it is confusing to a lot of people as to why they have not been offering nice promotions for players who have been with them for a while.

On almost every site that still accepts US players there are nice sign up bonuses. For instance, Lock Poker announced that at the beginning of the month of June they would be ending all rakeback, but as an incentive to sign up before June arrived they said that if you signed up before the deadline, rakeback for those players would continue as normal. This deal made players flock to the site before it was too late. Since “Black friday” sign-up bonuses have been the big deal because so many players had to sign up on new sites, but the regular running promotions have been few and far in between.

Hurting Industry

I think another contributing factor to the recent downfall of promotions is the fact that most every site that is still accepting US players is more worried abou not getting indicted than they are about giving players promotions. In these turbulent times one wrong step can put a poker site out of business. And because the industry is so hotly hawked over, poker sites have less time to create and market nice bonuses.

As things begin to settle down, if things settle down, I would expect to see things go back to normal. When the Government turns down the heat, it will give poker sites the ability to make some great promotions. The main problem in that lies within knowing when this whole ordeal and fall out from “Black Friday” will end. Until every last player is refunded you can expect this to be a top news story indefinitely.

 

Absolute Still Open for US Player Real Money Play

May 26th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Glitch In the System

Absolute and Ultimate Bet, sister sites, were 2 of the 4 main poker sites that were seized by the US Department of Justice on April 15th. After the seizure it was clearly realized that none of the 4 sites would be able to accept US players, but ever since that day US players have been playing for real money on the site.

Pokerscout reported and confirmed these rumors. In fact, their report got so specific that it was able to tell that players from cities like Bakersfield, Cincinnati, Chicago, Chicago, Minnetonka, and Colorado Springs were able to make real money bets ever since “Black Friday.” These real money bets being made by US players is openly defying the agreement that Absolute made with the government on May 4th. In fact it is contrary to the statement they made that said, “Absolute Poker agrees that for the duration of the agreement, it will not allow for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in the United States to engage in playing poker for ‘real money’ or any other thing of value.”

What Happens Next?

Pokerscout reports that, “Cereus would not only be in breach of contract, but would also potentially face fraud and other charges for signing a contract it had no intentions of following.”

But what is missed by most people is that the agreement that was signed on May 4th involved a 45 day grace period, which means that Absolute is not breaking any rules as of yet. They are, strictly speaking, not breaking any rules and will not be punished for US players’ activities on the site.

What is actually probably happening is that Absolute is holding out until the last second until they kick US players off. With rumors of bankruptcy circulating around online forums and other places, Absolute Poker and the Cereus Network are going to take all of the business they can get.

Week In Review

May 22nd, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

DC Rally

This upcoming Tuesday, the Poker Players Alliance will be holding a rally outside of the US Capitol building. The rally is being held to promote the legalization and regulation of online poker at a federal level. This is directly related to the events of “Black Friday.” The organizers encourage you to set up your own meetings with government officials and offer directions on how to schedule here.

Organizers hope to see a large turn out and are especially hopeful that some members of Congress, who are sympathetic to the cause, will make appearances throughout the day.

Merge Network Leaves New York, Ends Rakeback

In order to better “follow the rules” the Merge Gaming Network has announced that it will no longer be accepting players from New York state. The Merge Network is home to many poker sites, most notably Carbon Poker and Lock Poker. New York is one of the few states that has laws against the play of online poker and Merge is hoping that this move will improve their standing with the government and hopefully help them avoid any future trouble.

In other news regarding Merge, they will be ending rakeback starting June 1st. This is being done alongside a lot of other changes that their sites will be going through. If you are already signed up and playing, you will lock in those rakeback rates (which are some of the best around), but if you sign up on or after the 1st of June you will not. This fact means that the best time to sign up and play on the Merge Network is right now.

Looking Forward

As always, when one week ends, another begins. And with the start of the new week brings a lot of mixed emotions amongst the poker community. As always we hope to hear more and more (hopefully positive) news about the refunding of players. Full Tilt, UB, and Absolute still remain on the starting block while PokerStars has been hard at work for some time now. The break through has to be right around the corner.

With the revamp of many sites, keep your eyes peeled for new promotions and other deals. Recently, Titan Poker, released a promotion that gives players the opportunity to play in the 2011 WSOP. For full promotion details and other info, simply visit Titan Poker.

