We have received yet another warning about Lock Poker and their predatory practices towards affiliates who promote their once promising brand. Lock Poker is a U.S. friendly online poker room that owns the Revolution Gaming Network, once known as the Cake Poker Network. On May 31, 2012, Lock Poker left the Merge Gaming Network to create this new network.
The latest incident involves the Lock Poker affiliate program. A Lock Poker affiliate referred a player that deposited with fraudulent funds. This is known in the industry as a chargeback. A chargeback occurs when a player deposits with a credit card that was not theirs or loses their deposit and calls their bank denying that the deposit was legitimate. If the bank believes the player, the charge gets reversed and the poker room loses the deposit.
This Lock Poker affiliate chose the CPA payment model. This means that the affiliate is paid a flat amount for each player that they refer once the player meets a predetermined rake requirement. If a referred player under a CPA affiliate plan turns out to be fraudulent player, the affiliate program would typically remove payment for this one player from the affiliate’s pay. This is done to prevent shady affiliates from creating fake player accounts in an attempt to steal commission.
Lock Poker’s affiliate program did not just deduct the commission from this one player; they deducted 11 times the amount of the commission. This means that not only did the affiliate lose the money from the fraud player; he lost the commission from ten other referred players that were legitimate. This is not stated in Lock Poker’s affiliate terms and is not something any other affiliate program has been known to do in the past.
The affiliate tried contacting Lock Poker’s affiliate managers. The affiliate states that he was ignored. He eventually posted in a private forum at Poker Affiliate Listings. The consensus from other affiliates was that this was an honest mistake and that Lock Poker would correct it. Lock Poker finally responded to the affiliate. They stated that this was not an error; the affiliate would lose 11 times the amount of one CPA from this player, a player the affiliate did not know. The only connection this player has to the affiliate is that they clicked on a link on the affiliate’s website.
After Lock Poker acknowledged that this was no mistake, and that this was how they do business, the thread was moved into a public forum. Jennifer Larson, the founder and CEO of Lock Poker, discovered the public discussion of this commission theft. She contacted the affiliate in question with this email:
I am the owner and CEO of Lock and Revolution Gaming. It has been brought to my attention that you have been slamming us on the forums and just being overall disrespectful. We consider all our partners as just that true partners. We would never go out into a public forum and disrespect you but we would work to resolve any issues.
Based on your actions we have decided to no longer work with you. Gerry and Shane have come to me on multiple occasions with the constants issues and just overall stress they feel when it comes to you and its just not the making of a healthy partnership. We invest over 500K into affiliate marketing a month and regardless of any problems that may happen both parties are always looking for resolution. That does not appear to be what you are looking for at all.
Shane will make sure that all CPAs are paid in full on July 1st. Please remove us from your sites as we no longer wish to work with you.
After being ignored by Lock Poker’s affiliate support trying to resolve what was thought to be a mistake, this affiliate was banned from Lock Poker’s affiliate program. Even if the affiliate in question decided that they would no longer promote Lock Poker after this incident, they are certain to have many players that signed up through their websites that have never made a deposit. If these players convert to real money players after July 1st, and many will, the affiliate will also lose commission from those players. This means that not only did Lock Poker steal what we believe is over $1000 from this affiliate, Lock Poker is also going to steal their potential future earnings.
Lock Poker Pros Poaching Existing Carbon Poker Players
Now mind you this is not the first time that Lock Poker has failed to honor their word. I actually have had my own issues with Lock Poker in regards to their “pros” PM spamming at 2+2 and emailing my players directly who were under me at Carbon Poker, Merge’s BEST and most trusted poker room. The so-called “pro” team at Lock openly lured away higher-raking players away from me and offered them ILLEGAL deals that Merge unfortunately has failed to address and police.
Lock Poker and their in-house pro players have been doing this practice for as long as Lock has become even a somewhat viable player in the world of online poker. They would target players at other Merge Gaming skins (like my players at Carbon Poker) and give existing players rakeback deals that violated the rules of the Merge Gaming Network. I was able to prove that I was not paid for referring players to Lock Poker but their head affiliate manager Shane denied it and never paid me despite the proof I provided.
Even after gathering numerous emails and screenshots of Lock’s pro team enticing my players with illegal rakeback deals I was completely ignored and the subject was swept under the rug. It was after this I decided I would NEVER promote Lock Poker in the future and would do what I can to show other affiliates they were a waste of marketing space.
