The Truth about PokerStars
January 23, 2009
I have created this blog so that people who have been unfairly treated by PokerStars will be able to post their experience to prevent others from falling prey to their oppressive policies.
The first thing you need to know about PokerStars is that it isn’t a real Casino. Real Casinos allow players to buy chips, place bets, and cash out chips. PokerStars allows you to buy chips, place bets, but will do it’s best to prevent you from cashing out. My personal experience with cashing out from PokerStars has been nothing short of a nightmare.
When you try to cash out, you’ll get a notice from their “security” team, referring to some fine print in the contract about having to prove who you are before they send you money. They will want you to take the time to scan your drivers licenses, credit cards, credit card statements, utility bills and other information. If you don’t feel comfortable sending all this identity thieving informationa to them, then forget about your money. So I complied and scanned and sent copies of all my sensitive documents to their “security team”, expecting to finally be able to retrieve my much needed funds. I wasn’t prepared for what came next. Even though I had lost $100 at their poker tables, I was not able to cash out the rest of my money because they said that their cashout policy demanded that I “play more hands”. Essentially, once they have your money, they are holding it hostage until you have played long enough for them to rake an arbitrary amount of profit from your stack. If you sign up with $1000, they expect you to play at least 150 tournaments, before they even think of returning your money. This is not a casino, this is a scam.
If you ask PokerStars security why you can’t have your money back, they tell you: “our cashout policy requires you to accumulate at least 15% in VPPs on the amount of the funds you wish to cashout, which stems from deposited funds.”. If you read the actual cash out policy, http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/real-money/cashouts/, there’s no mention of this rule. They can make up any rule to prevent you from cashing out as their rules don’t reflect their posted rules. PokerStars doesn’t list the policies you may find offensive, they wait until you try to cash out to tell you.
Since the U.S. and most countries believe their operations to be illegal, it has become clear that there is noone who governs their conduct or encourages them to play fair. They are above the law, and you are but tiny fish to their shark bites.
I would recommend to anyone attracted to the idea of online gambling to avoid it. I can’t cash out until I lose more, imagine if I was winning.
Please post your stories on how PokerStars has defrauded you of a pleasant poker experience.