Questioning WSOP Attendance

May 18th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Diminishing Numbers

Although many people are predicting completely different numbers in this year’s World Series of Poker as opposed to last year, organizers of the tournament seem to be remaining calm.

The main concern amongst players and speculators are that because of frozen money in the player’s accounts online, a lot of folks simply will not be able to afford the World Series buy-in. PokerStars is trying to do their part as they continue to return funds to players, but some wonder if they are moving along fast enough. Apart from PokerStars, the situation just becomes increasingly sketchy.

A big fear that has been circulating as rumor for some time now is that UB and Absolute may file for bankruptcy. If that happens, players can essentially kiss all of their money goodbye. UB and Absolute have denied these rumors, but with a quick assessment of the situation it is easy to see why these rumors have started.

The latest rumor that is going around is that Full Tilt Poker is offering a partial sale of their company for $200 million. This would possibly help the refund of player funds, but like many other stories recently, this is nothing more than a rumor.

Poker pro Tom Dwan, using his Twitter, predicted that the number of players in the event will diminish significantly. Last year the World Series boasted a field of about 7300 players, Dwan predicts the number will only be about 2000 this year.

WSOP Officials Unconcerned

The positive outlook that is maintained by WSOP officials is clearly emulated in Executive Director Ty Stewart’s statements where he says, “This is the year where everyone sees evidence of just how big poker has become around the world. This is the year where people see and recognize what a juggernaut the modern World Series of Poker has become.”

The World Series begins on May 31st and will run for about 8 weeks, handing out 58 bracelets in the process. Tournament director Jack Effel believes that the 72,966 people that entered the tournament last year will be exceeded this year. Effel says they are, “planning for more, regardless of any outside factors.”

Tournament director’s opinions do not seem to match popular opinion, but I think we are all hoping that the directors are right.

Former UB and Absolute Head of Customer Service Arrested

May 17th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Apprehended in Costa Rica

After last week’s raid of his home and workplace, former head of customer service for UB and Absolute, Olman Rimola was arrested in Costa Rica. The raids, which were said to be completely seperate from “Black Friday”, were conducted by Costa Rican officials. Scott Tom was also a suspect and was also residing in Costa Rica. These raids spawned once authorities were tipped off and then found $3 million stashed inside Tom’s private jet.

What initially led police to even come near the jet was that it had an incident and had  almost crashed during takeoff. They then went on to discover the stockpile of cash, thus spawning the money laundering speculations.

A lot more is behind this story and hopefully in the coming days we will be able to find out more.

What apparently sparked interest in Rimola were e-mails from Olman to UB threatening to disclose information about UB and Absolute to the US government and law enforcement agencies. Like I said,  there is still a lot to this whole investigation that has yet to be revealed to the general public.

More Bad News

This is just adding insult to injury for UB and Absolute as they face increasing pressure to figure out what they are going to do about refunding players their money. It is also coming very shortly after Absolute and UB released their US pros from their contracts. Absolute and UB are sister sites on the Blanca Games network.

Should Pros From UB, AP, and Full Tilt Play At the WSOP?

May 16th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

PokerStars Exempt

With the World Series of Poker (WSOP) approaching quickly (May 31st), a question lingers amongst the poker world. Should pros from the three remaining sites that have yet to begin returning money to players participate?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the issue, it is important to realize that PokerStars players will be victim of far less scrutiny than any other players simply because their sponsor has made considerable efforts to return player funds to the players. In fact, the $100 million they have already returned is $100 million more than the other three combined. Even with that said some folks think that none of the Big Four should show up, but we all know that will not happen.

Most people will see PokerStars’ efforts and give them a pass because even though the job is not over, they’re at least making an effort.

Severe Scrutiny

On the other side of the coin we have to consider pros from Full Tilt and AP/UB. These pros are being sponsored by sites that have yet to make any sort of concrete progress in this whole mess. In the case of pros from Ultimate Bet, they may be facing a little less pressure because just like the thousands of other online poker players out there, they too lost their job. But if they lost their job, many might begin to question why they are being representatives for a company that is clearly corrupt and inefficient.

