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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

D-E-D, Dead

How's that online gambling ban working out? A look around the poker blogosphere indicates that people are playing it up at Full Tilt and PokerStars, and it looks like plenty of people are playing online when I launch a client. People must have found a decent way to fund their accounts after all.

Yesterday, I got a hankering to play a little online poker and so I installed the latest PokerStars client. It runs using WINE in Linux, so that's a bonus (for people that care about such things. Probably no one reading this. Sorry). I clicked into the funding options and saw that Visa/Mastercard was listed. Yeah, right. My card (Chase Visa) was declined for online gaming *before* Frist's sneak attack. That reminds me--has anyone seen Bill Frist lately? It does my hard good to see that pandering douchebags sometimes get what's coming to them.

So, anyway, funding options. Cashier's check or money order sounds like a lot of work. If I wanted to work, I wouldn't be looking to gamble online. So, ePassporte seemed to be the best option. From an end-user perspective, it looked mostly like Neteller, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I went through the sign-up process, and then hit the point where I had to verify that I was the cardholder by calling my credit card company and verifying the amount of a small pre-authorization charge. Are they high? Did they not notice what I just said about work?

Fuck it, I don't want to gamble that badly. There's a poker room at the local Native American Gaming Entertainment Hall, and I could always go there for a game. It turned out that ePassporte was going to get another chance, though. The pre-authorizations from ePassporte for the tiny amount, and for the larger amount I intended to transfer, triggered the anti-fraud mechanisms at Chase, and I got a call to verify the charges.

"Yep, I recognize that charge," I told the helpful gentleman on the phone. "Is there another charge in there from them? A smaller one?"

He told me that there was, and the amount. Well, this was a lot less work again, so I logged back into my ePassporte account and verified the account. I was then taken to a Verified by Visa authorization site (what. the. fuck. How many times do I have to authorize this charge?), and created a password to use. Enter password, continue on, enter deposit amount (AGAIN). Transaction is progress......Declined. That's a joke, right? Nope, Chase actually declined the charged after my many interventions to specifically allow it.

That's all she wrote for ePassporte. I'm not going to go through all that hassle for each of my credit cards until I get lucky enough for one to go through. If my experience is at all representative, online poker in the US is dead. It just seems unlikely that the masses are going to jump through all these hoops in order to play poker online. Chalk up a victory for the Nanny State.

Chalk up a victory for the horse racing lobby as well. It's still perfectly legal to bet on horses, and it's sure as hell a lot easier to deposit money with an online horse racing service (again, for the non-Windows support. Die Windows-only products).

I may or may not begin blogging regularly, but the poker content will certainly be thin. Which may not be a bad thing. My brief survey of poker blogs shows that the same bad-beat posts continue to well up*. There's no need for me to contribute more of those.

* Except, of course, for Pauly. His writing about Vegas always makes me want to jump on the next plane out.


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