“DOJ Plans Action Against Merge”

September 8, 2011 - 12:15 PM EDT

Subject: Poker has recently been told of planned US Department of Justice action against the Merge Gaming Network or some part of it.

According to our sources, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland plans to seize the assets of payment processors who facilitated transactions between the Merge Network and its US customers. It is unclear exactly which payment processors are reportedly being targeted, whether indictments are planned in addition to seizures, or whether the DOJ intends to seize domain names as well.1

The seizures were reportedly initially planned for mid- to late-September. However, such timelines are extremely fluid and sensitive to the particulars of the financial activities of the targets and the DOJ’s bureaucracy. So, an earlier or later date would certainly be possible. It is also unclear whether the DOJ will follow through with its reported plan now that it is public and, if so, how its publication would affect the timeline

Since the indictments on Black Friday, the Merge Network has made half-hearted attempts to avoid conflict with the DOJ. In particular, on May 24th, Merge stopped accepting new players from some US states with strict anti-gambling laws. This is likely in response to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the lesser-known 18 USC §1955, which use state laws to define federal crimes.2 However, by still allowing existing players from these states to continue playing for real money and ignoring many other states, such as Hawaii, that have strict gambling laws of their own, Merge has clearly failed to avoid the DOJ’s strict interpretation of violation of the UIGEA, which maintains that it is illegal to provide real money poker games to residents of these states.3

It is not immediately clear what will happen next and how players should react to this news. If the DOJ does follow through on its reported plan on roughly the same timeline, it is unlikely that customers would be able to withdraw before seizures occur because withdrawals on Merge currently take over a month to reach customers. Indeed, since payment processors are reportedly being targeted, a withdrawal could potentially move a player’s money into the reach of the DOJ. If Merge and its payment processors begin to move funds in an attempt to avoid potential DOJ action, this could lead to further processing delays and possibly even bounced checks. Again, because of the slow withdrawals on the Merge Network, it is unlikely that players withdrawing now would be able to avoid such problems; they may instead simply be subject to delays and possible failed transactions.

Subject: Poker does not know at this time whether the Merge Gaming Network keeps players’ funds in segregated accounts.4 If the DOJ does seize Merge funds, clearly marked segregated accounts may be spared. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the prosecutors behind Black Friday, released a statement in which it suggested a policy of not seizing segregated accounts and encouraging sites to repay players: “No individual player accounts were ever frozen or restrained, and each implicated poker company has at all times been free to reimburse any player’s deposited funds. In fact, this Office expects the companies to return the money that U.S. players entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to facilitate the return of funds to player.” However, the Maryland USAO, the prosecutors behind the May 23rd seizures and the reported plans discussed in this article, has made no such statement and has generally shown players much less sympathy. So, it is not clear whether the Maryland USAO would seize segregated player funds, and if such a seizure (or any seizure) could cause the Merge Network to become unable to meet its obligations to players.

Subject: Poker will continue to monitor this story as it develops.

Edited on 9/8/2011 5:50 PM EDT: Removed the word “exclusive” from the title because it was being misinterpreted.


  1. Most skins on the Merge Network have moved their websites to the country code top-level domains of either the European Union (.eu) or Antigua (.ag), and their generic (.com) domain names now redirect. Merge’s own website and those of some skins still use the generic domain names. So, it is unclear what effect seizure of the generic domain names would have on the Merge Network and its players.
  2. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act defines “unlawful Internet gambling” as “to place, receive, or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet or wager by any means which involves the use, at least in part, of the Internet where such bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or State law in the State or Tribal lands in which the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made.” Though it does not ban “unlawful internet gambling” explicitly, it goes on to ban the transfer of any money related to such activity. Some people, including the DOJ, interpret this as an extension of state law concerning individuals gambling, which typically does not apply to the internet and interstate commerce, to federal law concerning gambling companies and payment processors, which does. Many state laws are quite explicit. For example, Maryland Criminal Code §12-102 says in part simply, “A person may not bet, wager, or gamble.”
  3. It is not clear whether a site could successfully avoid DOJ actions by further restricting its US real money player pool to certain states. The DOJ has argued that the Wire Act in connection with the UIGEA and 18 USC §1955 make it illegal to provide interstate real money online poker games in the US. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Wire Act only applies to sportsbetting.
  4. The Merge Network has repeatedly refused to comment on how it keeps player funds. They are currently licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which does not require fund segregation. However, they received a letter of intent in early July suggesting that they would soon be able to secure a license from Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority, and Merge Gaming Malta Ltd was recently added to the LGA’s list of class four licensees. Many Merge skins, including Lock Poker, Carbon Poker, and Hero Poker, have already added the LGA’s logo to their websites. The LGA has quite strict policies about segregation. However, neither Merge nor the LGA have confirmed the acquisition of a license, and the LGA recently released a statement in which it said unambiguously “Lockpoker.eu is not licensed by the LGA” and ”the website http://lockpoker.eu/ has no connection whatsoever with the Authority and therefore any mention of the Authority or license issued by the Authority on the mentioned website is false and misleading.” So, it is not clear whether Merge does indeed have an LGA license, and if so, whether the license applies to the entire network or simply a part of it.

