Tomorrow, the poker community will be remembering probably the saddest day in online poker history that came to be known as Black Friday. On April 15, 2011, the United States Department of Justice shut down sites of the 3 biggest poker operators at that time, creating a wave of panic among players.
Sites that were shut down became known as the “Big Three,” namely PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/UB. After the FBI domains’ seizure, players around the globe, and especially those from the US, were left wondering what would become of their money.
Repayment process for players
One site that approached the entire matter with professionalism was PokerStars. They wasted no time repaying their US customers not long after they came back online, and all of their former players from the States were given back what rightfully belonged to them.
Full Tilt Poker was a different story, as it was uncertain if any players would ever see their money again. Luckily, once PokerStars bought the company, they started the repayment process, and that included players from the United States. By this point, a majority of players in the US have been paid back.
When it comes to Absolute Poker and UltimateBet refunds, most players had come to terms that they’d never see a single penny of the money they had on there when the sites went under. AP/UB never made any efforts to repay players so the odds were heavily against anything good happening.
However, just a few days ago, with 6th anniversary of the Black Friday looming, there is finally some good news. It seems Absolute Poker and UltimateBet refunds are on their way.
Absolute Poker & Ultimate Bet refunds for US & ROW players
Once PokerStars secured the funds to reimburse Full Tilt players, the DoJ set up a website for US residents with outstanding balances where they could file their claims. According to the recent press release and emails sent to many former AP/UB players, the process will be same for Absolute Poker & Ultimate Bet refunds.
Players can file their claims via this dedicated domain: http://www.absolutepokerclaims.com/
According to player reports, the claims’ process works for players from both sites, and as soon as you enter the basic info, the site will populate the rest of data, including any outstanding balances. Those who didn’t receive the emails can also petition for refunds via this page.
Players from the rest of the world can apply here as well, as the company never paid any of their customers, not just those from the US.
Absolute Poker & Ultimate Bet refunds: How much to expect?
Being among the biggest online poker rooms back in the day, AP/UB had quite a few players with large balances. They are the ones most concerned about how much money exactly will be repaid.
Will players receive full amounts or pennies on the dollar?
At this point, this question remains a bit of a mystery, as it is uncertain how much money DoJ has at its disposal after paying back Full Tilt Poker players. According to some known figures, there could still be more than $400 million to go around, but there isn’t any official confirmation for this number.
If there are enough funds to fully reimburse all of the players who file for reimbursements, everyone will be paid in full. Otherwise, players’ balances will be paid back on the pro-rata basis.
Pros and affiliates: It’s not all good news
There is no doubt that having even a chance to claim money that’s been written off by most years ago is excellent news. However, serious players and affiliates might be disappointed after the initial excitement.
It seems the DoJ is intent on not paying anyone who had any proceeds from the AB/UP directly.
This means that affiliate accounts will not be eligible for Absolute Poker & UltimateBet refunds. Furthermore, anyone who was on a rakeback plan might also not qualify. Rules are not set in stone here, so you should definitely check everything out for yourself.
What we do know is that some players who had large balances are reporting they are being denied their claim due to being affiliated with the rooms. If you were just a player and the claims administration is now putting you in a “Professional” category you probably have a shot at getting back at least some of the money.
Affiliates, on the other hand, won’t be seeing a penny. More information on the entire process can be found in the FAQ section of the official claims’ site.
The news about Absolute Poker and UltimateBet refunds made a big part of poker community very happy. With many not-so-positive things happening lately, a development of these proportions appearing all of a sudden is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Although some still have their doubts about this actually happening (who can blame them after six years?), it seems very likely players will be getting their money back. However, just in case, why not call out one time for this one?
If you want to stay in the loop and read what other players have to say, check out this 2+2 thread. It could offer answers to some specific questions you may have, as there are many players in the same boat, asking similar questions.