Lock Poker, a U.S. friendly Merge Gaming skin, has had its share of troubles. The most recent trouble was a promotion that was launched shortly after Black Friday. This promotion was aimed at attracting high raking grinders. The promotion was great as it was described. Players were promised 10-20% in extra rakeback paid to their casino account. There was no play through requirement. Players could just transfer it right to their poker account. Unfortunately, Lock Poker changed the terms retroactively on more than one occasion, sometimes without even telling their players .
May Bonus Payments Months Late
May was the first month that the extra rakeback bonus was to take effect. Many players took them up on the offer. The May payments did not appear in player’s accounts as promised. Each month after that, the casino bonus would appear in the player’s account. It took nearly six months for May bonuses to get paid.
First Change of Bonus Terms
Once June payments hit, players were able to transfers the money to their poker account. It did not take long though for Lock Poker to announce a change in bonus terms. Players would now have to wager 40 times the bonus to cash it out. Changing bonus terms after the fact is shady and this term is atrocious. Players would have to wager $40,000 to clear the $1000 bonus. This not only theoretically cost players 20% of their bonus, they also lost the time it took to play the casino games they otherwise would not be playing.
Undisclosed Bonus Terms Discovered
It was then discovered that only 25% of wagers on most player friendly games count towards the wager requirements. This means that games like blackjack and roulette essentially have 160 times wager requirement. A player with a $1000 pending bonus would theoretically have a little over $200 left after wagering $160,000. The risk of ruin would likely bust a player before clearing the requirements though, effectively making any bonus worthless.
Late May Bonus Payments Given Undesirable Wager Requirements
Even though June bonuses were free and clear without any wager requirements, when May was finally paid close to six months late, the May payments had the 40x/160x wager requirement. This means that even though Lock Poker advertised that May payments would not have any wager requirement, and June payments did not, Lock Poker decided to attach the new terms to bonuses that they should have paid months before even though the late payments were their own fault.
Players Discovered the Bonus Was Sticky
When the wager requirement was added, the bonus terms also changed. The bonus was now a “sticky” bonus. A sticky bonus cannot be withdrawn. When a player receives a sticky bonus, they can only withdraw their winnings. This means that even though the bonus was already almost worthless, you cannot even cash it out when you clear the undisclosed, absurd wager requirements. Players can only cash out what they win. Having to wager 160x on most player friendly games means that winning anything is next to impossible. What made this bonus term so much worse is that players would only discover this term after clearing the bonus and transferring the money back to the poker room. Lock Poker failed to disclose this extremely important bonus term. In fact, they stated the opposite, that the bonus could be withdrawn.
Wagered Amounts Reset After Money Goes Missing
Players also reported that their bonuses and winnings were sometimes randomly removed from their accounts. When they would contact support, the money would be placed back in their casino account. When this happened, players would have their wagered amount reset to zero. If they had won, they would then have a 40x/160x bonus attached to their winnings.
Lock Poker representatives claim that they failed to understand the rules of the promotion before they advertised it. This is no excuse. If a company advertises one bonus, but it turns out that the bonus terms were not only wrong but made the bonus completely worthless, that is gross incompetence. When Lock Poker refuses to make the situation right, that is fraud. Players were offered specific bonus terms, these players took Lock Poker up on their offer, and have virtually nothing extra to show for months of poker play. These extras are what made players choose Lock Poker over other Merge Gaming skins. It is now too late for those players to move to another skin and get rakeback since Merge Gaming no longer allows new players to get rakeback.
Until Lock Poker pays every player every penny that they are owed, I must urge all players to avoid Lock Poker. They have proven that they have no problem with advertising bonuses to players, changing the bonus terms without telling players, and refusing to honor the promotion in the end. As we have learned in the past, poker rooms that have a history of retroactively changing bonus terms often have other serious issues.
Lock Poker claims in their Two Plus Two forum that they are working on a solution. There have been problems with this promotion since early June 2011. Considering how long there have been issues, and the fact that nothing has been done beyond dumping this promotion, I have my doubts as to whether this will be resolved. If this is resolved in the player’s favor I will add it to this article.