December 2008
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ECrooks Direct?

I thought I’d have a nice little piece to write about some seriously profitable bonus abusing.  Instead, it’s turned into a rant about me almost getting robbed by ECash Direct.  Allegedly.

I’d hoped the focus of the post would be about just how many magazines I’d bought this month to take advantage of a promotion by paysafecard (yes, it’s all lower case) that matched every £10 voucher you bought with another £10.

Foolishly, they had launched this offer without any restriction on the number of times any one person could use it.  You don’t need to give any personal details to buy a voucher, or to redeem a voucher.  All they seem to have done is to crudely banhammered my IP addresses so that I can’t ever deposit using paysafecard from home again.

That’s OK, I’m pretty resourceful.

However, I’m sure you’d agree that any chance of being blocked from redeeming the vouchers you buy does introduce an element of risk to the paysafe system.  I did a batch of these on my mobile phone, so anyone else trying to deposit through T-Mobile’s web proxy will be shit out of luck.

Every copy of Poker Player and Inside Poker this month carried the £10 bonus.  Poker Player costs £2.50 and Inside Poker is £3, so that means every magazine you buy is worth at least £7.

When I go shopping, I shop like a man.  No messing about.  I came back with a total of 154 magazines.

Don’t believe me?  Feel free to count.

I worked out the value of all this merchandise, after taking into account a few discount coupons and the cost of carrier bags at WH Smith, to be £1149.81 in my favour.

Certainly worth a couple of tanks of petrol and a few hours driving around to get them.

Hitting the major shopping centres and train stations is definitely the way to go: Manchester Arndale was a goldmine (30 mags) with Birmingham New Street an honourable second (24 mags).

While what I’ve been doing is clearly not within the spirit of the promotion it is certainly not against the rules.  I found an edge, and by jove I was going to maximise it.

I redeemed 25 paysafe vouchers at Dusk Till Dawn Poker.  That’s £250 of my own money and £250 matched with the magazine bonuses.  I tried my best to give them some action, but Cryptologic network is on its last legs (the last few remaining operators are actually moving to Boss Media in January) so it was a real struggle.  I played a bit, lost a bit then attempted to cash out.

I’d used my DTD account only once before, to pre-register for their opening night tournament.  My debit card had since expired so I called up ECash – the payment processor shared by all Cryptologic poker sites – to see how I could make a withdrawl.  Easy peasy, they said.  Just make a minimum deposit on the new card, then you can cash out the whole lot.

If only it was that easy.  I also needed to print and sign a form authorising that debit card transaction, and send them a copy of the card and a copy of my photo ID.

That’s not a big deal really, this happens a lot.  But usually once you complete the ID check that’s the end of it.  Then you can get at your money again.

The ID check was fine, but then they told me "your account is currently undergoing a deeper poker investigation that was issued by the DTD management".

This, I have since discovered, is complete horse shit.

I spoke to a manager at the Dusk Till Dawn club this evening who was extremely helpful, despite this not really being his problem.  He told me – as I suspected from the cracks that had begun to show in the yarns that ECash kept spinning me – that DTD would not ask for an account to be closed or investigated.

"That would always come from ECash", he said and confirmed that DTD did not carry out any investigations themselves.

He went to make a few calls and just minutes later my account was back online and all the money was there.

I can’t be bothered to compile and publish all their emails (most of it says the same thing over and over again anyway) but here’s the gist: ECash lie.

By email they told me:

This account will remain closed as it is being investigated by DTD, we can’t intervene until we have news from them.

Unfortunately, the DTD dedicated investigation team is not an internal department, nor does it operate in conjunction to our (or their) call centre.

However when I spoke to a supervisor at ECash he told me he had spoken to the security team, who were "just around the corner from my desk".

I don’t actually know which is the fib – that they are in the same building or that they are not an internal department – because I wasn’t able to speak to someome else who was apparently right next door, and he gave me an email address:  So that’s for DTD and nothing to do with ECash, is it?

They kept hammering on about not being able to do anything until DTD say so, yet DTD knew nothing about it until I called them.

So why?  Well, I have a wild conspiracy theory.

When the Cryptologic network deals its last hand next month, ECash Direct may very well cease to exist too.  If my account is closed and therefore not migrated to Boss Media (who use a different payment processor) what chance would I have of getting at that money?  It could "just disappear" very easily.

I just can’t think of another logical explanation that makes any sense.

Sure, I abused a promotion.  But the victim was not DTD Poker or ECash, it was paysafecard.  It might have cost them a few quid in fees, in which case just make me generate a bit more rake before I can withdraw it.  Don’t call me a cheater and try to steal my money.

Did I collude or chip dump?  Of course not.  Their "deeper poker investigation" should not have taken long to see this either.  I counted my hand histories and I’d played one turbo sit-and-go and 173 ring game hands, mostly nitting it up at $1/$2 fixed limit.  It’s going to take a while to dump off £500 at those limits.

The whole time, I couldn’t get any explanation about what exactly was being investigated.  On the phone they told me it was most likely a "random security check".  How many poker sites do you know that randomly close their players’ accounts?

All I wanted to know was what they were looking for and how long it would take them to check it out.  They wouldn’t say so directly, but they were accusing me of something illegal.  I felt dirty. 

Bonus whoring should never make you feel dirty.

Anyway, if you want a copy of this month’s Poker Player or Inside Poker, just ask.  I have a few to spare…