Las Vegas, Nevada – October 10, 2011 – Representatives from the online poker room Americas CardRoom (ACR) announced today their acquisition of DoylesRoom. Americas Cardroom, launched in 2001, was one of the original online poker card rooms. The site has recently re-entered the online poker world and is acquiring skins to fast-track itself to be a dominant player in the market.
“We’re very excited with the acquisition of DoylesRoom and the resulting expansion of the Americas CardRoom brand,” said an Americas CardRoom representative. “DoylesRoom’s new software that’s proving to be a player favorite coupled with their recent success in serving US players made the company attractive for a takeover.”
Current affiliate contracts and existing promotions, including October’s $50,000 Rake Race, will be honored and day to day operations will remain the same. With the acquisition, Americas CardRoom acquired the rights to the player and affiliate database, the DoylesRoom software and staff, and player liability.
“Players and affiliates can rest assured that their balances are safe and secure and Americas CardRoom will honor all of the existing DoylesRoom agreements.” continued the ACR representative. “With more liquidity being injected into the operation of the business, players can expect to see bigger guarantees, better promotions, and greater incentives for being a part of the Americas CardRoom community.”
Starting November 1st Americas CardRoom will have a $65,000 Rake Race and a brand new online poker series called the “Americas CardRoom Online Super Series” (ACROSS). They are also getting prepared to launch an innovative loyalty program to reward their players.
In a surprising change in the online poker world, recently re-launched America’s Card Room has acquired the struggling Doyles Room.
Just a few weeks ago, America’s Card Room, a premiere online poker site in the early 2000’s, found its way back into the online poker world on the Yahatay Network. Since its reopening, it stands as one of the few places that US players are able to play, and has been very aggressive in its promotion and advertising, including featuring .eu commercials on ESPN and GSN, freerolls to the Punta Cana Poker Classic, and a $65,000 monthly rake race.
Now, with the addition on the Doyle’s Room, America’s Card Room stands as one of the premiere venues still available to US players. After Doyle Brunson left Doyles Room, the possibility of Doyles Room moving has been one much anticipated. However, with this move, players remain on the same network, keep their usernames and login information, and are able to retain their current deals. For the most part, players will see very little change.
So far, the Yahatay Network has remained one of the safe and secure networks for US based players to play. With the resurgence of this once-renowned poker room, and its very aggressive marketing campaign, expect to see America’s Card Room become a household name in the poker world.
DoylesRoom and America’s Cardroom will issue a full press release sometime tonight.
DoylesRoom Poker is back, now located at DoylesRoom.ag and all this month the site that lost its “dot com” and its U.S. player base in one fell swoop back on Black Friday is racing players to big end of summer prize, specifically with its $25,000 Points Race and its Free Parking promotion.
In the $25,000 Points Race you’re not only racing other players, but you’re also racing the clock to earn as many points as you can playing at Doyles Room tables and tournaments before August 31, 2011 winds out.
Place 139th through 200th on the race leaderboard and you get $25 for your efforts. Place first on the leaderboard and get $4,000. Second place gets $2,000; third gets $1,500; fourth gets $1,200; and fifth gets $1,000.
Doyles Room will also give you cash for participating in its Frequent Player Free Parking promotion, or FPP Free Parking. In this contest you race nobody but yourself and the clock, earning as many FPPs as you can before the end of the month. Earn 25,000 FPPs in August and get $25. Each another 25,000 FPPs and get another $25. The next prize up, for earning 1000,000 more FPPs, is $100. Then, for 200,000 more FPPs, you’ll get $200. You get $500 for earning another 500,000 FPPs and, finally, $1,000 more for 1 million more FPPs. The FPP requirements are cumulative, but then again, so are the prize, giving you the possibility of collecting $1,850 for earning 1,850,000 FPPs.
After August is up, don’t be too surprised to see new races similar to these starting in September. Now that DoylesRoom Poker is back in business, we’ll tell you all about what’s coming up next there once it’s announced.
