"What am I supposed to do with CheckPoints?"
-- from the December 13, 2005 Check n Raise Newsletter
Unfortunate news and dashed dreams arrived today for a handful of supposed online WSOP qualifiers, when Ongame Network skin Check n Raise poker reneged on $50,000 worth of prize packages to its member players. I first ran across the item over at Viscant's Vanity and Poker blog, which led to postings from two of the victims over at the ITH (Internet Texas Hold'em) forums.
A Canadien player posting under the handle "Caligard" was the first to share his e-mail from Check n Raise, which began with the following:
"We regret to inform you that CnR will be unable, at this time, to make a lump sum payment for the 10 WSOP seats that were won this year through the 'CheckPoints to Millions' and 'Freeway to Vegas' promotions on ChecknRaisePoker."
ChecknRaise's reneging letter continued by promising the affect players, whose seats were of varying value and added up to $50,000 in WSOP entries, that deposits equivalent to 110% of the prize values would be deposited into their accounts in monthly increments as the site's cash flow allows. "Unfortunately," continued the note, "our cash flow did not allow us to set aside sufficient funds from the time that you won your seat in March."
Not having a reserve fund or a credit line large enough to handle guaranteed commitments is a sure sign of finanacial duress, and this minor member of Pokerroom.com's network shows every sign of being on the way out. The 'Newsletter' section of the site that offered the quote at the top of the post hasn't been updated since early April. I wish the affected players the very best, but I doubt they'll see much, if any, of their promised funds.
Again, it's part of the nature of the online game that when a site runs into a virtual wall, its member players have little or no recourse in recovering their funds. Note, too, that a won prize package is no different from other account monies --- it represents an investment of resources that all the participating players ponied up at the start. In this case, Check n Raise has effectively absconded with the monies that funded those tournaments.
As to what one can do with those CheckPoints... well, that's one obvious, isn't it?