Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanting to Walk Away

Online poker players are finding it increasingly more difficult to 'walk away' when they want toHas been a good while since I’ve tried to cash out any funds from the three sites on which I currently play (PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Bodog). How ’bout you?

There was a time -- pre-Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act -- when I’d routinely pull a spare hundy off a site and dump it into Neteller, then once a certain amount accumulated there with our once-favorite third-party vendor I’d go ahead and ship it to my bank account, no problemo. Starting in late 2006, once Neteller bailed on us Yanks, I’d instead wait until I’d built up a bit more than that on a given site before requesting a check. Have had to exercise some caution, of course, as I haven’t wanted to leave myself too small of a roll to continue comfortably on any given site. (I still have yet to explore depositing options for any site, and don’t plan to do so if I can help it.)

To this point, then, despite my backwards-ass government’s efforts to the contrary, I’ve encountered zero difficulties from any of my three sites when it comes to cashing out. (Same can’t be said for the sites on which I no longer play, but all that’s pretty far in the rearview by now.)

But like I say, it’s been a while -- perhaps six months -- since I’ve bothered to pull any cabbage off. Haven’t been playing Bodog as much lately, and so the roll is relatively small over there. Have had some technical issues over there, too (not unlike others, I see). Can’t seem to get the site to load on the laptop anymore -- don’t ask me why. I have, however, built up decent-sized chunks on both Stars and Full Tilt, and so had been starting to think about claiming some o’ that hard-earned cheddar.

I know some -- especially those who play at my small stakes -- don’t bother much with taking money off the table like this. But for me, doing so has always been an important part of poker, not to mention my enjoyment of it. Money left on the sites is always theoretically “in play” (even though I’d never dream of taking my whole roll to a table at once). Thus do I feel it should frankly be considered a very high priority for all online sites to make withdrawing one’s money as easy as they possibly can. Fer Chrissakes, it’s part of the game.

Of course, one could probably additionally argue the ethical imperative for online poker rooms to make withdrawing easy. Most sites at least nominally promote “responsible gambling” in some fashion or another, and it only makes sense that making it easy for players to “step away” (as it were) should be a big part of that effort.

But I personally happen to think it’s part of the game, too. Whether you agree with that or not, it’s most certainly a big part of how the very small percentage of us who don’t lose money at online poker -- something like 7-8% by most estimates -- manage to stay ahead.

Have to say, though, I’m feeling some serious trepidation about requesting any sort of cash out from any site at the moment.

Have been following that massive thread on 2+2 for the last month now detailing players’ difficulties getting funds off of Full Tilt in particular (although a few in that thread are complaining about Stars, too). There’s another thread, begun way back in April, that presently has several posters sharing their stories about having their withdrawal requests denied by Full Tilt. And I’m seeing a third thread, begun yesterday, that is also dedicated to posters explaining that none of the options presently offered by Full Tilt are working for them.

Have seen a few rumblings on other forums, too. Dan posted about it over at Pokerati yesterday. Read where PokerKat had posted her story over on the Poker Sift site, as well.

As I say, I haven’t tried to withdraw for a while, and so haven’t experienced this particular frustration first-hand myself. So I can’t really comment further on what is happening. I understand the feelings of those upset with a particular site, though I also know that whatever is happening, it probably isn’t entirely the site’s fault. The UIGEA, a law that still has never been enforced even a single time, has nevertheless helped create the situation in which this fundamental part of the poker experience -- the ability to “walk away” -- has been compromised.

Saturdays with PaulyIn any event, anybody with moneys over on PokerStars who is interested in some pot-limit Omaha tourney action should seriously consider playing in this week’s Saturday’s with Dr. Pauly tourney. Following up on his big fifth anniversary blowout, the good Doctor is throwing in a free entry into the Stars Sunday Million to this week’s victor. Haven’t been able to play the tourney in a good while (and may not be able to tomorrow, either), but that’s a damned nice overlay!

Take a shot, why dontcha? You might win!

We’ll worry about getting the funds off later.

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Blogger one/angry/kid said...

wow, i can't believe some poker sites these days.

i read a post on another blog where a friend of their's was actually fined or had funds confiscated for trying to withdraw money (Bodog no less)

I guess poker will always have that little bit of wild west mentality, although its not players robbing players anymore, its sites taking up the mantel.

8/15/2008 11:55 AM  
Anonymous CADmunkey said...

Funny you should post about this today, I'm having problems withdrawing from Full Tilt too. As a British player who isn't 'banned' from internet poker I'd expect better service from Full Tilt with regards to my withdrawal - but as usual they just don't give a damn.

8/15/2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger Greylocks said...

Eight weeks for a check from Bodog, and AFAIK, there are currently no other options - MoneyGram and Western Union are apparently no longer available as of this week (even thought they still come up as withdrawal options on the cashout screen), and the debit card option apparently no longer works either.

8/16/2008 1:31 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I never had the joy of experiencing Neteller, being a Maryland resident, which for some reason was the only U.S. state where it was banned even long before UIGEA. But I agree that overall deposits and withdrawals were a lot easier back in the day. Online poker rooms don't seem to understand that making it difficult for players to get their money out will make them a lot more hesitant to put money back in.

Really enjoying catching up on your blog. Keep the great posts coming.


8/16/2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thx, guys. Requested a check from Stars yesterday -- will update here how that goes.

8/16/2008 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a small time player, and I tend to withdraw money whenever I get over a certain amount. That way, I am not tempted to play over my head.

Pokerstars has sent me THREE checks over the past two months about 9 days after I requested them.

I too have a check enroute; should arrive in the mail sometime this week.

As for BoDog, they had a problem with their server several months back. Go to their website and download the software again, and you should have no problem.

8/18/2008 4:33 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

Not to stump more for Stars, but I just got my check from them eight days after requesting it.

Bodog required a little more pro-action like calling their 800# and dancing around their "UIGEA blah blah" excuse.

I got my check five days FedEx'd after my call (waited 45 days prior.

8/18/2008 4:41 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Meant to comment here last week -- my check from PokerStars arrived within three business days (or so), and I cashed it without a hitch.

8/29/2008 8:08 PM  

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