How Well Did the Poker Rooms Handle Black Friday?

Poker Rooms | estimated reading time
2011. May 16.
In this article, we are about to summarize how well the four major poker rooms handled the aftermath of Black Friday, when the US Department of Justice seized their domains. Was it <em>PokerStars </em>who handled the situation best? Or <em>Full Tilt Poker</em>? <em>UB/AP</em>?
PokerStars

PokerStars: C

We think that PokerStars handled the situation the best by far; however, they could have done an even better job. Even though US players were warned through the website and through their client software about the situation that they cannot play at the site anymore according to DoJ ruling, the communication of the company was far from perfect.

Players had to wait for an official statement from PokerStars for days after Black Friday; until that, no one ensured worried players that their money was safe, and they would get it back. We feel daily updates (not long press releases, just short, timely updates on the newest developments) would have been much needed in such a situation. PokerStars has failed to do it, so creating controversy and unnecessary worries for its users.

Full Tilt Poker

Full Tilt Poker: D

If we gave a C for PokerStars, we must give a D at best for Full Tilt Poker that did a much worse job than their rival communicating with their users. American players have still not got their money back and they are kept in uncertainty.

FTP’s communication has basically not been more than ‘FTPDoug’ posting tiny bits of information on forums and constantly postponing deadlines for payment for US players, failing to reveal the reasons behind the delays. Just how many Full Tilt players read forums? Would it not be more useful to send newsletters regularly and keep players posted on what is happening?

UB

UB/Absolute Poker: F Minus

Our critical remarks on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are nothing compared to what UB/AP would deserve. There are hardly any words to describe just how bad the rooms’ communication was and there is really no scenario that would have produced worse results and more client desperation than theirs.

PS and FTP have long released their official statements when UB was still silent; they also took their time responding to at least the news of their bankruptcy and they let their players worry about what would happen with their money.

How many weeks have passed since Black Friday? What do we know of UB/Absolute Poker? Will they eventually pay? There is hardly anything to know; uncertain pieces of half-information at best. Too bad there is no worse mark than F.


To sum up, we believe that all these rooms should have used today’s means of communication better or more frequently. They have Twitter, Facebook and all the e-mail addresses. Would it have been hard to drop a message, like

“Negotiations have started, we assure all of you that, one way or another, your money will be paid back,” or
“We are working on our press release, but rest assured, things go in the right direction.” Or even
“We have tons of e-mails coming in regarding recent events, we ask for your patience,” let alone
“The cash-out window in the client may not at every moment be available due to our systems being overloaded. We ask for your understanding, your money is safe.”

Anything like the above messages would have been enough to more or less reassure most players in those couple of days when uncertainty overcame the online poker world. PokerStars, for example, did not miss promoting their upcoming tournaments and even the restart of a server, right after Black Friday; why was it hard to communicate BF-related events, then?

What do you say as a player? What could have been done differently?

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