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PokerInVenice Troubles Continue Amid Forced Player Transfer Scheme

pivgameWhile US-based online poker players remain focused on the ongoing difficulties at Lock Poker and the Revolution Network, a different sort of problem surrounds the small Poker in Venice (PIV) white-label network and its primary site, PokerInVenice.com.

PIV’s troubles have emerged in recent weeks amid the usual chorus of slow-pay / no-pay player complaints that generally indicate a site or network having severe liquidity issues.  PIV (the network, which is known as PIVGame) is another of this new hybrid breed of sites claiming to offer multi-network transfers and access via single account, a situation we first explored last month with the circumstances surrounding Muchos Poker, another multi-network operation that also ran into troubles.

PIV’s ill fortune, as one would expect, has been the topic of multiple threads on discussion forums, with much new information emerging in recent days.

The plan hatched by the site’s operators appears to be to fold the PIVGame and PokerInVenice labels, asking players to agree to the conditions of a unilaterally enforced agreement that transfers their balances to a new site, Tempura Poker, and demanding that players generate 75% of their existing balance amounts in rake on the new Tempura site, which is on the tiny Play2B Network, where limited traffic makes such rake-through requirements a challenge in itself.

You guessed it: Players are being asked to continue to play to generate income for a site that’s already screwed them thoroughly once.  The exact amount pilfered to date by PIV remains unknown, though several groups of prominent PIV players have shared notes on 2+2, and have confirmed cumulative lost balances of about $750,000.  It’s a safe bet that the actual non-payment by PIV (which controlled the purse strings of several other small sites it also operated) is in hock more than a million to its players.

As one would expect, PIV is yet another licensee of the Malta Gaming and Lotteries Authority (LGA), the infamous no-oversight commission whose rubber-stamp licensing process includes no ongoing oversight whatsoever.  So it’s equal parts amusing and sad to see ripped-off players once again attempting to besiege the LGA; it’s a nice thought, but they’re not going to do anything, the same way they haven’t done anything with at least a half-dozen similar episodes in the last several years.

Still, you have to admire the players for trying.  In one of the newest 2+2 threads on the PIV situation, a PIVGame customer named Roman V. uploaded a lengthy Skype chat in which he quoted the LGA’s own never-enforced rules in an online debate with a PIV customer-service rep.  That went nowhere, as one might expect, though the anger demostrated by the the player shines through the chat, loud and clear.

PIV has also declared, in a statement on their home page, that any players who refuse to allow their balances to be transferred to Tempura and be subject to the play-through requirements will instead have their existing balances forfeited.

The troubles players have experienced at sites such as PIV, Muchos, and the Jamie Levin-operated PokerVIP site suggest that these hybrid, third-party operations are way more risky and troublesome than they are worth.  While traditional affiliate deals have their own flaws, and that form of player marketing continues to evolve, participating in shady workarounds appears to be an even dicey proposition.  It’s unlikely anything good will emerge for the affected PIV players, who remain holding an empty bag.



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