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Old 12-12-2009, 03:47 AM   #1
Chuck Bass
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Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Since I only have 35 posts here, this will probably be viewed by many as some micro-donk's rant who's busted his $23 bankroll and is mad at the random generator or something. I would still advise anyone who plays at TowerGaming (Ongame) to at least read this through.

My name is Miikka Anttonen, I've been a semi-regular at the EPTs and other live tournaments this year. http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=128047 I've made some friends on the circuit this year and I'm sure some 2p2ers will recognize me and therefore add some legitimacy to my story.

I'll try to make this as short as possible as it's 9am, I've been grinding all night and I'm tired.

I've had the most popular poker blog in Finland for a couple of years now and I'm also a high-volume internet grinder. Not high stakes apart from occasional shots, but I multitable a ton and therefore create a lot of rake. Since the publicity in my blog, I scored a year-long sponsorship with TowerGaming for the year 2009.

The deal in itself was worth roughly $60,000. It consisted of playing one large live tournament every two months (EPT/Unibet Open/EMOP etc), so you get the picture.

The contract we made was checked by the lawyers of both parties, and the signatures that appear on it were mine and TowerGaming's affiliate manager David Visser's.

At first everything was going well. In January 2009 they sent me over 20k for the first tournaments. I also kept an english blog at their site which is apparently still online: http://www.towergaming.com/media-roo...-my-story.html and Tower was constantly mentioned in stories in Finnish poker magazines involving me and my blog. All in all I thought I was a very good sponsored player, as I did a LOT more media work than most of the players with 100k+ deals.

Then, in May 2009 the software change happened. As everyone who's played there knows, the new Ongame software is just horrendous and I'm sure pretty much every skin lost a ton of customers because of it. They still haven't improved it and it's been over 6 months. I don't have any numbers but I'd be very surprised if some of the sites were not in financial trouble.

In the summer I had used the 20k they sent me on the tournaments scheduled, and it was time for them to send me the next part. This was roughly two months after the software update. I had just hit my first final table at Unibet Open Algarve (well technically I bubbled it, but the play was stopped after day 2 with 10 players remaining and they did the tv stuff with 10 people) and also bubbled the 3000€ Helsinki Midnight Sun which has a LOT tougher field than any EPT or WPT. So at this point I must have still seemed like a good investment.

I was scheduled to play the EPT Barcelona next, and it took me weeks to even get a hold of anyone from the site about the money. When they finally replied, they told me they would send a rep to Barcelona and he would take care of my buy-in. This never happened, and they never informed me until I got to Barcelona, so I seld % of my tournament on a Finnish poker forum and just played unsponsored. They never really gave me an explanation why they didn't send a rep or the money in the end.

Anyway, I cashed in Barcelona and there was a ton of EPTs coming, and I wasn't too worried and didn't really ask about the money. Technically they still owed me 8k€ for that, but I didn't really mind.

After Barcelona I spent another week or two trying to contact them, and then finally sent them an angry email asking what was going on etc. They finally replied, and we reached a deal that they would cover 50% of my buy-ins for the rest of the EPTs this year:

EPT London 5950€
EPT Varsaw 6080€
EPT Vilamoura 5300€
EPT Prague 5250€
= total 22580€

They promised to send me money for the buy-ins soon. Also, at this time they told me they were going to really target the Finnish market, and they asked me to translate their site in Finnish (this translation was never put up online so I don't know what the hell they wanted it for). I agreed to do this as a part of the sponsorship as I speak and write English quite well for a Finn. The amount of text they sent me was horrendous and I spent a full week translating all the legal gibberish. Just go to any site and look at the FAQ sections and all the small print etc and you get the point. Anyway, I did this, and never was paid anything.

Anyway, they promised to send me the money, so I booked flights etc to London. I never got the money. Countless attempts of trying to get a hold of someone, but no one ever replied. I was pretty well rolled so I just played the EPT under my own expenses again, selling %. After London I moved to Thailand for the winter to grind.