Lock Poker Fails to Honor Player Promotion
Affiliates are not the only ones being stiffed by Lock Poker. Lock Poker launched a promotion shortly after Black Friday forced PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB.com out of the U.S. online poker market. The promotion gave players an extra 10-20% in rakeback above the Merge Gaming rakeback cap. The extra rakeback was to be paid to player’s casino accounts without any requirement to play the bonus on casino games. According to the original promotion, players could just transfer the money to their poker account or withdraw it.
May 2011 was the first month of the promotion. Lock Poker failed to pay this promotion after the month ended. While the May bonus was still owed to players, following months were paid in a timely manner. Players that acted quickly were able to transfer the June bonus to their poker account without any casino play requirement. A few days after June’s payment, Lock Poker, told players that they would have to wager the casino bonus 40 times to be able to cash it out or transfer it to the poker room. If a player had a $1000 bonus, they would now have to wager $40,000 in the casino to move the money. This lowered the value of the bonus by about 20%.
Not only were the terms changed publicly after the fact, another change of terms was discovered while players attempted to clear the bonus. Most games besides slots actually had a 160 times wager requirement. This meant that players must wager $160,000 for every $1000 in bonus. This made the bonus virtually worthless, as most players would bust before meeting the new wager requirement.
As if that was not bad enough, when the May bonus was finally paid, it was under these new terms even though the bonus was earned under previous terms.
The few players that were able to clear the 160 times wager hurdle found yet another undisclosed term. The bonus itself could not be cashed out, only the winnings from the wagers. A player that had a $1000 bonus would have to have over $1000 to cash out anything. Even then, they could only cash out the amount over $1000. Once the withdraw request was received, the $1000 bonus disappeared from their account. The chances of having a profit after $160,000 wagered on a $1000 bonus are near zero.
Lock Poker claimed that they did not understand their own promotion when advertising it. This is no excuse. No company creates a promotion that they fail to understand. Even if this were the case, any legitimate company would honor the promotion that they advertised, not change the terms repeatedly as the promotion continued and refuse to honor the terms that were advertised.
Players complained in Lock Poker’s sponsored forum at Two Plus Two. The thread contains 1349 posts at the time of this article. Lock Poker claimed in that thread that they were unable to make these extra rakeback payments any other way. One poster with knowledge of Merge Gaming’s operations refuted that claim. The poster stated that Lock Poker was simply making excuses to try and get out of paying players that they assumed were going to leave Lock Poker anyway.
Bluff Poker Challenge Scandal
Lock Poker sponsored the Bluff Online Poker Challenge. The goal of the promotion was to win as much as possible during April 2011. Just days after the event ended, Lock Poker announced that their in-house pro Jose “Girah” Macedo was disqualified after initially being declared the winner. The disqualification was said to be because someone else had logged into the winner’s account during the promotion. It was later discovered that the winner actually received a $100,000 chip dump in the last day of the promotion to help him win the race.
At the time, no player tracking companies tracked the Merge Gaming Network. This meant that the online poker community would have no way of seeing that Macedo won. There were observers that did see the match though, partly because Macedo tweeted minutes before the heads up match started that he was playing. He then bragged about it on Twitter after his big win.
Many in the online poker community called into question why Lock Poker did not notice this massive chip dump that helped Macedo win the Bluff Poker Challenge. Many believed that Lock Poker was actually trying to cover up the chip dump that helped their house pro win the challenge. After Macedo was disqualified, the second place winner was awarded first place.
Poor Support and Cashout Issues
Affiliates have long complained about Lock Poker’s poor affiliate support. It seems that when affiliates have simple questions or ask about how to promote Lock Poker, they receive a quick response. If there is a problem, Lock Poker’s affiliate support is nowhere to be found. Emails and instant messages are often ignored when payments are late or there is a dispute. Some affiliates complain about going many months without receiving their affiliate payment.
Players have their own complaints. Lock Poker’s player support is close to, if not the worst in the online poker industry. Emails often go unanswered. If a player does receive a reply to their inquiry, it often does not answer their questions. There are also intermittent payment issues after they once were processing cashouts within several weeks or less!
We cannot stress enough how much players and affiliates should avoid Lock Poker. The company has been open for less than two years and has been involved in several huge scandals that they’ve basically swept under the rug. Lock Poker support is among the worst in the industry, and their payment history is questionable at best within the past 3 to 4 weeks, especially. It’s time people realize that people like Jennifer Larson and Shane Bridges have only done their best to sink their brand further into the ground and are starting to give players more reason to NOT play at Lock Poker.
100% up to $3,000 Bonus
Bovada is our most recommended ONLINE CASINO and POKER ROOM for US players with excellent deposit options. Get your 100% signup bonus today.