Since Black Friday, much of the poker world has been closely following the dramatic, divergent stories of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/UB, the three sites targeted by the Department of Justice’s indictment and civil complaint. However, there has been significant drama over recent months involving three other sites, too — DoylesRoom, Victory Poker, and the Cake Poker network. Targeted them selves, by a later Department of Homeland Security action (unsealed on May 23), DoylesRoom has seen its dot-com domain seized. However, prior to that action deals between DoylesRoom and Cake Poker left the latter in severe financial straits, with one consequence being the hastened demise of another, prominent site on the Cake network, Victory Poker.
The DoylesRoom-Cake Partnership — Two Years, Four Million +
Founded in 2004, DoylesRoom originally resided on the Tribeca Network before moving to Microgaming in 2007. Then in late January 2009, DoylesRoom moved once again to the Cake Poker network. At the time of that move, DoylesRoom borrowed $15 million from Cake Poker in order to settle its debts to Microgaming as well as to fund marketing campaigns going forward. (Note: Figures associated with the DoylesRoom-Cake partnership are close estimates of amounts given to us by several associates close to DoylesRoom, Cake, and Victory Poker.)
DoylesRoom remained part of the Cake Poker network for two years before moving once again, this time joining the Yatahay network in late January 2011. At the time of that move, DoylesRoom still owed significant money to Cake Poker.
Incidentally, while the exact nature Doyle Brunson’s previous involvement with the site that bears his name is unknown, a Twitter message from @TexDolly sent on January 10, 2011 noted he was “off to Cosra Rica for three days” (sic), suggesting a trip to DoylesRoom’s headquarters in Costa Rica. On May 13, 2011, a week-and-a-half before the DOJ domain seizure of doylesroom.com, Brunson announced he was terminating his endorsement contract with DoylesRoom.
Of that original loan of $15 million from Cake Poker to DoylesRoom, $2.5 million had been kept on deposit by Cake. Meanwhile, DoylesRoom had paid back approximately $9 million, with about $6.8 million still being owed. Minus the amount kept on deposit, DoylesRoom still owed Cake Poker about $4.3 million at the time of the move to Yatahay. Of that amount, DoylesRoom paid back 10 cents on the dollar to Cake, or about $430,000.
In other words, Cake Poker’s two-year relationship with DoylesRoom cost the network about $4 million plus altogether, a big hit for a relatively modest-sized network. To their credit players were always paid on time and the network continued to function as always. But there have been consequences.
As Cake Crumbles, Victory Suffers
Some of those consequences affected Cake Poker’s internal operations. According to a former Cake Poker employee, almost half of Cake’s staff were laid off. While the network’s operating budget was severely affected, it should be noted that at no point have player funds on deposit been at risk, although that situation remained tenuous for a couple of months.
Another consequence of the DoylesRoom-Cake Poker separation concerned Victory Poker, the site headed by 28-year-old CEO Dan Fleyshman. Launched in February 2010, Victory Poker began as part of the Everleaf Network before moving to the Cake Poker Network (CPN) in August. While never a large site in terms of player traffic, Victory did manage to earn a lot of attention thanks to the availability of CEO Fleyshman and the signing of high-profile pros like Antonio Esfandiari, Andrew Robl, Jonathan Little, and others.
Soon after joining Cake, Fleyshman recognized the network was potentially heading toward some financial difficulty and thus arranged a meeting between individuals who had invested in Victory Poker and Cake Poker brass in an attempt to find backing for the struggling network.
That meeting took place in London on January 5, 2011. Before the meeting Fleyshman posted on his Facebook page that he was “Walking into one of the top 5 biggest meetings of my life with ‘Big Boy’ executives who flew in from 6 countries.” However, despite such excitement, the meeting did not meet with the success Fleyshman or Cake envisioned.
In fact, once the potential backers got a look at the status of Cake Poker’s balance sheet and the unpaid debt from the DoylesRoom loan they not only declined to invest in Cake, they allegedly pulled their backing from Victory Poker as well. Fleyshman returned to his Facebook page to express his frustration: “I rarely curse,,. But today I calmly cursed 3 dozen times… Negativity & rudeness makes me :#€£¥%*•~# Grrrrrrrrr.”
