As you probably know, the company that apparently owns Absolute Poker (Blast Off Limited) bought out the company that owned Ultimate Bet (Excapsa) back in October 2006. At the time, there were reports that the player bases would be combined within a few months, but that plan never quite materialized. Instead, late in the summer of 2007 came the announcement of a new service whereby players could transfer funds from one site to the other. Just about the time, incidentally, when Absolute rolled out its new software upgrade (to “Absolute Poker 8.0”). You know, the one that enabled folks like A.J. Green to scam players out of hundreds of thousands.
A press release was issued (on 8/23/07) announcing the new service. In that release Ultimate Bet spokesperson George MacLean and David Clainer, senior VP for Absolute, are credited with jointly saying “We’re opening the doors between two of the most popular poker rooms . . . . Our new payment option allows funds to seamlessly flow from one poker room to the other.”
Back on 9/1/07 I published a post called “Taking a Seat at UB” in which I wrote (with some enthusiasm) about transferring some cabbage from my Absolute Poker account over to Ultimate Bet. I liked the idea of adding a new site to my roster of choices, and so decided to give it a go. I also liked the flexibility of perhaps “seamlessly” moving funds back and forth from site to site -- the kind of thing we Americans used to take for granted prior to Neteller’s going away.
Over the following six weeks, we learned of the cheating scandal at Absolute, and after a bit of contemplation, I decided I would be pulling my funds off of both AP and UB. My withdrawal from Absolute was simple enough. I made the request, and the check arrived within a week. However, my withdrawal from Ultimate Bet has been less smooth. In fact, it has been so arduous that I felt compelled to report about it here.
Let me start with a warning. Indeed, communicating this bit of info is really the main reason why I’m posting this here tale. Anyone with money on Absolute who wants to try what I did and move some funds over to UB, you should know that you will not be allowed to withdraw any funds off of UB until you make an actual deposit there (by some other means than an AP transfer). In other words, that promise that the companies are allowing your “funds to seamlessly flow from one poker room to the other” is not exactly correct.
And I ain’t just talking about the split infinitive.
I had a measly $55 over on UB when I decided on October 23rd to try to transfer it back over to AP, then withdraw the lot. I put in the request, then after a day discovered I still had $55 sitting in the UB account. I emailed support, and was sent a message saying that my request had been denied. I mistakenly assumed that the problem was due to the fact that I was requesting a transfer of less than $100 in the account, so I moved $50 more over to UB from Absolute and tried again. Again, after a day or two I saw my money -- now $105 -- still sitting over in the UB account. I emailed support once more, and was sent a similar message explaining that my request “has been denied due to no deposit history on your UB account.”
Huh? Reading further in that 8/23/07 press release, one reads that “players with accounts on both sites can instantly move their money without having to make a new deposit.” Now that I actually want to withdraw my money from UB, I’m realizing that ain’t exactly the case.
I went ahead at that point and took all my money off of AP (a little over $300), then set to work trying to get that UB money sent to me.
I wrote support once again explaining (1) I no longer wished to play at UB or AP because of the cheating that had occurred at Absolute; and (2) I had deposited money at UB when I transferred funds from AP, so why couldn’t I now withdraw? I ended my email by asking point blank “Can you tell me how I can have my funds sent to me? I do not wish to deposit funds on UB only to withdraw them.”
It took support four days to respond to my message. Instead of telling me how to withdraw my funds, however, I only received a long, generic-sounding presser telling me they were sorry I wanted to close my account, “the breach has been closed,” and a long list of other reasons why “Absolute Poker is completely safe and secure.”
“I am interpreting the form letter as an attempt to get me to change my mind,” I said in my reply. “I have not -- I still wish to withdraw my funds. Should I again attempt to withdraw via the site software? Please advise.” I got a reply from support saying they were forwarding my request to UB’s Security Department. We were now up to November 8th -- over two weeks after my first attempt to withdraw my funds.
Three days later I finally heard from Erin over in the Security Department. Erin had the same message for me that Support had repeatedly given: “you must have made an initial deposit in order to request a withdrawal, which is the reason why your withdrawal has been cancelled . . . . Best regards, Erin.”
Argh. Erin and I ended up writing back and forth several times. “You must understand my reluctance to deposit any more money into your site,” I wrote, “given the difficulty I am having withdrawing what I already have there.” Finally I gave in and ended up sending a check to Mohawk Financial Services (in Canada) as a deposit into my Ultimate Bet account. Once that money was received and deposited, I then waited 48 more hours -- as Erin had instructed -- before finally trying once again.
When I clicked on the “withdrawal” button, I was taken to a page that said “We are sorry, but you are not allowed to make withdrawals. If you have any questions, please contact memberservices.” Hello? Erin?
I emailed yet again, and didn’t have to wait too long before getting a reply that the message was the result of a “technical problem” and had been fixed. Sure, whatever. One more day of suspense, and I finally got an email on November 25th that my payout had been processed -- about a month after I first tried to withdraw.
Am still waiting for the check, so the adventure ain’t officially over. I suppose this is all par for the course and I shouldn’t be that outraged at the hassle. Still, if I had known that it was going be this difficult to withdraw from Ultimate Bet, I would have never transferred any money over there at all. Bottom line: I would not recommend anyone try to transfer money from AP to UB unless he or she is prepared one day to deposit still more money onto Ultimate Bet.
I hope that’s useful to someone. ’Cause I’m not seeing the first thing on either site about what you’re gonna have to do to get your money off of UB once you transfer it there from AP.
Labels: *the rumble