In what has become a constant refrain in the unregulated online poker world, another online poker site has allegedly shut down and players with money on the site are once again in the lurch. This time, it is JaoPoker, which Poker News Daily warned players about over six months ago.
The information regarding the alleged closure wasn’t quickly known. It drifted out in fits and spurts over social media, sometimes with a simple sentence of “JaoPoker is closed” to irate expressions of hatred against the online site. Facebook and TwoPlusTwo seemed to be the hotbeds of discussion, with plenty of people calling out the former spokesman of the poker site.
One person made it known he was ready to release specific information on the Chief Executive Officer of the company. “I had numerous conversations with the CEO of Jao, wanted me to play it on my stream, when it came to paying me he always took a while to reply, strange eh? If anyone’s owed money give me a shout, his mobile number is saved firmly in my contacts list.”
The discussion then turned to Tam Nguyen, who was a prominent spokesman for the poker site and who has since deleted any discussion he had on Facebook on the subject. In his posts, he commented how he had made quite a bit of money from his “affiliate line” (more on this in a moment) and that those who lost any money in the situation could basically pound sand (AKA they knew the risks of putting their money on the site.
The first notice of the existence of JaoPoker – and the problems that existed with the site – were through Todd Witteles’ Poker Fraud Alert. In May of last year, Witteles announced the results of his extensive research into what JaoPoker was doing. In his analysis, the poker site was not operating on the level, that basically it was using a multi-level marketing type program. In reality, it was allegedly closer to that of a Ponzi scheme, which depended on new players coming in to be able to pay the past players their “affiliate fees.” Poker News Daily reported on Witteles’ efforts to inform the poker world on this subject in July.
Over the past couple of days, the true status of JaoPoker has become quite murky. There are allegations that it has closed down and there is no mechanisms in place to ensure that the players will be refunded their money. But another voice has emerged earlier today to say that JaoPoker isn’t shut down but simply “refurbishing their software.”
Over his poker group Poker Knights, Lance Williams allegedly was in contact with the owners and/or the operators of JaoPoker. According to Williams, the site is “concerned with the amount of fraud perpetrated against the site and decided to have more safeguards implemented in the software. We have taken the site offline so the developers can work on the poker site. We will re-open as soon as testing is done. All player funds are safe and being reviewed due to some inconsistencies with bonus payouts and player fraud.”
Whether JaoPoker is dead or not, it is simply the latest in a trend of non-regulated sites. In 2015, Lock Poker finally shuttered its online doors after almost two years of non-payment of players but the ability to sponsor players such as former World Series of Poker Europe champion Annette Obrestad (among others). It is estimated that the Lock Poker scandal bilked players out of somewhere between $15 million and $25 million. Other sites that shut their doors without paying back players include Pitbull Poker, JetSetPoker and Cake Poker.
Poker News Daily will continue to watch the ongoing situation with JaoPoker and report as necessary.