Victory Nearly Turns Cereus, Then Folds
Left in a somewhat desperate situation in their own right Victory Poker made a decision to leave the Cake Poker Network and join the Cereus Network. Reactions in late March of this year to news regarding that impending move were mixed, with many wondering why Victory would choose to join embattled Cereus. At the time, Fleyshman spoke of the opportunity to join to the third-largest network as a primary incentive, although other factors — including the need to separate from Cake — were likely in play as well.
Then came Black Friday, two days after which Victory Poker announced it was no longer accepting U.S. players. In fact, on April 15 representatives of Victory Poker already had plane tickets in hand, ready to fly to Costa Rica to meet with Cereus, sign contracts, and finalize their deal. Given what the Black Friday indictment and civil complaint alleged regarding the Cereus network’s operations, one could say that Victory Poker’s having been prevented from completing its deal to join Cereus is a silver lining of sorts amid an otherwise dark scenario for the site.
While no longer serving U.S. customers, Victory Poker remained open as part of the Cake Poker Network until June 1 when it announced it was ceasing its poker operations altogether and that all of its players would be transferred to the Cake site. Victory Poker now plans to continue as an affiliate site offering news and strategy, but no games.
Cake in the Wake
While Victory Poker’s poker room has gone silent, DoylesRoom has moved its operations over to a new domain, doylesroom.ag, where it continues as part of the Yatahay network. Meanwhile, the Cake Poker network has survived.
A “strategic partnership” between PokerListings and the Cake Poker Network was announced in March of this year, essentially a partial selling of a majority stake in the Cake Poker Network to PokerListings, which has ensured Cake is at present and going forward financially secure. Previously — before Victory Poker’s involvement with CPN and well before Black Friday — attempts were made by Cake to sell the network in whole or in part to both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker according to our sources, though both of those major sites turned down the offer.
Cake now appears to be adopting a strategy whereby it maintains a lower profile in the U.S. than it had previously as far as advertising and promotion is concerned. Such an approach may well be recommended, given the attention being paid other sites that are seeking a more conspicuous U.S. presence.
Several attempts were made to contact representatives of Cake Poker and DoylesRoom for comment on this story. Neither site responded.
Earlier today it was announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments charging two gambling businesses and three defendants with conducting an illegal gambling business and money laundering. The two indictments were returned on April 26, 2011 and unsealed today. As part of the investigation, 11 bank accounts located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Guam; Panama; Malta; Portugal; and the Netherlands; and domain names associated with 10 internet gambling sites were also seized today.
The following internet domain names were seized pursuant to court order:
Anyone who tries to access those web sites will be directed instead to a banner that provides notice that the domain name has been seized by order of the court. The banners are expected to be posted later today.
ThrillX Systems, Ltd., d/b/a BetEd; Darren Wright; and David Parchomchuk, both of British Columbia, Canada are charged in one indictment. K23 Group Financial Services, d/b/a BMX Entertainment; and Ann Marie Puig, age 35, of San Jose, Costa Rica are charged in a second indictment.
The indictments and seizures were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; and Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
“It is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country.”
“These indictments are the direct result of impressive undercover investigative work by our agents, along with the close collaboration of our law enforcement partners here in Maryland,” said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore. “The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are often used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity. ICE HSI will work diligently to uncover illicit transactions involving these types of financial crimes. Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location, whether here in the United States or abroad.”
“Internet gambling, along with other types of illegal e-commerce, is an area of great interest to IRS Criminal Investigation,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Rebecca A. Sparkman. “Laundering money from illegal activity such as illegal internet gambling is a crime. Regardless of how the money changes hands – via cash, check, wire transfers or credit cards – and regardless of where the money is stored – in a United States financial institution or an offshore bank – we will trace the funds. IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously investigate and recommend prosecution against the owners and operators of these illegal enterprises to the fullest extent possible.”
According to the two count indictments and the affidavit filed in support of the seizure warrants, ThrillX, a registered company in British Columbia, Canada, with offices in Vancouver, Canada and San Jose, Costa Rica, is a software solutions provider producing online sports book and casino software. BMX Entertainment, based in Limassol, Cyprus, operates six websites that offer online sports betting services.