At this point I was obviously very pissed, so when I reached Thailand I sent them a very long email basically threatening to cut off the deal. To this they replied and apologized, saying that there had been some issues with their staff, and apparently some people from their company had been fired and this was the reason the money transfer had been carried out.

At the same message they told me that they had actually gained more customers after the software update (which sounded strange as they were firing people, not paying me and it was common knowledge that Ongame sites were not doing well) and they were planning to create an EPT live team which would consist of 4 players. They told me to meet the team at the EPT Warsaw and that they would pay for my buy-in via moneybookers. When I asked about the money for London/Barcelona they never even answered straight but it became clear they were never going to send them. But there were EPT's coming every 3 weeks now, and I thought it would be fair enough if I could at least be sponsored for them. After all I was no poker superstar and I should be glad with what I can get.

Two weeks before the event I still hadn't got the money. I was in Thailand, 1000's of miles from Warsaw, pondering whether or not to buy 1000€ flights. I sent David a ton of sms's and emails asking about the money. He didn't answer for a couple of days and then finally said they had already sent it. It didn't appear on my account, so I asked for the transaction ID so I could contact moneybookers support, but they refused to give it. After two days of bombarding them with messages they finally gave me the ID, and I called the mb support. It turned out that this ID was fake and such transaction has never been made. I asked Tower wtf and they didn't reply.

Then finally two days later - with no explanation about the ID thing or anything, David sent me an email and said they had issues with moneybookers but they would fix it soon.

I asked him to put the buy-in money on my Tower account, which he refused to do. I asked him to wire it to me, which he said he couldn't do. He said MB was the only was and their account was blocked or something, and he said he would fix it asap.

I sent daily sms's asking what was happening and usually he either never replied or told me there was nothing new. Then like two days before the event he said the money was in limbo somewhere at MB but they would be able to recover it by the event. They never did, and I still haven't seen this money either. None of these EPT team members had made it to Warsaw and as far as I'm concerned, they never even had a team.

This has been going for the rest of the year as well. The explanations have just got worse. For the next EPT it was that David's wife had been hit by a car. Oh, and also some manager who had the money had been hospitalized with appendicitis. And other absurd stuff like that, I must have sent 200 sms's to them during this time and I can't remember every hilarious explanation they gave.

After this I got an email from them were they were hugely apologetic and they were saying that the EPT team would now be launched in Prague at the last EPT of the year. They also said that they had hired a live event manager who would travel around with players and that he would take care of people's buy-ins at the tournaments.

I went to EMOP Ljubljana just before Prague, and asked a few days before the event if they were sure everything was going to be fine for sure. Well, apparently it wasn't going to be.

The live manager (who I doubt exists) had been sent the money, but then he had mysteriously disappeared. So they claimed to have hired some guy, who had then hit and ran with the buy-ins of the EPT team which would have been 21,000€. I asked wtf I was supposed to do as I was already in Prague, staying at the 300€/night Intercontinental and paying my bills myself, and they didn't answer. I asked what was going to happen with the other players, and they didn't answer (therefore I still think the whole "EPT team" was just a hoax). And lastly, I asked if David could just ship me the money even for just this buy-in a day before the EPT, and he answered "let me see what I can do". The money never came.

I've sent him a couple of emails after this, asking for a refund for all the buy-ins, but he hasn't replied. I also contacted other people from Tower, who also haven't replied. They have been freerolling with publicity all year long, as I've had my own editorial in the largest poker magazine in Finland all year and their logo has been hugely represented, their logos and links have been all over my blog which has 1.500 000 hits during this year, I've been playing and giving tv interviews in their gear, etc. And the last time I was paid anything was in January.

I've also been on 80% rakeback there all year, but have only been paid small sums throughout the year, as if I was on a 15% rb or something. I haven't received any rb for like 5 months now. When I asked about this in September, their answer was that they don't know what screen name I play under (WTF?!?!? I've always had the same account).