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73 Responses to “DOJ Plans Action Against Merge”

  1. Interested
    September 8, 2011 at 12:36 PM EDT

    “Sources” at the USAO? Can you be more specific? Why would any AUSA talk to subject:poker about this if it isn’t public information?

    • FFS
      September 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT

      +1. Verify sources plz

    • Jeff
      September 8, 2011 at 3:11 PM EDT

      Source might be someone in cake who just wants to push traffic away from a growing site

      • wazzup
        September 9, 2011 at 3:10 AM EDT

        Or bodog who is close to overtaking merge on pokerscout. Definitely looks like a paid article.

        • wazzup
          September 9, 2011 at 7:00 PM EDT

          The “source” confirmed that he doesn’t work for the DOJ and stated “For those who continue to bash my crediblity as well as Noah’s well I hope you lose all your money online”

          Really credible… sounds like a teenager with a grudge.

          • pissed!
            March 4, 2012 at 12:54 PM EDT

            I got a check for $500 from lock.. It bounced twice now im hung with the badcheck and cant get lock to reply to me… looks like im screwwwwd!

  2. joe
    September 8, 2011 at 2:11 PM EDT

    What an absurd article – I’m sure someone working for the DOJ decided to leak information to your site risking their career/possible jail time. Hopefully you have some legit sources otherwise you should all get cancer and rot in hell.

    • sajeffe
      September 8, 2011 at 3:09 PM EDT

      Tilt much? You’re just downright mean. Hopefully when you grow up, you’ll understand the concept of respectful disagreement.

  3. Kevin
    September 8, 2011 at 2:52 PM EDT

    I really do find it hard to believe that a DOJ official would leak out that this action is pending to the SP website, or to anyone in general.

    I don’t agree at all with “Joe’s” comments…we should all be able to have a “grown up” conversation about these sorts of things without wishing violence or pain on others.

    I can understand you not wanting to post sources for that kind of info here, since they would be facing a federal indictment over it, but without sources, this kinda information just sounds like speculation.

  4. Jeff
    September 8, 2011 at 2:58 PM EDT

    You guys are doing damage to the remainder of online poker. If you have a source list it otherwise GTFO. This article is doing nothing positive for the community. This is poker news done horribly wrong.

    • David
      September 9, 2011 at 1:17 AM EDT

      Agreed. The problem lies in the fact that most of the S:P team does not play poker, let alone online. They also seemingly lend much credence to the DOJ’s actions, while making everyone else out to be criminals. I just think it’s biased at best, especially when it’s considered that the laws are vague, AT BEST. All you have to do is read Noah’s comments on 2p2, especially recent ones in a Doyle’s Room thread to know how he feels about the subject.

      • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
        September 9, 2011 at 1:45 AM EDT

        I was a professional online poker player for roughly five years. Almost everyone behind Subject: Poker has been a professional online poker players, and many still are. We’re all active members of the poker community.

      • LearnedHand13
        September 9, 2011 at 2:19 PM EDT

        It sounds to me like you would rather have no information than unverified information that you can research and think about yourself. I think that such a position is completely idiotic (I don’t mean to come down to your level, but I kind of feel like there is no other way).

        As a critical thinker, I find SP’s articles to be very informative and unbiased. The fact that they do not always argue for poker players rights is completely expected; they are a news website and they have never suggested that they would be a lobbyist for the poker playing community. As an attorney, I understand that the DOL’s actions are completely defensible as they are tasked with upholding the laws, as written. As a poker player, I completely disagree with the law and believe that it SHOULD be different, but unfortunately, that IS NOT the case, so the DOL must enforce it how it IS.

