Monday, March 26, 2007

"Betting is pretty much like liquor: you can make it illegal, but you can't make it unpopular."
Arthur Baer

Dear Lord, I truly want to uber it up but the latest Neteller news coupled with Lee Jones resignation from Poker Stars has taken me aback.

But before I address these troubling times, let's get back to the mystery of the monster dogfish in a can that sells like veritable hotcakes in Russia.

I'm enclosing a shot of the label for any readers who may speak Russian or know someone who does who can help with the translation. My kingdom for a Russian poker player right now!

Someone emailed me and said it was eel, but I'm looking for some confirmation to put this matter to rest.

Moving quickly back to poker.....

Neteller now freezing Canadian funds? The venerable and uber ambassador of online poker, Lee Jones, no longer working at the #1 online poker site? Who on earth is going to replace Lee?

I sure as hell wouldn't wanna be the guy (or girl - HAH!) following up Mr. Jones legendary stint - it would be like following Hendrix on stage. Why bother?

I mean, this isn't a big surprise but I don't think it bodes well.

From Lee Jones - cash in my chips, please

Hi all –
It is with great delight and profound regret that I announce that, effective April 1st, 2007, I will no longer be the poker room manager at PokerStars. [1]

The good news is that I am still going to be part of the PokerStars family. I will be working for John Duthie in the EPT, doing organization, hosting, and TV commentary. Furthermore, I will still be working as a consultant for PokerStars, helping with some PokerStars events, such as the PCA at the Atlantis and the World Cup of Poker. And I will show up sometimes at Sunday Million and WCOOP final tables.

Why the change? Well, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my horizons and stretch some new muscles. I will be at all the EPT events, doing final table announcing, and commentary on the TV shows and webcasts. [2] I love meeting and hanging out with the players so this will be great fun for me. And it will give me time to do some other projects, including actually playing a little poker!

Of course, the regret comes from leaving a job that I’ve had, and loved, for three and a half years. I’ve gotten to watch PokerStars go from a promising enterprise in third place on the online poker ladder to the clear market leader. And working hard daily to stay there. The people at PokerStars are an extraordinary bunch and I’ve been honored to be part of that team. I’m not going to start naming names for two reasons: (1) I’d be sure to leave out a really important name, and (2) there are simply too many of them. But from the senior management to the customer service representatives, these people have become not only colleagues but friends. I will miss acutely the day-to-day interaction with them.

I will also miss the day-to-day contact with the thousands of PokerStars players that I’ve come to know via email. The support you’ve given me these past years has been overwhelming and I am quite humbled by it. Furthermore, you’ve been quick to provide constructive criticism when I’ve made a wrong turn, and that’s just as important. I trust that you will provide my successor [3] with the same support and constructive criticism that you’ve given me.

But as I said, I’ll still be around. I’ll be at plenty of live events (particularly in Europe), and I’ll be occasionally posting here. Most of my posts will be signed “Regards, Lee”, indicating it’s my personal opinion. If I have cause to post representing the EPT, I’ll be sure to note that.

But for now, I’ll sign off as I have since October of 2003, proud to say…

Best regards,
Lee Jones

PokerStars Poker Room Manager

[1] No, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

[2] The first webcast, from the Dortmund, Gernany EPT, was the nuts – people loved it. We’re going to do it from Monte Carlo too and it will be bigger and better.

[3] That person is yet to be named, but we’ve got a few really good candidates.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this. It's possible - it's a Monday night and I'm getting seriously toasted despite the early hour. Damn day job.

Or perhaps it's the press releases from today about Neteller and Canada.
NETELLER Announces Service Changes to Canadian and Turkish Market

Did NETELLER stop allowing Canadian members to make fund transfers with online gambling sites?
With a recent review of its service to Canadian members, NETELLER announced that members who reside in Canada will no longer be able to transfer funds to and from online gambling sites. Read the most recent press release.

When is the last day that I can transfer funds with an online gambling site?
On April 9, 2007 all transfers to and from online gambling sites will be disabled for Canadian members.

Why did NETELLER make this decision?
NETELLER decided to cease online gambling transactions for Canadian members due to increased uncertainty about the status of certain activities related to online gambling in Canada.

"certain activities related to online gambling in Canada."

wtf - I think I need a translator on this shit, too.

I've picked out two 2+2 threads debating this strangeness.

Neteller and the Monroe Doctrine: Get out of North America or else

So just why *are* all the e-wallets pulling out of Canada???

I suppose this is just a blip in the grand scheme of things.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't document poker author, Bob Ciaffone, suddenly appearing on 2+2 to give us a Neteller update last week.

The March 16, 2007 hearing of case of two former Neteller Board members, Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebre, was postponed for 30 days, rescheduled by the judge hearing the case to April 16, according to an announcement by the Information Office of the United States Attorney, Southern District of New York. According to Information Officer Rebekah Carmichael, this postponement would not have been possible without the agreement of both the prosecutor and the defendants.

Lawrence and Lefebre were arrested on January 15, 2007, and charged with conspiring to transfer funds with the intent to promote illegal gambling. Both men had resigned from the Neteller Board of Directors by October 13, 2006, the date where the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act became law. According to reports issued by Neteller, about 95 percent of the company’s money transfers involved internet gambling companies. The charge is made that 85 percent of that business was North American, with three-quarters of that with US customers.

All Neteller money belonging to US customers is now frozen. Barred are payments by any mode from US accounts.

This means no transfers to the Neteller debit card, peer to peer transfers, or purchases from merchants.

Neteller claims that the total number of frozen assets belonging to US poker players and other US gamblers are about 55 million dollars. Money already in the Neteller debit card, which is handled by a Louisiana bank, appears to still be accessible at this time.

This postponement comes as a disappointment to poker players hoping to have their Neteller money made retrievable sooner rather than later.


I'm out of gas here. I just hit an awful link. Complete and utter buzz kill. Just be thankful I'm not sharing it. Trust me.

And now that I failed you in my uber, go take solace in Hoy's massive post about winning a WSOP seat. Can You Say W-S-O-P?

Link of the Day:
Winning Souls to Christ in The World of Warcraft


Christian gamers are also excited that they are able to live out their faith in the same way the early True Christians™ did, before their religion was sissified by liberalism, science, and political correctness. "It is such a rush to kill other players who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Lord," says one gamer. "I feel like I can really practice my faith the way God intended it. It is like I'm fighting alongside Christians of old, instead of the pansies and sissies from my Sunday school class."

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