I haven’t written too much here about NETeller over the last few months. There’s a reason for that. Haven’t had much to say about the online payment processor because as of the afternoon of Wednesday, January 17, 2007, I have had no business with them whatsoever.
That was the day I happened to withdraw the hundred clams I had sitting over there. I’ve mentioned before how early that Wednesday I read Bill Rini’s post about the arrests of NETeller co-founders John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence, including his suggestion that Americans should consider transferring their funds out of NETeller to their favorite poker site or bank account.
I followed Bill’s advice, and within hours came the message from NETeller that “effective immediately, U.S. members are no longer able to transfer funds to or from any online gambling sites.” Wasn’t too long after that when NETeller’s American members discovered they weren’t going to be able to get to their funds at all.
I had gotten quite a bit of use out of NETeller. Besides using it for all withdrawals from the various sites on which I have played, I generally would always keep a hundred or two in there for deposit bonus offers, such as the ones that came up frequently over on Party Poker (when they still served us Yanks).
By the way . . . I happened to be watching some of the Sunday tourney on Party yesterday and wondered why they still use U.S. dollars over there. Anyone know?
I know some folks used NETeller for other reasons, but my account was exclusively for online poker. I believe the most I ever had in NETeller at any one time was probably around a grand or so. That was back in October 2006, shortly after the UIGEA was passed, when I -- like many others -- panicked a bit and withdrew almost all of my funds from online poker sites.
With NETeller gone, I didn’t bother to pursue any other means of depositing, instead focusing my energies on nursing the bankrolls I have kept alive in Stars, Absolute, Bodog, and Full Tilt. A personal mania about record-keeping has served me well here, I think. Indeed, I’m starting to believe bankroll management might well be my best trait as a poker player. It is certainly the one more than any other that has kept me in the black month after month.
Not having the means to transfer funds from one site to another means that I -- like a lot of players, I imagine -- have essentially had multiple “bankrolls” to manage. And, as I say, things have gone relatively well this year. Did have one slip up in early March when I allowed my Full Tilt account to fall dangerously low, then was bailed out (so to speak) by a good friend who swapped me $25 there for $25 from my Stars account. (Not going to identify my helper here by name, as he probably doesn’t need others coming around asking for such assistance -- but thanks again, bud!) After basically staying away from Full Tilt for a few months (aside from the occasional AIPS tourney), I’ve recently clawed that back up over $100 via some conservative-minded PLO sessions and a few hundred hands of $0.50/$1.00 limit HE.
After withdrawing that Wednesday afternoon in January, I wrote a post the next day where I voiced various frustrations about the situation. I also speculated a bit about future withdrawing/depositing options as well as what might happen to the relative level of play online once bad players began disappearing. Today I’m wondering how much of that $94 million (or whatever the amount really is) NETeller is returning to its U.S. members will find its way back into online poker. Probably very little, although some sites might enjoy a small jump in traffic here over the next couple of weeks.
Incidentally, if I were logging onto to retrieve my funds from NETeller, I would not be agreeing to that “Release” they are inviting folks to sign. I’m with G-Rob and Otis on this one.
In any event, I’m glad to hear that it appears my many American friends who play online poker will be getting their moneys back. I do hope the process goes hitch-free. Go buy yourself something nice.
Labels: *the rumble