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Trouble In Poker Paradise

by Ian Simpson |  Published: Jan 10, '13


I am in the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

The wire transfer for this tournament has been a nightmare. The instructions were not made clear in the first place, but after eventually moving my funds around and figuring out what screenshots of my bank statement they actually needed I finally got it sorted out in time for the main event, a $10,300 tournament.

I also sent an extra $1,000 to be used over there so I would have less cash to carry around. I finally thought this was all sorted out when I get an email in broken English saying that they have not received the transfer and that “the bank” cancelled the transaction.

After another email they tell me it was an intermediary bank that cancelled the transaction. I have done wire transactions from my bank to the Bellagio that took less than 12 hours to complete, so I don’t understand what has gone so wrong with this one.

There was a farce that occurred at EPT Barcelona involving my wire transfer which is also run by PokerStars (you can read about that on my blog entitled Poker Under Pressure In Barcelona).

Now a similar thing is happening for what should be one of the more enjoyable destinations on this Sole Survivor adventure. As it stands it has been seven days (two of which were on the weekend) and my money is still lost in limbo instead of being either in the tournament prize pool or at least back in my bank account. The worst thing is I haven’t been given a reason as to why it has been cancelled.

A popular hypothesis is that the Department of Justice are on the banks backs to watch out for money laundering that is gambling related and as such banks are being cautious about any transfers related to gambling. If that’s all it is then I can accept that, it sucks, I’ve missed the main event, but there’s always another tournament. The thing that’s really stressing me out is all of that money in limbo without an explanation as to why.

I simply cannot play when I am worried about the whereabouts of $11,300. I wouldn’t be able to focus on my game. Most people say I worry too much (on and off the felt) but I am by nature cautious with money. It doesn’t come easily and currently $11,300 of mine is missing. I don’t know where it is, my bank doesn’t know where it is and PokerStars doesn’t know where it is.

So, I’m in the Bahamas and not having a good time. I didn’t think that I would ever type such a sentence, but it’s true. I’m worried sick about what is going on with my money and as such won’t play a side event as I wouldn’t be on the top of my game. This has been an awfully expensive trip, especially since I have been unable to invest any money into some poker. One of their team said, “You’re not the only one” when I first got the chance to enquire about this, so I don’t know how many other people’s money is also lost in limbo.

I’d probably feel better if I had someone to blame, but I’ve no idea whose fault this is! PokerStars? The intermediary bank? Ghosts? Who the hell knows? But with wire transactions going so smoothly when I was at Bellagio, and having been messed around at two major PokerStars tournaments I’ve got to wonder what PokerStars are doing wrong.

On the plus side there’s Canadian Whiskey at the bar downstairs and I’ve never tried it before. Something tells me I may not remember the taste of it by tomorrow morning.

After spending a year sponsored by Paddy Power Poker through their Sole Survivor promotion, Ian Simpson went on to win the 2013 Irish Poker Open to take home €265,000 euros. He currently plans on doing some work in schools in between travelling the tournament circuit and writing for Card Player Magazine. You can find him on twitter @IanSimpsonPoker

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