I'm working with a very large affiliate site which shall remain unnamed, and they have also been unable to contact Tower or David for some time now about rakeback issues. I spoke to another large affiliate yesterday and he had encountered the same problem with Tower. I personally know at least 5 people who have been waiting for their rakebacks for at least 1,5 months now, and there's this thread https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/51...months-648607/ and I'm SURE there must be other people in the world having issues with them as well.

To me, they owe roughly $10k in rakeback and $40k in tournament buy-ins.

As a side note, also this could be paranoia, a lot of my poker friends have received an extraordinaly large amounts of bonus offers and casino bonus offers from them recently. Could be just paranoia, or then maybe a sign that something's wrong.

I've got all the emails to prove all this, but it took me an hour to write this and I'm ridiculously tired so I'm too lazy to take screen prints right now. I can do this later, though. I'm only lacking evidence for the moneybookers part where their money was "in limbo" as most of the correspondence during this time was done by email.

Based on my experience, I would advise everyone to stay the hell out of this site.

I'm considering seeking legal action, but it seems kind of hopeless as I'd have to sue them in Kahnawake where their licence is, plus I'm sure it's hard for an individual to sue a large company like this. I also missed one tournament we had agreed that I would play, because I got robbed at gunpoint in Mexico City on my way there (LAPT Uruguay). I made up for this by playing another event with roughly the same buy-in and they said it was ok, but I'm sure they would use this against me somehow. Any legal advice is highly appreciated, though.


CLIFF NOTES:

-Tower Gaming has been lying to me for at least 6 months
-Promised to pay for my EPT season, made me play, didn't pay
-I've been lied a TON by people in very high positions in their company
-Rakebacks have not been paid and affiliates have been unable to contact them
-Possible financial trouble, watch your bankrolls

edit: If anyone knows someone who's actually been a part of this "EPT team" I'd be interested to hear.

Last edited by Chuck Bass; 12-12-2009 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:53 AM   #2
Stoichkov130
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Why do ppl insist on playing on these dodgy unknown sites?

Stick to Pokerstars or FTP.

"Tower Gaming", lol, never heard of them.

Stick to the major proven sites, the others cant be trusted imo.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:58 AM   #3
Chuck Bass
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoichkov130 View Post
Why do ppl insist on playing on these dodgy unknown sites?

Stick to Pokerstars or FTP.

"Tower Gaming", lol, never heard of them.

Stick to the major proven sites, the others cant be trusted imo.
One answer, rakeback. Also softer games.

The Ongame network is pretty big and I think TowerGaming is the largest there, or at least one of the largest.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:04 AM   #4
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

This is why u play only on FTP or Stars to avoid this stuff.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:05 AM   #5
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

why would pay 40 k in tourney BI if they havent given you the money before hand? thats just dum
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:05 AM   #6
Stoichkov130
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Alot of these skins are run like pyramid schemes, they dont have enough cash to cover all of the money.(E.G. the microgaming site that went bust recently and many others).


They take the deposits and "invest it" in things to make money for themselves, such as property or stock market. If these investments decline in value(as they all have recently), the site wont be solvent.

The honest sites such as FTP and PS and Party, they ring-fence player funds and dont invest/gamble it in the investment markets.

Avoid these small sites and stick to the big sites.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:07 AM   #7
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by playitlikeaset View Post
why would pay 40 k in tourney BI if they havent given you the money before hand? thats just dum
people are way too trusting on the interwebs
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:08 AM   #8
Chuck Bass
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

I always sold % at the forums and covered the rest myself. Obviously it's not very smart bankroll management-wise. Also, they always did the same thing: first pre-ept they were optimistic about sending the money, and then when the event was 1-2 days away and I had already booked flights etc and they knew that I would surely be playing, they admitted they're actually not sending it (or then just didn't respond to anything). I felt I had to play and give interviews in their clothes as I thought it was the only way to possibly ever see the money, even that I was pissed at them and the last thing I wanted to do was to wear their gear.

