February 05, 2010

Uproar continues over PartyPoker play chips decision

The uproar over online poker site PartyPoker’s decision earlier this week to limit the maximum amount a person can have in their play money account continues to dominate discussion in the online poker community.

Earlier this week, PartyPoker took the step to cap earnings in the play money games to a maximum of 250,000 chips. When players woke up on Tuesday morning, many people who had built up millions of these chips through years of play found that their accounts had been reset. An earlier story on Poker News Daily this week stated that the PartyPoker wanted to “stop the transferring of chips from account-to-account outside of regular hands of poker,” according to the site's blog. In the same posting, PartyPoker was adamant about its decision, saying, “We will not reverse our decision.”

Seemingly behind the decision was the selling of play money chips outside of the playing arena on PartyPoker. As detailed in the story on Poker News Daily, some sites offered one billion chips for $400. This, in PartyPoker’s mind, made for inequities in the play money games.

In an e-mail that Poker News Daily obtained from a PartyPoker player, the site went into greater detail about its decision. “For the benefit of the vast majority of our play money players, we have taken the decision to restrict the maximum number of play chips any single player may earn to (250,000 chips) because a very small minority of poker players have been disrupting games by betting large amounts on any kind of hand,” the e-mail stated. “They may think it’s fun but it’s certainly not for other players who understand fair play and enjoy the fun and excitement of playing poker games for free.”

The e-mail continues with a statement that PartyPoker is looking to keep the games fair for all who participate on the play money tables: “We do not tolerate unfair play in any form, whether on our play money or our real money sites. This is for your benefit. This restriction does not affect Real Money accounts as their play money balance remains unchanged from one login to the next.”

The discussion of the move by PartyPoker has resulted in one of the most commented on stories in the history of Poker News Daily. Players related their experiences of how they had built up millions of chips, only to see them disappear in the move by PartyPoker. Several readers have angrily declared that they will no longer be PartyPoker customers.

Poker News Daily reader Troy stated in his comment, “It’s a shame, I really enjoyed the site. 30 Mil gone. So am I. Fortunately there are other sites. I will check back a few times over the next month to see if they re-think their policy otherwise I will never play there again.” Victoria, another Poker News Daily reader, wrote, “I cannot believe PP had done this without warning, it was a fun site. Now I am broke…(It) took me two years to build up my account. I was a loyal player here, not anymore. What a shame.”

Others involved in the Poker News Daily discussion stated that there could be legal action in the works. Reader Sweet Tee opened up this line of action in saying, “It’s a shame. We had to go to the U. S. Attorney General’s office and they recommended a law firm to file a class action suit again PartyPoker since (they) won’t listen. We will shut them down.” An e-mail sent to Sweet Tee was not returned.

According to Poker News Daily reader Frank Bruehl, the decision to strip play chip accounts down to 250,000 hasn’t affected those that have real money accounts on PartyPoker: “Why the real money accounts still got their play chips? (They) are able to build up more without getting reset to 250k?” A majority of the comments seemed to take PartyPoker to task for seemingly discriminating against U.S. players, who cannot play in the cash game tables on the site. Others detailed their enjoyment of the play money games for their camaraderie and physical inability to enter a live casino.

Poker News Daily has contacted PartyPoker regarding their policy change and were told by a spokesperson, “We have not had any real money players in the U. S. since October 2006, when the law changed. All play money players accounts have been capped. The reasons for the move were clearly stated and explained.” PartyPoker has also stated that this policy will not be reversed despite the backlash.

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