WSOP Online Suffers Criticism after Successful Summer

WSOP Online Suffers Criticism after Successful Summer

The World Series of Poker hosted nine online events this summer, all of which were open to poker players in New Jersey and Nevada. All of them garnered impressive participation, and they collectively awarded millions of dollars.

However, problems with subsequent online poker cashouts and incorrect hand payouts have plagued the WSOP-dot-com site ever since.

While most of the problems seem to have been addressed, player frustrations and poor response time from the poker site have left a bad feeling among many players.

The regulated US market is supposed to be the most trustworthy and reliable, as it should discourage players from playing on offshore poker sites that are comparatively less regulated, but recent events have left players wondering how to view today’s market as a whole.

Successful Summer

The WSOP offered a record nine online poker bracelet events in the summer of 2019.

The first time that the WSOP offered its own online bracelet event was in 2015, and they did it again in 2016. Three were on the schedule during the 2017 WSOP, and that number increased to four in 2018, the first year that New Jersey players were also able to compete.

The 2019 schedule took it to another level, and it worked. The nine events tallied more than $9.88 million in prize money in total via 14,127 player entries. The biggest prize pool of them all recorded in the $3,200 buy-in NLHE High Roller. That tournament attracted 593 entries and a $1.8 million prize pool, awarding more than $411K to its winner, Brandon Adams.

Overall success was partially due to the good fortune of a US District Court decision against the US Department of Justice. The ruling in early June stopped the DOJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act that would have blocked online gaming of any kind across state lines, which would have prevented the WSOP from offering its online bracelet events to players in New Jersey.

With record-setting numbers and the avoidance of a block on interstate online poker, the WSOP should have been able to rest on its successful summer laurels.

Frustrations Begin with Chip Error

Just days after the WSOP summer series ended, Jon “jetsfan14” Borenstein played a Sunday tournament online at the WSOP site. The video he posted seemed to show that he was due to win the main pot from the hand and should’ve been awarded a certain number of chips, but that did not happen.

The general consensus was that the side pot was not calculated correctly.

Borenstein contacted the online poker site and provided the video, but he began to express frustration online when a day went by with no response. They eventually did contact the player, inform him that it was a glitch that was being fixed, and award him three tournament tickets worth $320 each (the buy-in for the tournament he was playing when said incident took place).

While satisfied with the financial compensation, Borenstein was concerned that the incident happened at all and was merely chalked up to a glitch.

Delayed Payouts Become Concerning

Players may have been able to set aside one chip glitch, but payout delays became concerning as well. And after having been hurt by sites like Lock Poker and abandoned by others like Full Tilt Poker in recent years with regard to payouts, the community as a whole is not very tolerant of unnecessary payout delays, especially from a site that is supposed to be regulated and virtually flawless.

Well-known poker pro took to Twitter on July 26 to publicize a payout delay of $2,108 that had been requested on July 19. The money was supposed to be transferred from his WSOP online poker account to PayPal, but he felt that he was getting the run-around from customer representatives, only making the delay more obvious and irritating.

Other players began to voice their concerns as well. Poker pro Katie Stone noted that these were not isolated incidents and that a regular online player had been experiencing significant difficulties with a $20K withdrawal for approximately one month.

Either the bad publicity swirling and the worries mounting about WSOP’s payout abilities worked or the “problem” was resolved, but many players did begin reporting that they were receiving their payments around the end of July. It is unclear if all situations were handled in that manner.

Problems Resolved?

While the WSOP chose not to reply to concerned players on Twitter or use social media to allay the fears of the public, WSOP Head of Online Poker Bill Rini did eventually speak with US Bets to respond to the growing concerns.

Rini said, “During this WSOP, we had a record number of deposits, and normally people deposit and withdraw to the same payment method. This year, we had a lot of people asking for PayPal withdrawals who had deposited cash at the cage.”

He went on to explain that the operator keeps money on PayPal and other payment processing sites to handle deposits, but the number of PayPal requests were more than anticipated. “It depleted the PayPal pool,” he said, “and unfortunately, due to the volume of requests, the process took a little longer than normal.”

As of July 30, Rini said the problems had been nearly resolved, apologies sent to affected players, and the clearing of the backlog of payments was in process.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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