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No cashing out for Caribbean Adventure runner-up
Isaac Haxton, the second-place finisher at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas in January, may have to go to battle again if he wants to get his cash from the event. Nearly $800,000, some of which is his payout from the poker tournament, is locked up in NETeller.
According to Haxton, after his second-place result at the WPT Caribbean Adventure, his winnings were deposited directly into his account with the sponsoring online poker site. This was standard for all who cashed in the event.
"Like many other players from the tournament," Haxton said, "I moved (the money) through NETeller on the way to my bank account."
The day after he moved his money to NETeller, the founders of the company were arrested in the U.S. That led to American accounts on the site used for online gambling fund transfers being frozen.
The funds are being held as evidence for the trial of John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence, who are accused of conspiring to transfer funds with the intent to promote illegal gambling.
Haxton said that NETeller so far hasn't been able to give him any indication how he could access his money. The company also hasn't been very helpful in giving him information about the situation.
"It is likely that the situation is out of their hands, but they haven't told me or anyone else anything about what's going on aside from a totally unencouraging press release on Feb. 8 that you can find on their Web site," he said.
The young poker pro did indicate he is considering taking legal action to try to get the money.
"It is probable that such action would be against the DOJ (Department of Justice) rather than NETeller," Haxton said. "All indications are that they are the ones who control the money right now."
Despite not having access to a major part of his winnings, Haxton is continuing on the poker trail both online and off.
To make up for a slightly tighter bankroll, he's sold a quarter of his action at a bit above face value for upcoming live tournaments to cut back on his variance.
"I don't anticipate having any trouble playing in as many tournaments as I want to," Haxton said.
It helps that he recently placed well at the Season 5 World Poker Tour Los Angeles Poker Classic to add another $45,000 to his bankroll.
As for online play, he hasn't slowed down one bit, and he sill plays almost every day.
"Moving money between sites has gotten more difficult, but I have enough friends who maintain large balances on Internet poker sites that I can pretty easily arrange to swap Full Tilt money for Stars or whatever if I need to," Haxton said.
Haxton's case may be more unique because of the dollar amounts involved, but he is not alone. Online poker forums are abuzz with American players relating tales of a few dollars to hundreds to thousands of dollars tied up in NETeller.
The common concern seems to be when and if the players will be able to get their money, or what action they can take to get their money. Like Haxton, many are considering legal action.