        To say that information should be withheld because you don’t think its bad for the community or because it is unverified sounds dangerously similar to censorship. In fact it is this type of intrusion into our personal lives that is the root cause of Black Friday. Politicians are trying to protect us from ourselves by limiting our ability to gamble and you are trying to limit the amount of information in the community because you don’t think it will be good for poker players or because you believe unverified information is not appropriate news.

        Thanks SP for putting out information, disclosing that it is unverified and allowing the community to use our own heads to determine its veracity. Keep up the good work!

  5. sajeffe
    September 8, 2011 at 3:06 PM EDT

    I’m wondering HOW MANY direct sources you have for this story. Thanks for writing it. Most people should be expecting DoJ action on any poker site, but if you really have multiple sources on this, it’s good to know.

  6. David
    September 8, 2011 at 3:10 PM EDT

    I mean, on another note.
    Not giving sources leaves some possibility that this is a scare tactic used by one of the other US freindly sites, trying to direct more customers away from merge and hopefully to themselves.

    • Johnny5
      September 8, 2011 at 3:13 PM EDT

      what other us friendly sites. Cake doesnt count, they are friendly to nobody, thieves.

    • sajeffe
      September 8, 2011 at 3:24 PM EDT

      LOL. Right.
      Do you realize that if they name their sources, the sources go to prison? I’m not sure you understand the seriousness of a government leak.

  7. wtf
    September 8, 2011 at 3:28 PM EDT

    Processors have been shut down continually and quietly even before the events of black Friday. In the past the sites have eaten the losses and business would continue as normal. The real question is how large of a scale this ‘raid’ will be and if merge will be able to absorb it.

    To the DOJ,

    If you’d just talk to your pals over at the legislative branch we’d love to play licensed and regulated online poker here in the states. This ‘black’ market exists for a reason and there will always be a company out there to fill the void – regardless of the risks involved. It’s not against the law for us to play online poker, that’s the paradox of all this nonsense.

    • David
      September 9, 2011 at 1:22 AM EDT

      It’s not even about them enforcing laws that are targeted at a “black market”. It’s always been a money grab, and a very successful one. Not only that, but again the laws on the books that they are supposedly enforcing are very ambiguous. Why take a different line though when they have never been challenged and with so much free money on the line to fill their pockets with?

      • David
        September 9, 2011 at 1:26 AM EDT

        Let’s not forget the big fat chec3k they held up with their smiles from previous seizures. Maryland is very much aware of how lucrative it is to do this. Not surprised one bit they are after more. I’d be surprised if they weren’t, to be honest.

  8. Mario S
    September 8, 2011 at 3:42 PM EDT

    Why is everyone pissed about no sources? How stupid can you be? Take the article for what it’s worth.

  9. Ryan
    September 8, 2011 at 3:49 PM EDT

    Stop questioning his sources and wake up.

    A major lawyer for FTP, Ray Bitar and others came onto 2p2 with the help of Noah and answered questions freely. He has since submitted his withdrawal to the case, as reported here. That event seems to be more improbable than Noah or another SP author having a source familiar with DOJ plans.

    How do you think the military’s plans for middle eastern countries is revealed consistently in major newspapers? Imagine who leaks that.

    And if you want to credit those events to the resources of a major newspaper, fine, but just in this FTP debacle the LAT reported incorrectly that a deal was happening between FTP and an investor. Noah cautioned the community on that report, said he couldn’t verify it from his sources and this site has consistently been breaking the most accurate news before and after that. So if Subject Poker can trump major media outlets on the FTP story, why can’t they trump major media outlets on the issue of the Merge Network and DOJ? This isn’t exactly front page news for newspapers, so you won’t see them scouring their sources for information on this one.

    Keep up the good work SP.

    • sajeffe
      September 8, 2011 at 4:21 PM EDT

      Well said!

  10. Bill
    September 8, 2011 at 4:34 PM EDT

    Man you guys are something else. I wish I had seen a clear warning before Fulltilt was closed. I expect many of you do too. Yet here you are bitching because they keep a source confidential.

  11. Rob C
    September 8, 2011 at 4:48 PM EDT

    You do understand that most of us have expected this since Black Friday. The DOJ is going balls out to clean up the online gaming market for future US based offerings. Pending legislation for 2012 will pass in one form or the other and the Nevada consortium wants a level playing field. Processors are so scared now even legitimate subscription sites and US legal horse wagering sites are having a hard time. This will get much uglier before it gets better.