The real issue rests on the shoulders of Full Tilt and its pros. Since “Black Friday”, Full Tilt’s pros have said very little in public and even less regarding the payout situation. As the days pass and the other three sites are at least making visible attempts to put things back in order, Full Tilt remains seemingly stagnant. No money has been paid out as of yet and rumors of bankruptcy are preparing players for the possibility that they may never see their money, at least not anytime soon.

To top it all off, Full Tilt’s team at the WSOP is monstrous. Most often, Full Tilt has the most representatives out of any other sponsor. Realistically we cannot actually expect the whole squad to miss out on the WSOP but it will be very interesting to see who shows up and who skips out.

Taking A Look Back

May 16th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Week In Review

Just like the past few weeks, there has been a lot to talk about. For one, we learned about the end of more jobs. Pros from Ultimate Bet and Absolute were released from their contracts simply because there is not enough cash flow to be able to support them anymore. This is a sad but not surprising story as most of the seized big four are making large cutbacks in order to deal with the lack of traffic.

On a lighter note, Absolute Poker is making strides to start returning players funds as soon as they can. So far the only seized site that has started returning money is PokerStars and even though they are doing a fine job, there are millions and millions of dollars that have yet to be returned. All four sites claim that returning funds is their main goal, yet only one is actually showing that.

During this past week we also cleared up some false rumors as Absolute and UB are not filing for bankruptcy. Rumors that the site was financially incapable of returning funds sprung into talks about bankruptcy, but the two sister sites denied any talk of such action.

Lock Poker is a site that is having quite the opposite feelings in recent weeks. Their site has seen record amounts of people flocking to it because, quite frankly, they do not have many other places to go. But Lock seems like they couldn’t care less and will take the business with pleasure. Like always it is good to see that out of this entire mess, some people are flourishing…even if it is at the expense of thousands of others.

Looking Forward

As we leave one week behind and move on to the next, the collective feeling for online poker players in the US is helplessness. For the past month now the average player has no real option other than waiting and hoping for good news. This is especially true in the case of former members of Absolute, UB, and Full Tilt as they have seen no form of repayment from their sites whom they were so loyal too.

But with that feeling of despair, there always remains some hope that things will get better. After all, they couldn’t get much worse…could they?

We all hope that the government strikes quick deals with the remaining three sites so that they can physically begin to distribute money to the players who deserve it. We hope that online poker in the US and even in the world is not dying off because of this, and most importantly we hope that all of those folks who are out there jobless and frustrated find some way of making this awful situation a little bit better.

A Month Later

May 14th, 2011 by Kyle Silverberg

Looking Back

It has now been just about a month since “Black Friday” and arguably more has happened in this 30 day period than any other in the online poker industry. We saw the shutdown and seizure of the four biggest names in online poker; Full Tilt, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker. The surprise that “Black Friday” brought along with it still has not set in on some folks. We have seen people who were living successful lives and making a good living be thrown out of work and are now left wondering what to do with their lives. We are wtinessing a rise in the demand for regulated online poker, unlike any seen before. This is more than just an American issue too as 11 people who have been indicted are mostly hailing from different nations or have been residing in different nations.

At this point it is just a jumbled mess of opinion and speculation with little real light being shed on a lot of important issues. Every day new developments are being talked about while old issues, like the returning of player funds from a site besides PokerStars, remain stagnant and seemingly untouched.

Looking Forward

As we look ahead, there is a mountain of problems to be climbed and the clock is ticking. With thousands of people already out of work and an exorbitant amount of problems to deal with, the US Government needs to make some decisive actions and decisions in the coming weeks. Even if the decisions they reach are unfavorable, as most government decisions regarding online poker are, they will still give the masses some clarity.

The potential development of regulated poker throughout the US, whether it be national or intrastate, is exciting but the plans and talks are still in their infancy. Regulated poker has a lot of obstacles to overcome before it becomes a reality but if nothing else, it gives people some hope.

The biggest issue that needs to be solved in the coming weeks is the returning of funds to players. So far PokerStars is the only of the four sites to have started doing so and after a few weeks they still have a lot to pay back. Full Tilt, UB, and Absolute have yet to return a dollar to players and that is a problem. Once the money issue is figured out, players can rest a bit easier.