Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Building Empires

Queensryche, another lost band from the '80's....

Where was I? Oh yeah. I received an email this morning from IGM-PayPro telling my that my request for a cashout at Empire Poker was in the processing stage. What was really interesting to me was that I had made no such request. The time stamp said it happened at 10:30am this morning, but I was here at work doing my damndest to look busy. What also intrigued me was the amount. $5. Wasn't that below the $50 minimum? Was my account hacked? Questions, questions, questions.

I'm a guy that likes to kill two birds with one stone. At lunch, I had to buy a new power supply for my main PC which had been shutting off at random, yet ever-decreasing intervals. Rather than take it back to work, I detoured back to casa de Blood. I logged onto Empire Poker from the PC brought back to life by an Antec 330W unit and found that my Empire account was dead.

Closed. Shutdown.

I tried to log on from a browser and got another error. Obviously I have been deleted from their systems. Why? I'm sure I'll never get a direct answer, but judging from the hoopla making the rounds on teh intarweb, I've been flagged as a bonus-whoring-no-good-son-of-a-bitch.

How short sighted on their part. Upon further research, I'm not the only person whose account has been frozen. I fully concede that my play on Empire has been during bonus reload periods and that I've cashed out after said period has expired. What's the big deal? Why make those kinds of offers in the first place.

From my perspective, I have not abused the system. I HAVE taken advantage of the system as I'm sure many others have. Is the solution to simply freeze all accounts deemed by Empire as offending? Not if you have any business sense. I will no longer be able to generate rake for Empire. I'm not 100% sure where I heard this suggestion, it may have been from Professional Poker Player(tm) Chris Halverson, but why didn't they just make bonuses ineligible for my account and let me still play?

What's even more absurd is that I'm an Empire affiliate. People have actually subscribed to Empire Poker through what used to be a banner located over there on the right. I know I've generated income to Empire through this program, yet they shut me down.

Obviously the online poker industry is becoming saturated. The barriers to entry, while not necessarily minor, are relatively easy to overcome if you've got the software, hardware and bandwidth. With so many new sites to choose from, it's not hard to imagine some parasitic behavior among sites trying to gain players at the expense of another.

I'm not sure what the required player base is for these companies to turn a profit. But I would imagine that some prudence in choosing a site should be exercised. With such a rapid growth in the online business, I am willing to bet that we will be seeing some of these companies go under in the not too distant future. Let's just hope not too much of our money goes under with them.

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