Full Tilt Poker in Financial Trouble

It’s been weeks since Full Tilt Poker stopped accepting U.S. players after the DOJ indicted the site’s owners. And players are still wondering how to play online poker in the US for real money and when (and if) they will be able to cash out. Full Tilt’s main competitor, Pokerstars, suffered the same fate, yet managed to pay U.S. players almost immediately.

Just like the shutdown and seizure of funds from Quicktender, a popular gaming e-wallet service for U.S. players and affiliates, it’s not looking good for those who have money on Full Tilt.

Former spokesperson and pro poker player Phil Ivey has tried to take a stand for players when he filed a $150 million dollar lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker and opted to boycott playing in this year’s WSOP.In his press release Ivey had this to say about Full Tilt’s non-payment of U.S. player funds:

“I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly. I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result, many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm. I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot.”

But despite Ivey’s lawsuit and warnings from websites like OnlinePokerSites.co.uk, which posted an in-depth warning about the financial instability of Full Tilt Poker, people are continuing to play there. According to PokerScout.com, Full Tilt is still averaging over 9,000 players at any given time. Hopefully these are existing players and not a lot of new depositors. As much as I hate to say it, I wouldn’t trust Full Tilt Poker a new deposit.

I hate it because they were my favorite place to play poker for money. I played there, and promoted them to my friends. As much as I’ll miss winning extra money by beating the small stakes Rush Poker Tournaments, I can’t stand the way they’re treating the players and affiliates who helped make them as large as they were.

Bottom line: If you get a chance to withdraw from Full Tilt , do it. If you are thinking about signing up and depositing at Full Tilt, don’t do it.

Share your opinion. Do you think U.S. players will ever get paid by Full Tilt Poker? Would you ever trust them with a new deposit?

Quicktender Shutdown: Will Players & Affiliates Ever Be Paid?

It’s been nearly a month since I requested almost $1,000 from Quicktender and there’s still no money in sight. Unlike many players and affiliates, I withdrew my account balance right before the Quicktender/UseMyWallet shutdown. Then I received this email (which basically says that my money is out there in financial limbo):

As your recent QuickTender withdrawal was not received into your nominated bank account we will be putting it shortly under the “Uncleared Balance” to your QuickTender Account.

We are communicating with our bank to find out where your funds are currently located and why they have not been processed. The funds were transmitted by us in good faith through a major European bank, and have left our account. We understand that the money has been frozen in the US banking system, and you will appreciate that this is entirely beyond our control.

We fully acknowledge you are the rightful owner of these funds. We will fully support you recover these funds and provide further details as soon as we can assist.

A week ago I received this email from them:

Since our last email communication where we advised any funds in your QuickTender account could still be used to purchase at QuickTender accepting sites we had been working hard to reinstate our withdrawal facility and ensuring your funds where safe and secure.

However, further developments specifically relating to our main bank processing company have resulted in our accounts being frozen subject to a seizure order giving us no ability to make payments in any currency.

In light of these developments we have had no option but to discontinue the Quicktender service with immediate effect and for the foreseeable future.

At this time we are unable to confirm when or if we could make payments of remaining balances.

We will keep you advised of future relevant developments.

QuickTender Support

Since then, we’ve learned that the funds have been frozen by the United States DOJ and their war on entertainment from the comfort of your home.

So now, there’s little for players and affiliates to do but sit and speculate as to whether they will be paid or not. Personally, I’m optimistic and believe that, similar to the Neteller fiasco, eventually we’ll all be paid.

But what do you think? Will players and affiliates get paid, or will we get stiffed?

Can You Still Gamble at Online Casinos in the US?

The rise of the Internet has been a tremendous boon to both casino operators and players alike. The growth of online casinos has made it possible for players to play casino games easily from home via their computers anytime they want. Online casinos also have vastly increased profits for website operators because the overhead on an Internet gambling site is far less than that of a brick-and-mortar live casino.

The drawbacks to playing casino games over the Internet represent the shadow side of online gaming. Because betting is “virtual” via a credit account that the player must set up on the site, it’s easy to lose track of just how much money has been lost. There’s also the possibility of online identity theft if the website gets hacked. What’s more, people who are susceptible to gambling addiction find that it’s more difficult to stay off gambling websites than it is to stay out of live casinos.

US players who’d like to play casino games online also face another major hurdle caused by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Passed by Congress in 2006, this federal legislation makes it illegal to transfer money over the Internet for the purpose of gambling. Thus banks, credit card companies and other financial agencies now must refuse to complete any transactions identified as being for the purpose of gambling. The result of the act has been to cause several online casinos and money transfer websites to leave the US market altogether.

What UIGEA doesn’t do is make it illegal for people to play their favorite casino games online. Whether playing for fun or for money, there’s no law against playing casino games via the Internet. What has been outlawed are those methods by which players would “bankroll” their online playing via electronic fund transfers from bank accounts, credit card purchases, and other transactions. Consequently, online casinos that still accept US players have had to come up with ingenious ways for them to fund their website accounts that don’t involve using credit cards or bank accounts. Each website is different, so players should check out the sites to see which method might work best for them.

Among the online casinos currently accepting US players are Winpalace Casino, Aladdin’s Gold Casino, & Lucky Red Casino. Each casino offers customer loyalty programs and bonuses for frequent play, but it’s essential for players to read the rules of these programs thoroughly to understand precisely how much they must play to avail themselves of any online “comps.”

Tips for Your First Trip to the Casino

As much fun as playing casino games at home can be, there’s no substitute for playing in a real, live casino. Thanks to the expansion of casino gambling around the world, few people live more than a few hours’ drive away from a legitimate, licensed casino. For some people, visiting the nearest casino is the ideal weekend getaway.

To get the most out of a casino visit, consider these suggestions:

First and foremost, do two things: Have a playing and betting strategy, and set and stick to a budget.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau says that most gamblers budget around $600 for gambling expenses for a four-day trip. Without a commitment to strategize and budget, your relaxing weekend getaway could turn into a financial disaster. Not fun.

Pick one or two favorite games and stick with them.

Learn how the games are played and some of their strategies. Discipline yourself to memorize strategy tables for blackjack, for instance, or calculate the odds on a specific roulette bet.

Practice online first

Make sure to practice various casino games at a reputable site such as WinPalace Casino before visiting a live casino for the first time. That way you’ll have a better idea of how the games are played and maybe even pick up some of the lingo. You can play games for free and even get a bonus for depositing real money. Also, the games at Winpalace have much lower minimum bets – so you don’t have to risk much to get started.

Keep in mind that gambling can be exhausting because of the mental effort of following the game and playing your strategy. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that most gamblers play about four hours a day, and then enjoy other attractions, such as sports, shows, shopping and other pursuits.

Most of all, when you reach your spending limit, quit. There’s also no drawback to quitting while you’re ahead, no matter how the other players may razz you. Smart gamblers know that setting and keeping limits lets them play on other days. Know your limit. If you quit while you are ahead, you can afford to play another day.