Is Carbon Poker a scam? This is a question many online poker players are asking. After all, you want an online poker room that’s fair and safe. These companies should value your business, protect your money and relinquish it in a prompt manner when you demand it.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and there’s certainly some indication that Carbon Poker many not be that outfit. With that in mind, let’s explore what we know and what makes us most uncomfortable about the Carbon Poker brand.
But to cut to the chase, our opinion is that Carbon Poker is a scam.
What Makes a Poker Site Legit?
For us, legitimacy comes down to two main issues: fair games and access to your money. Understandably, players want a poker room that’s transparent about its operation and works hard to eliminate any hurdles when it comes to depositing and withdrawing money. There are undeniable red flags with Carbon Poker on both fronts. Most of these flags arise from money issues, but there are also very real concerns with transparency and regulation.
A Lack of Transparency
The whispers about Carbon Poker being rigged are becoming louder and more prevalent. A prevailing story has Carbon Poker using a network of players in poor Eastern European countries to help rig games. Is it true? It’s difficult to say, but honestly, it seems a little far-fetched. Nevertheless, what does Carbon Poker do to squash these concerns? Not much. In fact, the service has become less transparent over the years. Stats aren’t easily accessible, and it’s often impossible to identify an opponent. These are common features, and their omission certainly feeds these concerns about games being fixed.
Warnings from Major Credit Cards
Some users have had difficulty making deposits. This isn’t something you normally you associate with a scam because the best scams are great at taking your money. This may hint at some of the cash flow issues we’ll discuss later, but what’s interesting is that some major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard have issued advisements to customers trying to make these deposits to be careful. To our knowledge, Visa hasn’t directly called Carbon Poker sketchy, but they’ve certainly implied it in a hands-off manner.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Carbon Poker is delayed withdrawals. The withdrawal process isn’t user-friendly and customer support is often unreachable or unhelpful. Even when one does navigate this inconvenient process, most withdrawals take well in excess of the promised times. Even withdrawals to a Visa credit card or a major bank account can take a week or longer. Multiple weeks for credit cards and web wallets isn’t unusual, and paper checks often take months to arrive. You want to know that you have access to your money when you want it, and Carbon Poker doesn’t necessarily provide that.
In addition to the problem of substantial withdrawal delays has been the issue of non-cashable checks. Carbon Poker members requesting paper withdrawals have had to deal with some of the most significant delays, and on top of that, there have been numerous reports of receiving checks that banks wouldn’t cash for a variety of reasons. These members then had to report the issue to Carbon Poker, have the first check cancelled and another sent out, which often took as long as the first to arrive.
On top of that, banks charge a fee for the bounced check and Carbon Poker will not reimburse you these bank charges.
Pulling Withdrawal Options without Notice
Carbon Poker pulled Skrill/Moneybookers as a supported option for withdrawals without notice to its customers. It’s worth noting that Carbon Poker isn’t the only online gambling site to have issues with Skrill. It has something to do with banking regulation with the US, which is why many casinos void promotions on deposits made through this service.
Nevertheless, at the time this decision was made, there were thousands of European members with money tied up and no way to access it. Carbon Poker was unsympathetic and unhelpful and could only recommend paper checks as a solution.
One of the shadiest aspects of Carbon Poker is manipulation of its VIP store. As a Carbon Poker member, you earn loyalty points when contributing to rakes or purchasing tournament buy-ins with real cash.
The VIP store lets you convert those points into bonus cash you can use at the tables or purchase merchandise. Much of the merchandise is fantastic, but there have been numerous complaints of the most prized items suddenly being unavailable when players have reached enough points to claim them.
Licensing and Regulation
Licensing and regulation is a concern as well. Carbon Poker is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. When the KGC first became prevalent online, this was enticing particularly to U.S. players. After all, the KGC is in Canada, and Canada’s laws are quite similar to the U.S. But the reality is that the KGC isn’t in Canada technically but in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. This commission has its own issues, and it’s becoming clear that KGC regulation isn’t something you can simply rely on.
A Problem of Cash flow
If you look at all the issues with Carbon Poker right now, they all seem to point to a problem with cash flow. We don’t think Carbon Poker is delaying withdrawals for any reason other than the fact that they’re walking a fine balancing line financially. For you, the player, that’s a huge concern.
Can Carbon Poker remain solvent? Well, taking five months in some cases to deliver cashable checks in amounts less than $5,000 is a bad sign. It warns of a company that can go under at any time, and if that happens, then all of the money in your account is going with it and with very little recourse.
ChipSplit Scams Marketing Partners
Another clear sign of cash flow issues occurred in May of 2015 and then in June of 2016. ChipSplit, the affiliate marketing arm of Carbon Poker, cancelled its affiliate program in May of 2015. ChipSplit would pay web partners a % commission for referring poker players to the site. The affiliate program closed its doors in May of 2015 – which is not scammy in itself, because ChipSplit made it clear that it would continue to pay its commissions for all the past players referred up to that point, but that no new players would be compensated.
The bomb dropped a year later in June of 2016. ChipSplit then unilaterally announced that it would stop all commission payments and no longer uphold its obligations to compensate for past poker player referrals. It would be one thing if Carbon Poker closed its doors and therefore there were no longer any commission payments to make. But Carbon Poker continues to operate – with the players that were referred by its Internet partners – while ignoring their obligatory commission payments.
Below is the notice from ChipSplit:
To us, this appears to be a breach of contract. And also another clear sign that Carbon Poker has cash flow problems.
If Carbon Poker is willing to scam its business partners, its willing to scam its players.
This is your money on the line. Is it worth the risk? That’s up to you, but don’t make that decision without considering all the other fantastic poker options that are currently available to you online.
Our opinion is that Carbon Poker is a scam and not legit.
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Totally agree with this review. It took forever to receive a check and then the check doesn't even clear - what a joke. I get charged $35 for every returned check and Carbon never even responds to complaints that they should cover that.