USA-friendly poker site Full Flush Poker, flagship site of the Equity Poker Network, went dark on Friday, September 30th with no prior notice. Reports of players unable to log in or even access the Full Flush website began to flood online discussion forums on Friday, and by Tuesday the news was beginning to show up on all the major poker news websites.
That following Monday, the Full Flush Website was taken down and replaced with a short notice stating the following:
“We are in the process of updating our gaming solutions to offer a new, more exciting platform to meet the needs of our players and an ever changing industry. We will have updates on this change each day for you, and we apologize for any inconveniences we have caused during this period.”
It is now Wednesday, October 19th and there have been no other updates from Full Flush management other than a few half-hearted assurances that everything would be fine. Full Flush management initially told concerned players that it was just a temporary glitch and that all customer balances were totally safe.
Someone has responded to comments on the Full Flush Facebook page as recently as October 17th, but none of their comments have been substantive or constructive whatsoever.
I hate to say it, but it looks like we have another Lock Poker situation on our hands. And if you know the Lock Poker backstory, you also know that any mention of Lock Poker is always bad news. Both Lock Poker and Full Flush have something else in common other than suddenly shutting down with players’ funds unaccounted for: both held licenses from notoriously incompetent regulator Curaçao eGaming.
Curaçao eGaming has since suspended Full Flush’s operating license, but not in time to give players any warning that they should withdraw their funds and look for greener pastures elsewhere.
To be fair, an early warning from Curaçao eGaming probably wouldn’t have helped much anyways. Prior to the shutdown, players had long complained of waiting upwards of a year for pending withdrawals. Over at 2+2, one player claimed to have been waiting 18 months for a withdrawal that never came before Full Flush suddenly went offline.
There’s still no word on what exactly happened at Full Flush Poker. We do know the Equity Poker Network was purchased by someone this past December, although details on that transaction are scarce. An Equity Poker Network press release at the time claimed that Clive Archer, Director of and Consultant to the EPN, was stepping down focus on his business.
The press release also said that “a new group of gaming investors has acquired the business and has taken immediate control whilst corporate changes are completed over time.” Drawing on my own experience following the post-UIGEA online poker industry, I’m choosing to take that press release with a grain of salt.
The sale could have been as innocuous as they claim, or it could be an outright lie put forth by Full Flush management knowing they had a “situation” on their hands. And hey – if they don’t want people like me to speculate, maybe they should consider offering an update to all the players they have left hanging!
In all likelihood, Full Flush Poker is gone for good. Safest Poker Sites also found out that the Full Flush domain was listed for sale as early as the Monday after the site suddenly went down. It seems likely to me that someone saw this coming and decided to simply disappear into the night.
There were warning signs before this all went down. Back in May, a poster at the Poker Fraud Alert forums called out Full Flush Poker for not paying players and one of its major affiliates for continuing to send real money players to Full Flush despite knowing the site couldn’t pay. The post explains that the affiliate received priority cashouts and offered to buy other players’ un-withdrawable balances for pennies on the dollar while still sending new customers all the while.
At this point, I don’t have much hope for Full Flush making a return. We have seen this happen time and again in the unregulated US poker market. It would be great to be proven wrong, but that possibility grows dimmer with each passing day.