PIC Club vs. Merge

Minor-league American-friendly online poker battle

by , Nov 24, 2009 | 5:46 am

There’s a little brouhaha I think outta Costa Rica that I’m not really following, but there might be something there. It involves PICClub … one of those loophole-based payment processing alternatives that has found itself embroiled in a 6-figure payment dispute with a network of smaller online poker sites (Carbon Poker, Reefer Poker, ACED, GR88.com, Felt Stars, StinkyFish Poker, and more than a dozen others).

Apparently someone’s ripping off someone, and flaming fingers are starting to point all willy-nilly in a world of folks trying to play as legit as they can providing a service that the US government would prefer they not.

I first learned about PICClub about a year ago … heard about it from one of my old cronies in the Dallas underground, and TJ Cloutier was apparently involved. Though I had decided it was not quite my thing, I wanted a second opinion, so I sought the counsel of a trusted friend and colleague semi-involved in the poker bidness:

On Dec 3, 2008, at 9:22 AM, [name removed] wrote:

[Name removed] told me about it. But I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to steer clear of shady, 4-year-late concepts that are audibly mistaken for porn sites.

LOL, right, exactly …

I didn’t think much about PICClub again until I saw them with six teams at Dream Team Poker – Caesar’s … you know, the one won by Jamie Gold and Team Aced, before they ran into some sorta contractual schism.

But surprise (to me), PICClub is still around … their concept did, apparently, address a market need; and as a result at least millions of dollars, if not more, have been passing through it.

So with that, I’m not sure who’s screwing whom in this, if weak means strong or strong means weak, but regardless … here’s the latest from PICClub CEO Chuck Kidd, trying to assuage his customers that they are the good guys in this matter:

From: “PiCClub.com”
Date: November 13, 2009 3:56:24 PM PST
Subject: A word from the PIC CEO

Dear PICClub Member,
As many of you know we at PICClub have been embroiled with Merge Gaming Network in a dispute over their failure to pay their debt. I want to take this time to help you understand why I felt it was necessary to escalate this issue with Gambling 911. I did not want to take this into a public arena but was forced to when they issued a press release that was an outright lie.

I wasn’t happy to lose the Merge network of rooms as I know many of you played there and I tried to avoid that happening. However when a poker room fails to pay its debt and decides to not pay players it is my responsibility to take the steps necessary to protect our players and to collect the funds rightfully owed.

Since early July I have been trying to get the Merge Network to pay not only the arrears on fees that were owed to PICClub but also the money to fund the Players cash out account. During this time I made many concessions to Merge in an attempt to get them to pay. At every promise they made to pay the arrears and acknowledging that the money was indeed owed they kept stalling and sending me the Checks in the Mail story over and over. One excuse even involved their CFO being caught in a Typhoon in Japan.

It soon became evident that they had no intention of paying their debt and worse they were going to stiff the players.

I sought council with many people I respect in this industry and to a person they agreed that I needed to make this issue known. Not only as a possible means to collect our funds but also to expose that Merge was either financially in trouble or was operating unethically. Either way we weren’t getting funds from them so I decided that Gambling 911 would be the venue that I would supply the documentation to that backed up the facts of the issue.

I knew that PICClub would possibly take a black eye over this and I certainly weighed that against the need for this story to be made public. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and cost me many restless nights of sleep. BUT it had to be told.. Maybe just maybe, Merge would at the very least send the money to pay the players.

Well they finally sent enough money to cover the players cash outs. It is unfortunate that it took shaming them in a Public Arena for them to do what was right by the players and the attacks on PICClub and I personally are still going on. Merge has not presented 1 piece of evidence to refute the story, they have instead decided a campaign of slander, lies and innuendo waged by a group of affiliates and forum owners would be their answer to the issue presented.

Well my job however is not done. They still owe PICClub 107 thousand dollars and I intend to collect it. Every penny they take from PICClub, they also take from you the members. It is coming up on Christmas time and that means the funds in your CSA account will be available to you plus the interest earned and a % of PICClub profits. For those of you who have been with us for 2 years or more you will recall that we paid 14.25% in our first year and 10.5% in our second. I am not sure where we will be this year as the books haven’t been settled for the CSA yet but I don’t want a 107 thousand dollar loss to be an issue. I INTEND TO COLLECT EVERY PENNY THEY OWE.

I ask that you continue your support of the PICClub and please play at the poker rooms that are operating honestly with us. They too deserve your support. When you see PICClub being slammed in a forum do not hesitate to speak up. There are those out there who’s only agenda is to do harm to PICClub no matter how many lies it takes.

We will be adding more rooms for you to play at and I know that you will enjoy them. So stay tuned for exciting news.

I will speak with you again soon about the CSA payout and I hope to be able to give you great news at that time.

Kindest Regards.

Chuck Kidd
Players Investment Company

8 Comments to “PIC Club vs. Merge ”

  1. Fifth Street Journal

    It’s hard to tell who’s right in this. Merge’s payments are slow lately, however, even the eWallet ones. Slow payments are often a warning sign, appearing before insolvency. I wouldn’t say Merge players should leave at this point, but I wouldn’t leave my entire bankroll there either.

  2. Game Room Supplies

    “Someone’s ripping off someone” – isn’t it what this whole ordeal is all about?

  3. scott diamond

    Dan I was there at Caesars also for Dream team. They had some big names playing for them. Kathy Liebert, Tom McCevoy Amir Vahedi and I believe Barbara Enright also…

    Nice story as usual here…UIGEA in 6 days…ugh

  4. Anon

    Here’s a clue who is at fault. The dispute occurred over a “whale” who was transferring large amounts in and out. This “whale” is a professional scammer, who won Casinomeister’s Evil Player of the Year in 2008. http://www.casinomeister.com/bestworst2008.php#evilp

  5. Fifth Street Journal

    How do you know they’re the same guy? And how would that indicate guilt on one side? So the theory is that BigRounder72 and PicClub were in cahoots to bilk Merge? If BigRouner72 was indeed involved, it seems more likely to me that he was just a whale, and Merge isn’t justified in stiffing PicClub.

  6. Brian G.

    I read that story about the wiring and the advancing of $245,000, which the guy proceeded to lose. It reminded me of the scene in Casino, where the Japanese guy won big and all of a sudden the private plane had “mechanical problems,” which led to him being taken back to the casino where he promptly lost it all back ad then some.

    Anyone who plays online is a sucker.

  7. scott diamond

    “Anyone who plays online is a sucker”.

    That comment resembles me!

  8. Brian G.

    You are Scott. I need to know what the person taking my money looks like. And, most importantly, cheating has been a part of poker since day one. Now, you have the most awesome engine ever devised for worldwide poker play against players you never see. No way there isn’t massive cheating going on, and I am convinced it is done on the lower dollar games, a few bucks at a time. The UB and Absolute Poker was too blatant because it involved high stakes. Have a bot place third in every tournament run on your site every day, and have it come in second or first from time to time, and that money adds up fast. When I used to play online, I got sucked out on in ways I had never seen in 20 years of live play. As anyone who plays online has seen, you hit the nuts on the turn, and the only card that could beat you is going to come on the river. When you review the hand, there is no reasonable explanation for why the person called before the flop, on the flop, and on the turn. After quite a few of those, I realized I was getting scammed and stopped playing. Does anyone actually think that the easiest way to cheat ever invented is not being used on a massive scale?