Lock Poker has been the center of a major storm in the poker community of late. The online poker room, part of the U.S.-facing Revolution Network, has taken criticism for several months regarding a long wait period for cash-outs (up to five months for U.S. players) while offering very little information to its customers.
Late last month, the situation escalated when Lock implemented a new policy that forbade cash-outs for players who transferred money to and from other players on the site. Lock canceled withdrawal requests that had been lingering for months, providing players with the following explanation by email:
Please note that player transfers and winnings derived from player transfers are not eligible for payouts. If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
The shocking development caused outrage from players who sought answers from site representatives and members of Lock Poker Elite Pro, a group of poker players who represent the company both online and at live tournaments around the world.
The sponsored players have since been fighting rumors that some of them were being paid six-figure annual salaries to represent the site and that they were given higher priority than customers in regard to payouts. In response, Paul Volpe and other Lock Poker Elite Pros said last week that they were forced to wait for withdrawals just like everyone else.
Meanwhile, a number of insiders are speculating that Lock Poker is insolvent and still accepting deposits from players. PokerNews has reached out to Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson for comment on the growing issues, but our attempts have gone unanswered.
As a result of the backlash from players, Lock Poker lost two of its sponsored pros on Wednesday as Volpe and Chris Moorman elected not to renew their contracts with the beleaguered poker site. Both players issued statements via Twitter to announce their departure.
1/2 I have decided not to renew my contract with Lock. I sincerely hope Lock is able to overcome its current problems and...Follow @Moorman1
1/2 also wanted to say i have left @lockpoker . wanted to thank them 4 giving me the opportunity. hope poker becomes legal and they canFollow @paulgees81
PokerNews' Rich Ryan caught up with Volpe on Thursday during the EPT Grand Final in Monaco to find out more. When asked what prompted him to leave Lock Poker, Volpe said: "I wasn't harassed or anything by them. I was never heavily involved."
He added, "I don't want to bash Lock, but if people aren't getting paid, then I don't want to be either."
While Moorman and Volpe ditched the site, several Lock Poker Elite Pro members have remained loyal to the brand. Melanie Weisner, Matt Stout and Brett Jungblut have spoken out about Lock's troubles in recent days via poker forums and social media sites. In a lengthy post at TwoPlusTwo.com on Friday, Weisner addressed the site's payment processing issues but claimed she has no input or knowledge of the site's financial situation.
"Despite our lack of involvement in the back-end of things, I know that all the pros have wanted to speak to the issue for some time, and have only waited this long in order to gather some real information about the current status of operations," Weisner said about the Lock Poker Elite Pro team on Friday. "We've spent a lot of time recently working on getting to the bottom of things. The entire Lock pro team met today in order to hash out all these issues and find solutions and information on what the future holds and what kind of improvements can be made, on what scale, and in what time frame."
Other members of the team like Michael Mizrachi and Annette Obrestad have been tight-lipped about their employer, but Obrestad was still seen donning a Lock Poker patch while playing the EPT Grand Final Main Event on Wednesday.
According to Stout, Lock Poker will be releasing a press release as early as today to clarify its cash-out issues. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com as we'll have more on this story as it develops.