Is Trouble Brewing at Carbon Poker?

carbon pokerHere we go again…

The online poker market in the United States has been a minefield since the passage of the UIGEA. With poker sites juggling multiple payment processors in a game of cat and mouse with the feds, slow payouts are bound to happen from time to time. One payment processor gets taken down, withdrawals slow down for a bit and then a new payment processor is found and the cycle continues.

Hiccups are bound to happen. However, recent news coming from Carbon Poker is looking just a tad more frightening than usual. 4Flush posted a great summary of the situation this morning and I’d like to offer a quick summary of what we know right here.

It’s not quite time to panic and run outside with our hair on fire, but I think it would definitely be smart to start paying very close attention to the situation. I’m really hoping we don’t have another Lock Poker on our hands. Here’s the short of it:

  • Carbon Poker has a long history of paying out players in a timely manner (by USA standards)
  • A few months ago, withdrawal times were averaging about three weeks
  • Now, people are reporting wait times of at least 8-10 weeks
  • Some people who cashed out around February 16th are still waiting according to this thread
  • Cashouts to Skrill for non-USA players have slowly increased from a few days to 3+ weeks
  • Most concerning of all: Skrill was recently removed as a withdrawal option for non-USA players

As frustrating at 8-10 week cashouts are, it would be forgivable if that was the extent of the problem. Carbon Poker has run a tight ship for a very long time and most players familiar with the industry understand this is just a part of the game under the current legal environment. Where things get worrying are the delays to ROTW (rest of the world) players and the removal of Skrill combined with a general lack of useful information coming from Carbon Poker reps.

The delays and loss of Skrill to ROTW players is concerning because poker sites don’t have to jump through all the same hoops to pay players in other markets. They can simply send money to Skrill accounts and be done with it. Whenever a poker site fails to make prompt payments to ROTW customers, you can’t help but wonder if it’s due to serious cash flow problems.

What Can We Do?

Well, there’s not much we can do right now. Carbon Poker is licensed in Curaçao and that licensing jurisdiction has never managed to stop a poker site from failing. For reference, Lock Poker had a “valid” license up until sometime last week.

The best thing you can do is keep a close eye on the situation and not make any new deposits to Carbon Poker. I hate to pile on when a poker site may be struggling because if everyone mass-withdraws, it will kill Carbon Poker. A lot of people still have bankrolls at Carbon (including myself). Even so, I can’t in good conscience tell you that everything is fine and that it’s safe to deposit there. It’s not.

We’ve also decided to stop recommending Carbon Poker for the time being – and possibly for good. It would take something close to a miracle for Carbon to completely regain our trust. As poker players, we understand offshore sites are going to have problems operating in this legal environment. What we can’t put up with are poker sites failing to honor payouts altogether. We’re not quite there yet, but I’ve been burned too many times in the past to just sit here and tell you all is well.

Could There Be a Legitimate Reason for Slow Payouts?

Absolutely. It’s possible Carbon Poker really did have payment processor issues. Poker sites that serve the US market are forced to work with payment processors that are willing to take the legal risk to handle payments to and from players. Sometimes these processors get shut down or close without warning and leave the poker site scrambling to find a replacement.

Carbon Poker has had to deal with processor problems in the past and managed to recover. We’re coming up to a lag time that we’ve seen before with Carbon. If they really do have enough cash to honor withdrawals, the only thing we need to do is wait for Carbon to find a new payment processor.

The reason I’m more concerned this time is the delay in ROTW payouts and extent of delays some players have been reporting. I’m not ready to call Carbon Poker “doomed” but I am keeping a close eye on the situation. However, I simply cannot recommend Carbon Poker to new players at this time.