Lock Poker cancels player withdrawals, insists ‘all is well’

baghdad-jennifer-larson-lock-pokerLock Poker, the Revolution Gaming Network’s flagship site, is generating (surprise!) more bad press via its newly imposed and seemingly arbitrary prohibition against large-scale cashouts. At first glance, this seems to be old news. Revolution has been slow-paying/no-paying its players for the better part of a year now. Even players based outside the US, where the flow of money is not subject to the whims of the US Department of Justice, are reporting wait times of up to four months to receive payment. Other moves, such as the segregation of certain tables from other Revolution skins, have led to widespread assumptions that Lock is seeking any and all methods of preventing money from exiting its stagnant ecosystem.

The latest Lock brouhaha involves the abrupt cancellation of withdrawal requests by high-stakes players based on Lock’s assertion that, er, well, it’s not quite clear. (Perhaps, like Delta House, these players have been on double-secret probation this whole while.) Basically, players who have received fund transfers from other Lock players have been told (after the fact) that the funds are subject to play-through requirements. Trouble is, some of these players appear to have reached and/or exceeded these requirements, yet Lock continues to stonewall their requests. (Read the sordid tale from the start here.)

Beleaguered Lock representative ‘imjustshane’ has attempted to justify the canceled withdrawals by claiming that the site has been the target of “a connected and very organized group” attempting to profit from Lock’s well-publicized payout woes. The alleged scheme involved the group “masquerading as affiliates” and saying negative things about Lock on poker forums in order to drive down the public value of Lock deposits, after which they swooped in to buy up “hundreds of thousands dollars” in Lock deposits on the cheap, then attempted to withdraw the funds from Lock at full value.

Other players have since come forward with similar stories. Still others have detailed how their large withdrawal requests were canceled despite their never having transferred any funds to or from any other Lock player. As more and more players went onto Lock’s section of the 2+2 forum to support the original poster (OP), Shane admitted that some “innocent people” may have been victims of Lock’s ‘spray and pray’ method of fraud detection. Shane eventually suggested the original poster contact Lock security to remedy the situation, even though the original email to OP stated quite emphatically that Lock’s decision to cancel his withdrawal was “final.”

Shane’s cause wasn’t helped by his shifting narrative. He has alternately described OP’s fund transfers as evidence that “implies involvement in the situation we uncovered” while simultaneously declaring that “I have no evidence that OP was involved in this.” Perhaps the biggest howler in Shane’s story is the suggestion that the alleged scheme is responsible for “negatively impacting withdrawal times for actual players,” as if prior to this, Lock had been turning around payments on a 48-hour window.

There are a few juicy conspiracy theories to speculate on here. First, Lock could be working an extremely long con, in which the grifters abandon any pretense of ever paying their players, causing the value of Lock deposits to plummet to near-zero, after which they themselves use sock-puppet accounts to repurchase most of their unfunded liabilities for 5 cents on the dollar, wipe the slates clean and start the con anew.

Second, in attempting to describe the alleged plot to devalue Lock deposits, Shane inadvertently confirmed that Lock’s affiliates enjoy preferential treatment over players when it comes to the cashout queue (although Lock’s past treatment of its affiliates suggests they’re not always held in such high esteem). Offering rewards to those who steer fresh lambs to the slaughter is a hallmark of any good Ponzi scheme. The last time Ponzi schemes and poker were this closely linked was Full Tilt Poker, so perhaps Lock has assumed that because PokerStars chose to bail out FTP, Isai Scheinberg will once again pull his white knight armor (and his checkbook) out of the attic and relieve Lock of the necessity of taking any further action.

Third, Lock holds the fort, continues to promote the hell out of itself to US players and waits for the Department of Justice to indict them, after which Lock can claim all the player funds were seized and play their force majeure card.

No doubt this article will be dismissed by Shane, his boss Jennifer Larson and her legal partner in crime Bryce Vincent Geoffrey as yet another scurrilous attempt to further depress the value of Lock Poker deposits. Never mind that Lock deposits could easily be restored to their rightful value if Lock actually had the money in its accounts to honor its obligations. But given the history of the principals involved, that seems a highly dubious proposition. The only real takeaway from this latest scandal is that Lock Poker is the Hotel California of online poker sites: you can deposit any time you like, but your cash can never leave.