The indictments allege that the defendants own and manage illegal gambling businesses involving online sports betting. The affidavit alleges that online gambling sites are run by companies located outside of the U.S., while the majority of customers are in the U.S. Internet gambling operators rely upon the U.S. banking system, and more specifically, money-processing business generally called “payment processors,” to facilitate the movement of funds to and from their customers, the gamblers. Typically, an internet gambling operator directs the payment processor to collect funds from individual gamblers which are used to wager with the gambling organization. Those gambling proceeds are transferred to an offshore foreign bank. The internet gambling operator then sends a check or wire transfer from an offshore bank to the payment processor, directing the payment processor to distribute the money to gamblers for their winnings.
The affidavit filed in support of the seizure warrants alleges that Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, Maryland opened an undercover payment processor business, called Linwood Payment Solutions. Linwood allowed undercover agents to gain person-to-person contact with top managers of gambling organizations to discuss the Internet gambling business, to negotiate contracts and terms of the processing, and to handle the intricate movement and processing of collection and payment data from the gambling organizations to the banks.
The affidavit alleges that on November 12, 2009, a Maryland-based online gambler and cooperating informant confirmed that he/she frequented gambling sites, opened accounts and gambled in Maryland. The gambler agreed to set up online gambling accounts and was provided $500 to place bets on gambling websites. The gambler created an account on a BetEd website and placed several bets. On March 30, 2010, BetEd used Linwood to wire transfer $100 in winnings to the gambler’s bank account.
Linwood allegedly processed gambling transactions since 2009 for BetEd, K23 and other gambling organizations using banks located in Guam and Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the affidavit, between December 2009 and January 2011, Linwood processed over 300,000 transactions worth more than $33 million, including transactions for individuals in Maryland. Between February 2010 and March 2011 alone, BetEd directed Linwood to wire transfer over $2.5 million of collected gambling proceeds to bank accounts in Panama; and between February 2011 and April 2011, K23 directed Linwood to wire transfer over $91,000 of gambling proceeds to bank accounts in Portugal and Malta.
The indictments and affidavit seek the forfeiture of the bank accounts used to process the gambling transactions, as well as domain names of websites used by the defendants to further the online gambling transactions.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for operating an illegal gambling business and a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering. No court appearance has been scheduled.
UPDATE: We have it on good authority that DoylesRoom will continue to cater to US players and may even get their domain name back. We’ll keep you posted.
Bookmaker is already back up and running under a new domains and sent this email out to all players;
As you may already know, Bookmaker has temporarily lost the rights to the Bookmaker.com domain. We are confident that in time, it will be returned to us, until then, we have launched a new, temporary site: bmaker.ag.
Despite having lost the domain, none of the business operations have otherwise been affected. Player account balances and information are safe and secure. Effective immediately, players can log on to bmaker.ag. and it’s business as usual.
You likely won’t notice any other changes at all and will experience all the same features and benefits as our original site; just on a new address.
We sincerely apologize if you were affected by our interruption. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please call our customer service department at 1-866-9Bookmaker.
Doyle Brunson, the Godfather of poker, has left his namesake online poker site DoylesRoom.com in the wake of federal indictments against the owners of 3 or the world’s largest online poker sites. The news comes just 2 days after DoylesRoom released a major software upgrade. Today’s news is no doubt on advice from Doyle’s attorney’s to get out of the spotlight.
“Reluctantly, I have decided to terminate my endorsement contract with Doylesroom.com. It pains me to leave at this time. I have aspirations of reentering the online poker business when the United States Government passes legislation, that officially legalize online poker sites. Doylesroom management has decided to continue to serve U.S. customers. Although they believe they have the right to market the name Doylesroom and to use my name and likeness for a period of time, I have asked them not to. Good luck-Shuffle up and deal.”
We contacted the DoylesRoom marketing team shortly after learning this news and they had no idea that Doyle was leaving.
Update: Doyle Brunson was a sponsored pro by DoylesRoom.com and he has left his endorsement contract. DoylesRoom has purchased his image and likeness and are allowed to continue to use it. Doyle will still continue to play in the Bounty tournament.