That indeed IS the question!
As most of you that are crazy enough to follow the exploits of this particular Poker playing idiot already know, I am a member of a fine organization just recently started up around these parts. The Canadian Amateur Poker Tour is live and local Poker, being run at several locations throughout the week. It's an organization that I feel deserves a little push whenever I get the chance, based on the owners commitment to keeping it fair and fun for everyone.
Recently the good folks at Can-Am added an on-line side to the fun, holding two games a week on the Poker client Betfair. Betfair is supporting the live games with prizes for the weekly winners in the form of a T-Shirt, and it only made sense for Can-Am to hold their games over there. Support those that support you is a good solid business plan, at least IMHO. The plus side for Betfair as I see it is, those that start playing on-line Poker at Betfair for free, might just want to deposit a little cash into the site and make it their on-line gaming headquarters. At least that's the only reason I can see, that Betfair would actually want to run these free games at all. As a side note to that, the folks at Can-Am are just starting to put the finishing touches on a few on-line cash games to be held at Betfair as well. Meaning that if you want to play in them, you'll have to deposit some cash and Can-Am gets what they want, hoping to strengthen their support with the sponsor.
Now the drawback is that Betfair is no PokerStars or FullTilt, as far as the workings of a Poker client go. It's actually quite frustrating to sit at one of their tables for the first time, as there is nothing comparable between it and any of the other descent sites out there. Having said that, I put aside my differences and started up a play account to support my friends at Can-Am.
Now here's where it all gets a bit fuzzy for me. I wanted to learn how the Poker client worked over on Betfair, prior to actually sitting down at the virtual felt with my friends. So I enter the proper member name, password etc.... and get myself into the 'Play Lobby' to find a game to learn from. I kid you not, every single game was "suspended" at that time. Every game! So I wait, and wait, and wait. Nothing!
Suddenly over in the incredibly large advertising section on the right, there pops up an invitation to a freeroll event called a "Bankroll Starter." I click the link and it takes me directly to the tourney lobby for the freeroll. Perfect I think to myself. A free way to learn the client and how it all works over here at this new, (to me) site. One little click later and I'm in.
Despite navigating my way through the client as gracefully as a certain wheelchair bound friend of ours making his way up the Las Vegas Strip, I figured it all out and I became pretty comfortable with the sites unique characteristics as I went. Enough so I guess, that I took a 1% portion of the $5.00 that had been added to the game by Betfair as a "bankroll starter." Yes kids in my very first attempt to understand Betfair, I scored a $0.05 profit!
For which I received the following:
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CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just won a cash prize in one of our Betfair Poker Freerolls.
Your prize has been credited on your Betfair account. To comply with Gaming regulations we need to verify your age and make sure that you are not under 18 years old. Unfortunately failing to do so would lead to the temporary suspension of your Betfair account.
In order to verify your age, please send us a copy of one document from the list below:
Personal Identification – a copy of one photo ID from the following list:
• Passport (full front photo page, including algorithm at the bottom)
• Driving License (full card)
• National Identification Card (photographic ID required)
• Citizenship Certificate
The copies of the documents have to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The sooner we receive the document, the sooner you will be able to enjoy the cash prize you’ve just won.
Please remember to inform us of your Username and good luck for your future tournaments!
• Do not send original documents, but rather copies of these documents.
• The documents must be clear and legible. NB: please DO NOT include your password in any correspondence.
• Send documents that state your residential address. Regrettably, documents addressed to a P.O. Box number are unacceptable for validation.
• Please send scans in JPEG, PDF or GIF file formats only with a maximum size of 10MB per page.
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So if you followed along properly at home, here's the rub.
For the $0.05 they placed into my account that was set up for play money and some fun with friends, my first contact with the site administration is that they will be forced to suspend my account, should I choose not to send them a copy of my passport or drivers license.
Makes sense right?
It's not exactly like I want to yell at Betfair to get off my lawn or anything, but for cripes sake! Wouldn't you think that they make enough money out of this on-line gaming thing they do, to take the time to analyze the situation before they piss off someone that's supposed to be a potential customer?
I wanted to try FullTilt and did so, I then did the same on PokerStars. In both cases I found the sites to my liking and then, I made deposits and started an account like any other customer. It would appear to me at this time that Betfair's current business model on customer service, will make it pretty difficult for me to do the same thing over there.
But that's only my opinion, based on how they're treating me.
As with everything, Caveat emptor.
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....