Unregulated US online poker site Jao Poker has caused a stir after going offline and locking up player funds without any prior warning.
Trouble for the Cambodian-based poker site started on February 19, when 2+2 user “zxjaexz” wrote on the forum that their withdrawal hadn’t been processed. After explaining that the $1,550 bitcoin cashout had been lost for almost three weeks, Yogg-Saron joined the conversation to post a message from Jao Poker representative Tam Nguyen.
“FYI, I don’t have anyone’s money. I didn’t own the site. I was a promoter and game ambassador like many pros you saw. We are not the poker site’s bank, we just promote and get paid. Jao is like any other business. You do well and thrive or try to do well and can still fail. For those who joined the ride, it was good while it lasted. There are many other sites to play on. Good luck everyone,” Nguyen posted on Facebook.
Confusion Over Site’s Status
With the post appearing to suggest the site had gone under, many players started to question where their funds had gone. Unable to access the site or login to their accounts, players started to fear the worst.
“He has a cheek to wish everyone good luck. Plenty of people called him out at the start saying the site was a scam. I mean it was based in Cambodia ffs,” Yogg-Saron posted on 2+2.
It later emerged that the site hadn’t closed down, but was rather taken offline to perform an important security update. Looking to quell the vitriol directed at him and Jao Poker, Nguyen posted a video message to his followers.
As well as stating that no one at the site was out to “take people’s money,” Nguyen said that a communication error meant the update went ahead without prior warning.
In addition to removing his previous Facebook post, the representative said that players could make payment requests, but they might not be completed because of the maintenance process.
Should Players be Worried?
One comment which could ring alarm bells with players was Nguyen’s suggestion that most people don’t have a lot of cash on the site and so locked-up funds aren’t that much of an issue.
“I’m pretty sure there is nobody on the site that has more than $1,000 in their account. Games aren’t that big, and if you have $1,000 on the site, your money is still there. If you have a few hundred, don’t worry about it. If it really kills because you have a couple of hundred on the site and have to pay bills, be responsible with your money,” Nguyen said.
For Nguyen’s full explanation of what’s going on with Jao Poker, check out this video:
While we were able to create an account and login from across the pond in order to write this article, it’s worth noting Jao Poker isn’t licensed in the US, the UK, or Europe, although it claims to offer games to a “worldwide” audience.
Although it has been regulated by the Cambodian government and its RNG has been verified by iTech Labs, its presence in the US and other markets is currently unlawful.