Empire Poker's Scam?
Does a 100% deposit bonus up to $100 just sound too good to be true?
I received a similar e-mail for the same offer about a month ago. I was ecstatic. Free $100? I'll take that! I deposited before the offer the expired with the offer code, and I checked my account to see the $100 pending notice in my account's cashier. Yup, it was there. Awesome.
I then went on to play as many hands as I could to release the bonus as soon as possible. They said I had to play 10 times the bonus amount. Ok. 1,000 hands is a bit large for me, but over the course of a month, I'm sure I could easily pull that off. So I paced myself.
One week later, the $100 disappeared from the pending account.
Did they already release the money even though I was well short of the requirement? No. My real money account had not received any new deposits. So I went to the website to check on my bonus account and saw the dreaded words: Bonus Elapsed.
What the f...?
I looked back at the bonus offer I received carefully and realized that Empire snuck in a little condition at the end. The ten times bonus amount had to be completed within 7 days.
Damn that fine print!
I felt robbed actually. Empire usually allows 30 days for a player to complete the required number of hands and release the bonus. Here, they gave me an offer that sounded so sweet but was unmanageable for a player such as I. There was no way that I could play 1,000 hands in one week.
Empire probably knew that most of its players would not be able to release the bonus on time. But they certainly received a ton of action during those days as players tried their best to do so. And when I found out that this was nothing but a scheme, a bait, for fish like me, I was enraged.
I sent off several e-mails demanding that I get enough time to play the required hands. This was totally unfair as it caught regular (non-full time) players like me off-guard. But each time I received an e-mail back saying that it was up to management to decide. So I fired back that I wanted to speak to management. But they never gave me a different e-mail address or phone number. I was willing to call and breathe fire across phone lines at them.
About two weeks after this whole ordeal, I received an e-mail from Empire. I opened it to find that I was finally receiving a reply from "management." They said they would give me $10. End of discussion.
It was hard for me to accept $10 when the offer said I would receive $100. But I took it and realized just how shady some of these online poker sites can be. They expect the players to not cheat, but when it comes to business, they'll do everything they can to get your money.
A new offer arrived this morning from Empire. 100% bonus up to $100. The conditions this time? 15 times the required hands in 10 days. If you got the time to play 1,500 raked hands in ten days, you should definitely go for this deal. I suspect the pros will be very happy with this offer. Otherwise, realize that this is a trick to boost play. Just imagine the rake Empire will get for every player trying to release their bonuses. And the money they'll save when non-fine-print-reading players like me get duped into it. Just be aware of those bonus offers, players. For me, it just turned out to be too good to be true.