Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Walking the line

When I clicked on that fat yellow chip, ready to fleece some donkeys on Ultimate Bet, I got an error message in response.
"Internal error. Please see customer service for assistance."

After I did indeed write customer service, I got a message back saying that my account on Bodog had been involved in some fradulent activity and that they were barring me from Ultimate Bet as a result.

That's interesting, given that I hadn't used my Bodog account in months and was just now thinking about finding a way to stick some money in there.
I contacted Bodog, and they cleared me. I then went back to Ultimate Bet, and the officials there (Phil Hellmuth?) cleared me after two days of waiting.

So everything's fine, right? Well, this little incident has got me thinkin' a bit, as we say in the West out here.

In the pond of online poker, I am merely a guppy. I'm probably good business in the sense that I'm a consistent winner, so I've got money in there to feed their rake instead of them begging me to reload, and I play up to four tables at a time. I also most always play cash games.
But I also play at low stakes - $50 NL is as high as I'll go for now - and I've worked my $200 deposit into a grand on UB. The reason poker sites make millions is because of customers like me, but one customer like me barely makes a dent in their business.

So what's stopping poker sites from telling me that, yeah, ya know, we don't trust you anyway, so we're gonna close your account, and, oh, by the way, take all your mobneys too? They wouldn't lose much from my business, and they know I don't have much power.

What's my recourse? My blog that's read by maybe 50 people? Yeah, right. An attorney? Doubt I could afford the fees (unless Jordan worked pro-bono). The government? Um, didn't they approve a law that gives the finger to online poker?

So we're pumping money into a business that could screw us over at any second and probably without any kind of consequences. As the market inevitably dries up, either because people will eventually be so OVER poker or the government finally wins or Barney Frank doesn't get it done, then will these smaller Web sites just quit one day and take all our money? It's happened before.

And yet I'll continue to play. I love the game too much, and online is the only way I can play for a while, until the twins get a little older and more stable.

Maybe a sucker is born every minute. Cause now I'm starting to think that sucker is me.

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