Monday, February 26, 2007

What Payment Avenue Next? Lee Jones Mentions PayTru in Sunday Million Chat

Sweating the big online tournaments as Sunday night ebbs into Monday morning has few redeeming social qualities, though it is a steady gig, and occasionally, sometimes little tidbits of information drop into place that offer insight as to what the sites themselves are thinking.

Poker Stars' poker room manager, Lee Jones, is always on hand for the final table of the Sunday Million, and when one of the final-table survivors had a question about new payment-processing options, Jones had a nugget or two to share. Here's the chat:

GrinderMJ: Lee this may not be time to ask but
GrinderMJ: do you have any timetable for a new third money processor?
Lee Jones [PokerRoom Manager] : Hi Grinder - send me an email, I'm happy to discuss whatever I can.
GrinderMJ: Ok, ty lee
Lee Jones [PokerRoom Manager] : Regarding deposits for our U.S. players, we have a guy in Costa Rica named "KT" - he's in charge of payments processing, and he and his staff are looking for new legit deposit methods 24/7.
Lee Jones [PokerRoom Manager] : Obviously, we don't want some kind of fly-by-night company - after all, we're trusting them with *your* money.
Lee Jones [PokerRoom Manager] : But the new PayTru thing looks very good to me.

I rather like the "guy in Costa Rica" part, but that's irrelevant, and how yer elephant got in my pajamas I'll never know. (Blame Groucho.) The comment, though offers one more daub of the brush to the new panorama of deposit and withdrawal methods that currently being created by online poker.

PayTru, as with several other sites receiving current play, is a virtual and disposable debit card that can be used at virtually any online site. These deposit methods are not e-wallets, which have now been shown to have a major pressure point in terms of the way they are connected to the U.S. banking system. As for payouts, it looks as though physical checks and (perhaps) direct wire transfers are the fallback methods of choice. With rumors about ePassporte and the other surviving e-wallets always swirling, it's clear that a poker site that offers only e-wallet methods of funding (and perhaps more importantly, of processing payouts) is a site ill-prepared for the modern online poker landscape.

We're in a time of transition in online poker. I suspect that a number of marginal poker sites are going to discover payment processing to be the financial stumbling block that encourages them to get out of the biz. Most of the sites of this type are rooms you'd barely recognize, and frankly, the online poker world might be better off without them in the long run, anyway. Reality is a bit harsh, at that.

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