I’ve been writing here about how I’m carefully preserving my balances on each of those four accounts on which I play. Since Neteller pulled out, I’ve yet to sign with any other third-party vendor for moving my cabbage in and out of sites. Been kind of a rocky year thus far, tho’ I am up a reasonable amount overall in 2007. Only about even, though, since that moment three weeks ago when Neteller stopped allowing U.S. customers to deal to and from online poker sites.
I can easily remind myself of the exact instant Neteller shut its doors, by the way, because I just happened to have moved the $100.00 I had sitting in there over to Full Tilt about an hour before the shut down occurred. (Thanks again to Bill Rini -- if I had not read on his blog a forewarning that Neteller was about to pull the plug, I might not have bothered to move those funds when I did.)
You’ve probably heard and read about the headaches many U.S. players are having currently regarding their Neteller accounts. After a myriad of ambiguous communications between Neteller and individual customers regarding how quickly their withdrawals would be processed, we have now learned that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has indeed seized at most around $55 million worth of funds from Neteller. This news comes via Neteller’s own press release, dated 2/8/07. So even though Ron Martin, the Group President and CEO of Neteller, is quoted in the releasing saying that “The return of funds to our US customers is a top priority for NETELLER,” those awaiting withdrawals to clear appear to be in for a lengthy wait. (Never mind how all of this makes most of us feel about signing on with any other third-party vendors at present.)
Amy Calistri says she logs on to visit her money once a day, as though it were a family member in prison. I’d been doing something similar now and then with the $0.46 left in my PartyPoker account. When I jettisoned all of my funds from PartyPoker back in early October, for some reason the software wouldn’t allow me to take out the last 46 cents. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but this week I heard from another player over on the Card Clubs forums that he, too, had a pittance left in his Party account that he couldn’t extract. Then he received an email from Party telling him that since he had not logged into his account for 180 days (he had pulled out of Party last summer), his account was being marked “Inactive” and that an “Inactive Account Fee shall be deducted from your Account Balance at the end of each calendar month in accordance with the Inactive Account Fee Schedule.” Wha?
How is he supposed to reactivate his account? “Reactivating your account is easy,” said the email. “Just log in and place a cash wager, enter a tournament with a cash entry fee, or play a raked hand.” Ha ha. Like any American can do that anymore. So he’s looking to forfeit the one dollar and change he has sitting over in Party. And I suppose I’ll be losing my 46 cents the same way over there in a month or two.
(Reminds me of Office Space. You know, that scheme to skim a few cents from every account. If that is what’s happening here, and Party is indeed scamming thousands of American players a few pennies at a time, I think somebody probably deserves to go to federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison, don’t you?)
Of course, our fretting over pennies is nothing compared to what others are experiencing, such as those who have tens of thousands of dollars either tied up in Neteller or on online sites where they haven’t a secure means to extract it or move it around. Which brings me to that interesting thing I heard Tom Schneider say on last week’s Beyond the Table.
Schneider thinks that given the fact that a lot of players have already pulled their money out of online poker sites -- plus the many obstacles Americans presently face when trying to reload -- money on poker sites will soon become worth “more than cash.” In other words, according to Schneider, some players will be willing to pay “a premium” (i.e., higher than actual dollar value) to get money moved into their online poker accounts with which they can play.
Schneider was speaking primarily of high stakes games, but the observation might well apply all the way down the line. It’s a bit like we’re all getting collectively blinded down in a tournament, with each individual chip increasing in value as our stacks dwindle. Could it be possible that within a few months we’ll see folks buying and selling cash that resides in online poker sites?
Whaddya think? Is Tom on the money here? Or is he full of applesauce? Or am I for thinking this theory might apply (to a lesser degree) to us low limit types?
Gotta go . . . think I hear somebody hollerin’ for me . . . .
Labels: *the rumble