Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Shenanigans at PokerStars

PokerStars is getting widespread praise for being first out of the block to get payments to U.S. customers with closed real-money accounts. E.g., Daniel Negreanu (a Stars pro, obviously) Tweeted this earlier today: "Very proud of how well PokerStars has handled #BlackFriday issues. US customers have received cashouts swiftly and smoothly. Well done."

But players aren't the only ones affected by the shutdown, and it appears that Stars is not being a good citizen with respect to other entities. Read this epic eff-you letter from former Stars loyal soldier Pauly: http://taopoker.blogspot.com/2011/05/radio-free-pauly-disucssing-how.html

Sounds like dirty dealing and utter lack of integrity to me--not to mention horrendously stupid P.R. Screwing the people with the biggest microphones is not the smartest corporate strategy ever devised.


Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between paying affiliates and cashing out customers. Paying affiliates comes out of Pokerstars' corporate accounts, cashing out customers is returning money that already belongs to the customers.

This is also why Pokerstars is treating FPPs differently than cash in accounts - in order to convert FPPs to cash, Pokerstars is paying the players.

This is likely less of an intentional "fuck you" strategy and more of a "paying American customers for loyalty and promotion means instant conviction on felony charges" strategy.

GeorgeX said...

I actually responded to Daniel's tweet saying something like "what about the affiliates?".

But playing devil's advocate, the poker sites pay the affiliates commissions because on average they intended to make money from the referred customers over the long run.

As an affiliate you have probably already been paid for referrals from a few months back for which the poker sites are now taking a loss on since they can no longer count on them for ongoing business.

Same goes for any recent referrals. The sites aren't going to make any money on them, so from a fairness standpoint why should they now have to pay affiliates?

The feds changed the game. Affiliates benefited from the sites illegal activity. But now that the sites got caught no reason why the affiliates should continue to benefit at the expense of the poker sites.

Ya they used a flimsy excuse to get out of paying, but I can't blame them for it.

Rakewell said...

I think it all depends on the wording of the contract/agreement, which I have not seen. Certainly Pauly feels that they are not abiding by the letter of what was promised, and the wording of the Stars letter kind of suggests to me that they know they're not. (Among other things, they don't cite anything from the agreement that explains why they're not obligated to pay.)

I obviously can't say for sure, but my gut sense here is that they're not acting honorably, and the reason for it is that it would cost them more to do so than they think the boon to their reputation would be worth.