POKER

3 Barrels: ‘basic’ protection for party players; the word from Yong & Waters

TAGs: PartyPoker, pokerfuse, Rob Yong, Tom Waters

3: Barrels of a partypoker vintage including a concerning story regarding the security of player funds, and we hear from members of the top brass Tom Waters and Rob Yong. 

3:Barrels: ‘basic’ protection for party players; the word from Yong & WatersFull Tilt Poker (FTP) was the top online poker site in the world.

Then they wasn’t.

The FBI shut them down along with the rest of the online poker operators breaking the law in the States, and the subsequent inquiry revealed that the FTP bank accounts containing player deposits only held $60m, when records showed it should have contained $440m.

We all know what happened next.

PokerStars donned a cape, flew in to save the day, and eventually, everyone got their money back, and FTP died.

How could that happen to a company that at its pomp was turning over millions of dollars, and achieved respected throughout the online gambling industry?

Last year, it happened again, albeit on a smaller scale, when PKR went into insolvency, and their 35,000 players learned that the PKR owners had not taken the necessary steps to make their player funds safe. Once again, PokerStars pulled the cape out of the wardrobe and flew in to make PKR players whole to the tune of $2m.

Could it happen again?

And if it did, who would be affected?

The results are surprising.

partypoker Found to Offer ‘Basic’ Protection For Player Funds in Pokerfuse Study 

The team at Pokerfuse recently studied the terms and conditions of 25 UK gambling operators to ascertain how they protected player funds. The Gambling Commission of Great Britain (UKGC) has a set of stringent rules that hold online gambling companies accountable for placing player deposits into a separate bank account than the one used for operational purposes, but as Pokerfuse establish, this doesn’t mean your funds are safe.

It seems online gambling companies (online poker rooms, for the sake of this piece), have three choices when it comes to protecting your money.

Basic.
Medium.
High.

You can read the nitty-gritty right here, but primarily companies offering ‘Basic’ protection could deem player funds part of the business should they go bust, companies offering ‘Medium’ protection offer some guarantees, with those in the ‘High’ bracket offering a cast iron guarantee that your funds would be safe in the event that the company goes belly-up.

PKR was one of those online poker rooms offering ‘Basic’ protection.

Here is a list of all the companies in the ‘High’ bracket, and the high profile poker rooms in the ‘Medium’ and ‘Basic’ brackets.

High Protection

Betfair
Coral Poker
Full Tilt Poker
Paddy Power
PokerStars

Medium

888Poker
Unibet

Basic

partypoker

Yup, the online poker room currently dying its hair and changing its attire in a bid to become the best of the best, offers players ‘Basic’ protection on their funds, and according to a March UKGC review on gambling regs, they are likely to change the wording of the lowest tier from ‘Basic’ to ‘None.’

The likelihood that partypoker’s parents GVC Holdings will go bust is as remote as Vincent Van Gogh creating another masterpiece, but it’s still a position their loyal fans would like to see included in Tom Waters and Rob Yong’s plans for world domination.

And talking about Tom Waters and Rob Yong.

Tom Waters and Rob Yong Speak Out 

partypoker’s Managing Director, Tom Waters, recently sat down for a chinwag with PokerStrategy’s Barry Carter.

Three interesting points emerged.

The first was Waters reaction to 888Poker’s allegations that partypoker has been using ‘old school tactics’ to steal players from under the noses of the Israeli-based company.

“With regards to 888, I can categorically state we are not specifically targeting anyone’s players, although can you blame players for moving from 888 to partypoker when we have better software, bigger and better MTTs and more rewarding promotions?” 

On the $20m Online MILLIONS Guarantee.

“We think we can hit it,” Waters told Carter. “The biggest online poker tournament prior to Millions Online was in 2012 and the collected prizepool was just over $12 million. Getting 4,000 runners in a $5k buy-in online tournament is a massive challenge and perhaps I’m being overly optimistic considering we need to beat the previous record by $8 million but I feel that we can hit $20 million.” 

And on the recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

“We have been subjected to a large number of attacks since the initial wave of attacks and have suffered no disruption to our poker services.” 

Rob Yong doesn’t have an official title, but everyone knows he plays a critical role in the success of partypoker both live and online, and he made some interesting comments in a recent blog post titled ‘Random Comments.’

Yong’s blog posts are always a great read because he writes from the heart, and refuses to be censored by business red tape.

On the recent MILLIONS UK at Dusk till Dawn (DTD), Yong said it was ‘a big disappointment for me,’ referring to the decrease in field size from 1,204 in 2017 to 1,015. Yong confirmed there were no direct qualifiers for the event, with the team hoping that players would use their PP Live Dollars. Only 200 players took this route, compared to 500 online qualifiers in 2017.

I love Yong’s response.

“Let’s get real, who can blame any player who prefers to use their PP Live Dollars next month for the online $20M Guaranteed MILLIONS event or the $30M MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas – DTD is a shed on a retail park in Nottingham, there is no beach.”

On the MILLIONS brand in general, Yong confirmed that the idea came during a 4 am beer with Simon Trumper at DTD, and the pair immediately drafted John Duthie in to make it a reality.

Yong expressed his fondness of the European Poker Tours (EPTs) of old, and how the freezeout format brought more tension to the event.

I am not so precious to need it to continue {MILLIONS} unless we can really improve and make the event more prestigious.” 

Yong then goes on to share his vision of the future, and it’s radically different to what’s going on at the moment.

# 10K buy-in, 5M – 10M GTD depending on venue

# Qualify 60% of the field online and live

# Freezeout, reduced late registration

# One Day 1 [no multi-day 1s]

# 200BBs

# Double Chance option where players can take 100BBs at start but obviously needs debate and input from players

# 10K Second Chance Tournament for DBI players that bust Main, and 500-1K Events for qualifiers

That was the meat on Yong’s bone, but like Waters, he found time to have a little poker back at the competition, in response to 888Poker allegations that party were pinching players.

“888 used to market themselves as the ‘World’s Second Biggest Poker Site’ – they are now third, PokerStars used to market themselves as ‘We Are Poker’ – they are now ‘not.’” 

You can read the Tom Waters’ interview right here, and Rob Yong’s blog post right here.

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