Also they are a lot larger company than the us people realise. For example, if they went down like BetOnBet, this would be 10x bigger as their player pool is huge compared to BetOnBet. They are a very well-known company in Europe and people from our affiliate company have met with their people (also David) on several occasions so there has been no reason to suspect a scam.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:09 AM   #9
fjjj1
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoichkov130 View Post
Why do ppl insist on playing on these dodgy unknown sites?

Stick to Pokerstars or FTP.

"Tower Gaming", lol, never heard of them.

Stick to the major proven sites, the others cant be trusted imo.
take this bull**** the hell out of this thread for crying out loud
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:10 AM   #10
Stoichkov130
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Thanks for the warning OP.
Its always good to know which sites to avoid.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:12 AM   #11
Abou Rachid
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Chuck Bass, you should remove the word rakeback from your post, it's not premitted on Ongame.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:14 AM   #12
Stoichkov130
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by fjjj1 View Post
take this bull**** the hell out of this thread for crying out loud
you care to enlighten me why thats bs ??

or maybe you cant.

I suspect the latter.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:17 AM   #13
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

OP got:



I don't worry about my karma here, been rolled for more in sponsorship monies. At least you got $20k value. You are young, at least you are not naive now.

Good luck in the future, you'll need it in this business.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:24 AM   #14
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

You say:
Quote:
The contract we made was checked by the lawyers of both parties, and the signatures that appear on it were mine and TowerGaming's affiliate manager David Visser's.
Where is this lawyer for you now? Get him/her involved imo...

Or is there something about this that won't work?
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:14 AM   #15
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

That's messed up. Thanks for the warning, and gl getting it sorted out (although honestly it seems like they are busto so it's probably time to cut your losses). Don't mind the NVG-tards that abound here.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:09 AM   #16
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Towergaming has locked my account for no reason at all, it has been locked for 2 weeks and i havent heard anything.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:19 AM   #17
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoichkov130 View Post
Why do ppl insist on playing on these dodgy unknown sites?

Stick to Pokerstars or FTP.

"Tower Gaming", lol, never heard of them.

Stick to the major proven sites, the others cant be trusted imo.
For ur sake i seriously hope this is a level, if not then.. i'm pretty much speechless..
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:32 AM   #18
Tirppa
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoichkov130 View Post
Why do ppl insist on playing on these dodgy unknown sites?

Stick to Pokerstars or FTP.

"Tower Gaming", lol, never heard of them.

Stick to the major proven sites, the others cant be trusted imo.
Tower Gaming skin has actually been around for I think three years at Ongame. I used to play fixed there and never had any issues. Then again I wasn't sponsored by them. Anyway, calling the site dodgy is a bit much imo.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:41 AM   #19
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

You have email proof and a contract with them.

Dont see why you couldnt just hire a lawyer.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:47 AM   #20
Tirppa
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieTheGreat View Post
You have email proof and a contract with them.

Dont see why you couldnt just hire a lawyer.
He cant afford one :P
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:51 AM   #21
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by playitlikeaset View Post
why would pay 40 k in tourney BI if they havent given you the money before hand? thats just dum
because he signed a legally binding contact?

EDIT: Don't forgot all the money you spent on contacting them
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:54 AM   #22
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

Sounds like they're going bankrupt...

I'm withdrawing my br asap
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:56 AM   #23
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

i hope these kinda stuff dont hit the news

general public will have a bad image of online poker and less fishes will play

i hate the UB incident, Eurolinx incidence and of course this.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:08 AM   #24
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

seriously are they broke?
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:19 AM   #25
Tirppa
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Re: Warning about Tower Gaming (tl;dr)

I'd take this news with a grain of salt if I were you guys. There was quite alot fuss about this guy around finnish forums about his stakes and stuff.
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