Thursday, May 05, 2011

I might be out a whole lotta money

As you may have heard earlier today, the parent company to UltimateBlecch and AbsolutePuker will be filing for bankruptcy (see here and here)--to the surprise of, well, nobody who has been paying attention. As a result, best guess is that players' money held on account will never be returned.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried writing a parody letter from Cereus to its players, the basic theme of which was, "We're really not so much into the whole 'give the money back' thing." It's really hard to do parody when the truth is already so rotten that it can't be exaggerated.

I had not logged on to UB in many months. The last time I made a deposit there was January 16, 2008, according to my records. Frankly, I don't know what I was thinking. That was just at the time that the scandal was starting to be exposed by various posters at 2+2. (Here's a useful timeline.)

Correction: I do sort of know what I was thinking. After writing the above paragraph, I wondered if I had done a blog post about it, and, in fact, I had. It makes me cringe to read it now. The post was about my efforts to fund online poker accounts with Visa/MasterCard gift cards:
I sent the "virtual gift card" to myself, and received an email telling me how to access it. That all worked fine. Then the big test: will it be accepted for online poker? Full Tilt: No. Poker Stars: No. Ultimate Bet: Yes! The card issuer charged a transaction fee of $0.06, and $99.94 showed up almost instantly in my UB account. (Yeah, I know about their association with Absolute Poker and the big scandal. But I still like playing on UB more than the other two big ones.)

There is another potential problem with funding an account this way: you can't withdraw by the same means, which probably means that if I start turning an actual profit and want to cash out, I'll have to settle for a slow paper check to be mailed to me. But that's a small problem, and I'll deal with it when the time comes. (Nevertheless, I'm bracing myself for a possible nightmare of an experience, after reading this account of trying to make a simple withdrawal from UB:

Wow. I earned myself a big fat dopeslap there. I knew about the scandal*, had read of my friend Shamus's difficulty making a simple withdrawal from the site, and then in spite of that shipped them some more money. D'oh!

I returned to the site to play occasional tournaments thereafter, but I don't think I ever won any more money. At some point I got sufficiently leery of the unfolding mess that I decided I wanted my money off of the site. I tried cashing out, and was told that I couldn't because I didn't have the minimum required for a payout. That caused me to basically write it off mentally as a loss. However, I still went back a few more times when I thought about it, hoping that a tourney cash would put me above the cashout threshold. It never happened. (I was playing $5 and $10 tournaments, and I would typically do two or three in a session, so it was just a handful of visits.)

I thought I was down to about $2, but checking just now revealed the screen as shown above. If the company actually goes belly-up with all its players' deposits, as seems almost inevitable, I will be out a whopping $9.52.

I'll consider it a small price for the reminder not to do business with entities that have proven themselves to be less than honorable.

*Actually, I'm not sure that I knew then of the highly suspicious UB hand histories that would eventually prove to be the smoking gun that made it all unravel. That was still in its earliest stages of publicity. But I knew all about the Absolute scandal, and knew that UB was the same company, and that should have been sufficient warning.


Just saw this mockup of the UB cashout request screen. Brilliant! (Hat tip: Shamus.)

1 comment:

Matt said...


Thanks for the link in this post, I got north of 100 views coming from your blog today. Will link your site in my post tomorrow, alongside a new UB parody =].