Thursday, May 09, 2013

The LockPoker Fiasco

I was late to the party on Merge. That is how I choose to phrase it anyhow. After Black Friday and the ensuing cluster fuck of not knowing what money we would be able to get off the sites, what money was lost forever and what our future as poker players would be, joining the largest U.S facing poker network was less appealing than sitting at a live poker table for 10+ hours/day.

It was early summer 2011 that we began paying attention to the success that our friend Rick was having at Merge, on BlackChipPoker playing our specialized games of fixed limit Holdem and Omaha SNG's we decided, we would give it a shot and hopefully be able to make some money.
Even with Merge network accepting U.S. players we felt it best to sign up using Dasha's Belarussian details so that we could avoid the long wait experienced by U.S. players and use skrill/moneybookers to get what profits we made off the site.

That whole summer everything went smoothly, games were great and withdraws took somewhere in the 4-6 day timeframe, be were thrilled to be honest. Dasha and I learned rather quickly that our tolerance for live poker was limited. We very much missed the days of sitting at our computers and playing heads up where our edge is significantly higher.

I am not absolutely sure of the time frame but somewhere early 2012 things took a drastic turn for worse, LockPoker was leaving the Merge network, I really did not follow the reasons behind the move but I was sure of two things (1) this was terrible move for Lock (2) any loss of players to the Merge network could spell the end. Immediately after the departure of Lock traffic dropped significantly, any drop in player volume affects our niche games strongly. It was not long before we were lucky to get 5-6 opponents in 8 hours of sitting and waiting. What really ended it for us was when withdraws were starting to take longer and longer, finally at the point that Skrill was a two week wait, we pulled every penny off the site. You see, it is not the 2 week delay in withdraws that prompted our departure, it was the common sense conclusion that if the network cannot facilitate ROW (rest of world) withdraws in a timely manner - they are having financial difficulty.

We considered signing up at LockPoker, but after an initial query with other friends already on the network and they too international accounts, they reported slow (2-3 week) delays in withdraws, this looked bad so we never made a deposit - back to live poker.

So why talk about LockPoker when I was never personally damaged by them? Regardless that I avoided the fiasco myself, many many others did not. I distinguish the poker community into three categories, they are (1) Recreational Players (2) professional Grinders (3) Top level Pro's

1. Recreational players are unaware of what is/has gone on in the online poker sphere outside of headlines. They are on the site for the purposes of recreation and relaxation. They see banner ads on reputable websites (they assume) and conclude that the site is legit.

2. Professional grinders are those players (like myself) who rely on poker for income, we do not have jobs or other significant avenues of income outside of grinding. We rely on our income and do not have stock piles of cash laying around to live off of, if withdraws take 30 or more days we are adversely affected. We are keenly aware of what is going on in the poker sphere as it is our business to know. We know and understand the risks of playing on un-regulated U.S. facing sites but must endure the risk as this is our livelihood.

3. Top tier pro's might just be another way of saying "high stakes". Like grinders they rely on the income from poker, but they are financially situated firmly enough that they can wait for their money, if a withdraw takes 6+ months it really does not affect them, they only need to know that it is coming. As with grinders they are aware of the poker news and what is going on, they choose to play on un-regulated U.S. facing sites because there is good money to be made. Many in this category have already moved outside the U.S. and play on the mainstream sites/networks as well.

It matters little which category you belong to when a situation like this emerges, it looks very likely as if nobody will get what money they have invested in LockPoker off the site. The only ones presumably who are affected in the worse way are the Grinders, they simply need the income and cannot afford to take hits of  magnitude.

LockPoker has conducted itself as a money grab from the very beginning, they show little to no care for how their actions affect those who have supported them. None have done a better more diligent and thorough detailing of these facts than "Dan Druff" who began documenting and warning of LockPoker back in 2012 in this article:

And his follow up article and information on the newest abusiveness can be read here:

Here is the 2+2 link with regard to LockPoker and the nefarious actions of those "Pro's" who have supported LockPoker throughout this ordeal, simultaneously shilling and spewing Locks propaganda while calling themselves friends and advocates of the poker community:

Human solidarity is what has allowed our species to flourish even when the odds of our survival were very low. Some of us take very serious these assaults on our community, even when we personally are not directly affected. We must also be acutely aware by now, that even when issues do not affect us directly, their consequences can and have, in time steered right into our personal lives.


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