Saturday, December 22, 2007

Antigua Settles with US Over Gambling Prohibition

Thanks to Mark Gritter for pointing out that the WTO reached a decision allowing Antigua to ignore United States copyrights worth up to $21,000,000 per year. That's practically nothing on the international scale.

Bad news, but on the plus side I've had no difficulties at all with Poker Stars E-checks. Quick and easy deposit method for any US or Canadian players looking to scratch their texas hold'em itch.

Details at Yahoo.

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Bots Busted at Full Tilt Poker

A moment of silence for our fallen comrades and the hundreds of thousands of dollars Full Tilt has confiscated. Reportedly, Full Tilt has begun redistributing the siezed funds after concluding that they were using artificial intelligence software or pokerbots at the low limit NL ring games as well as higher heads-up fixed limit tables.

pokergirl z

FT Bot Bust

US WTO Gaming Deal Bypasses Antigua

In their never ending fight to protect us from ourselves, the United States government pens a settlement with the European Union to continue the US prohibition of online poker.

If you've been following at all, you know that Antigua has caused quite a stink in the WTO. They haven't taken kindly to America's gambling prohibition which violates a WTO (World Trade Organization) ruling. Antigua had threatened to suspend United States trademark and copyright rights in their country, which would have allowed anyone in Antigua to legally produce bootlegs DVDs, counterfeit clothing, pirated software, or just about any other product produced by a domestic company. These black market producers would have no fear of prosecution (unless returning to the United States, no doubt).

Antigua hoped to leverage this threat against the United States after the US apologetically refused to abide by the WTO ruling in Antigua's favor. Antigua was the shining beacon of hope for American online poker players, but now the beacon has dimmed...snuffed out by a US/EU settlement deal that sparked an immediate 4% drop in the share price of PartyGaming in the UK.

This EU deal has the European Commission signing a deal in Geneva that agrees to the United States restrictions on international banking and online gambling (Don't forget that the WTO already ruled that this policy was in violation). In concession, the US agrees to give the EU new trade opportunities in research, postal, warehousing, and testing service business sectors. Oh, thank you big government! Thank you for outsourcing more American jobs rather than allowing your citizens to easily fund their micro buy-in sit-n-go habits. If the average citizen can't "click his mouse and lose his house", I guess he doesn't need a job, eh?

Japan and Canada have reportedly also agreed to similar terms. It looks like Antigua's push to fully legalize online poker in the United States has lost its momentum. A major setback, obviously, but there is still hope. (We're looking at you, Barney Frank)

EU and US Strike a Deal in Online Gambling Fight Antigua Left Out in the Cold

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fold? Call? Whatever You Say, Miss

Smoking hot Ashley Leggat at the Luxor casino donking off for some Nicky Hilton poker tournament. Why don't they ever look this good at my table? I'm sure it's more difficult to count outs, calculate equity, and read your opponent with a girl like this batting her eyes at you.

I think I'd sacrifice a bit of my winrate for that kind of view.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Classic Money Laundering Fraud Scam with an Online Poker Twist

An acquaintance of mine just fell for a variation on his Full Tilt Poker account. The scam is the same, only the payment service changes between wire transfer, paypal, or in this online gambling account. It's quite ingenious, actually.

First of all, the criminal befriends his victim at a low limit table. He becomes a regular, chatting it up and letting slip how he'd be playing at higher limits if only he could deposit into the site. Citing a banking problem, or some other regulation excuse, the culprit offers to wire money directly into your banking account if you'll only transfer some chips to them.

So far, you're thinking this is an obvious scam. Only an idiot would fall for something like this.

Oh, but it gets sneakier.

Smelling the obvious scam, the victim protests, but the culprit convinces him to take the conversation to email. After a few emails are exchanged, the victim is given an offer he can't refuse: Take the $1,000 wire transfer and transfer $900 in chips, but only after the $1,000 wire transfer has cleared and the funds are available at your bank. Wow...this isn't the usual scam, now. I mean, if the guy is willing to wait until the money clears before expecting his player to player cash transfer at the poker site then he's putting all his trust in the victim, right? How could the victim be robbed at this point?

The victim agrees to the plan. The wire transfer hits his bank. A few days later and the funds are available and the victim thinks everything is done.

Now, fast forward a couple of weeks. The victim receives a call from his bank's fraud department. It seems that someone way across the world is angry that they didn't receive the new laptop they bought from the victim for $1,000 on Ebay.

What's going on here??

Here's the scammer's plans laid bare. After setting up this "no-risk" deal with the victim found at the poker table, the culprit immediately went to Ebay and created a new auction with a buy it now price of $1k. The item sells, but the scammer gives the winning bidder the victim's payment information instead of his own. That's right...the wire transfer into the victim's bank or paypal account came from a third party: The unwitting winning ebay bidder.

In the end, the transfer into the victim's bank account does indeed clear and become available. Of course! It is a legitimate transfer from somebody who expects you to wait for it to clear before shipping a $1k item.

In the end, the poker victim loses his $1,000 and is wrapped up in an ugly money laundering and wire fraud investigation by his bank. Not a lot of fun when you are constantly moving money between offshore banks, online gambling sites, and your local bank.

I haven't seen much talk about this exact type of scam happening before, but here is a good resource that explains how these organized crime groups run theft and money laundering scams in the same manner. The site is a little low rent, but he's a very thorough watchdog against online money laundering scams.