Tom Dwan, better known as “durrrr” to the Full Tilt online poker community, sent out a Tweet yesterday that raised a lot of eyebrows. He basically warned other online poker players to steer clear of LockPoker, the flagship of the Revolution Gaming Network. Once highly renowned as a top destination for American players, there is now growing speculation that the site may be going under, and it’s the players that are suffering for it.
“Trying to make sure I’m objective because of my ftp/stars affiliation…” read the ominous Tweet from Tom Dwan, “But everyone should at a minimum be careful of lockpoker.”
I had heard a few tales around the rumor mill, so I had my suspicions as to what Mr. Dwan was referring to, but it prompted me to do a little further investigating. As it turns out, speculations are rapidly growing as to LockPoker being in the midst of a financial crisis.
This situation has been brewing for months now, where more and more players are complaining of excessively slow payments, cancelled payments and no-pays. But there’s an interesting backstory that may better explain why Lock Poker went from a top tier room to a withering beguiler. Lock Poker has been around for years and always had a great reputation, but it was a member of the reputable Merge Gaming Network at that time. In June of 2012, the online poker site’s owner and CEO, Jennifer Larson, made a huge decision to break free of the Merge Gaming Network, purchasing the Cake Poker Network and rebranding it as Revolution Gaming.
Immediately, the company was noted for its reduction in quality. Payouts got a little slower. Customer service wasn’t quite as prompt or professional. As the months went by, things only got worse, and much, much slower. In December of 2012, it was reported that Lock Poker only supplied American players with a single withdrawal option, paper checks. To request a paper check payout took an estimated 3 months. This came after Lock Poker failed, for months, to supply Western Union cashouts that they had promised to deliver in two weeks; thus Western Union was removed from the withdrawal list.
As an avid online poker player, I am well aware that USA players do not have a lot of options for requesting a cashout, and that expedience isn’t a strong point, no matter where they spend their online poker hours. But after the Full Tilt Poker scandal that rocked the web in 2011, wide spread panic is far too easy to ignite. While the situation does not seem to be as drastic the Full Tilt Poker debacle, people are understandably quick to fear the worst.
According to a report published yesterday by online gambling watchdog, Casinomesiter, Lock Poker seems to have gone into damage control mode as, for all appearances sake, things become even more bleak. The operator’s sponsored pros, Chris Moorman and Paul Volpe, chose not to renew their contracts earlier this week, while representatives from well-known poker forum twoplustwo met with LockPoker, deciding they would no longer promote the poker site until the payment issues are completely resolved.
Larson did have some comments to say in regards to the state of the online poker room, but not exactly what most players would have hoped to hear. She simply stated that Lock Poker is “in top financial standing and hopes to have payment processing issues resolved in the coming weeks.”
It seems players would be more comforted by an admission of complications, followed by an impending solution on the very near horizon, but that wasn’t to be. Larson went on to say, “Lock temporarily was not allowing players to cash out transferred funds,” referring to player-to-player transfers. She said that players could always cashout money won from playing on the site, but that, “Those persons with accounts that have accepted large P2P transfers are being reviewed on a case by case basis when cash outs are requested.”
In the end, the poker room’s CEO didn’t really address the issue of non-payments for the average player, which explains exactly why Tom Dwan made an effort to dissuade fellow online poker players from entrusting Lock Poker with their funds.