  12. Rusty H
    September 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM EDT

    any chance for you guys to put the full articles into your rss feed? it makes synching a phone and reading offline much easier.

  13. Online Poker Sites
    September 8, 2011 at 5:34 PM EDT

    This reads very much like a Gambling911 article.

  14. DiamondDixie
    September 8, 2011 at 5:58 PM EDT

    Guys you’re overreacting! All this says is that there are “possibly” pending DOJ actions for processors to have funds seized. Processors have been shut down and funds seized for years. This is news being written to sound scarier than it really is. The writer is sensationalizing this story knowing that people will interpret it as “OMG Merge is being indicted” when the writer plainly says according to his “source” it is unclear if there are indictments for Merge or the skins.

    I also don’t believe SP couldn’t get confirmation that Merge keeps player funds segregated I’ve been told by Carbon Poker and by the CEO of Hero that they definitely do keep player funds segregated.

    I’m just not particularly bothered by this.

    • Ryan
      September 8, 2011 at 6:22 PM EDT

      Diamond, the segregation of funds is unclear.

      Lock, RPM and Carbon all say they keep player funds separate from operational funds when asked if it is segregated. They do NOT use the word segregate.

      Hero CEO many months ago used the term segregate. Since then, when asked, many skins (that use the same Merge processor Hero uses) have said “separate” not “segregate” when specifically asked about segregating funds.

      Further, skins like Lock have done their own processing through their sportsbook, telling players to cashout there when it is faster than the poker (Merge) cashout option.

      Given the conflicting information and large amount of skins on this network and various cashout methods that seem to be constantly changing (RPM Seth has said this much on 2p2), it does not surprise me that this information cannot be verified at the time of this story.

  15. Jesse Walker
    September 8, 2011 at 7:35 PM EDT

    My plan is to take some action is to wait and see. I’ve cashout pending but I’m also keeping some funds in. I’m not going to stop playing until I hear more.

  16. uuum yea
    September 8, 2011 at 8:10 PM EDT

    heres what we do know. if u want something completely fucked up, let the u.s. govt handle it. that said, when legislation is passed by the u.s. govt on legal poker, ull know it when u turn on ur puter to play and an overwhelming stench of month old piss comes outta nowhere. that stench is gonna be the god awful piece of legislation that the u.s. govt just passed REALLy fuckin things up for everyone involved but them.

  17. Kat Martin
    September 9, 2011 at 2:52 AM EDT

    Wow, no good deed goes unpunished, huh? Those of you slamming the authors of this article might like to flip back through recent Subject:Poker stories for veracity. And no, I don’t work for this site, I write for a competitor.

    - Kat

  18. SteveCut
    September 9, 2011 at 3:03 AM EDT

    Obviously S:P cannot give any hint as to sources for this, but anyone who has followed S:P will know that they will have considered *very* carefully whether and what to publish. They will not have gone public with this information without being sure of their facts.

    Sometimes a little trust is required and I think S:P have earned our trust.

    • Wayne
      September 9, 2011 at 4:23 AM EDT

      +1 Noah has previously said that he does not publish unless he is able to 100% verify the information.

      Keep up the good work guys, you are the most trusted poker news site.

  19. Joe Blow
    September 9, 2011 at 3:35 AM EDT

    Doesnt really matter this hole chit im never gonna play on a gooberment runned gaming so im going accross the border and im playing on either partypoker or pokerstars hahahahha suckers enjoy the pathetic gooberment!!!

  20. Qwerty
    September 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM EDT

    Eek…. I received mail from a lawyer in dallas regarding the debit card cashier option about two weeks ago

    • Mr Lucky
      September 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM EDT

      Please elaborate… Why exactly would you receive mail from a lawyer regarding a debit card?? I’ve been using this option for a while now and never had any issue with it.

  21. players o
    September 9, 2011 at 2:01 PM EDT

    Why did you recieve mail from a lawyer in dallas about the debit card?

  22. I_Love_Carbonhydrates
    September 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM EDT

    EXCUSE ME Noah!! Why did you delete my post! How come you can post on our site but we can’t post here? How come ONLY YOU and people who agree can post about this and no body else? You are very rude to me but I will forgive you this time. The CEO has instruct me to post it again until you stop deleting. Sorry I can only do as he say otherwise I have no job.

    <3 Noah for not deleting this time so I can go home. If you really must delete it then please post a message now and tell us how come everyone must agree with you, why you need that so much?Thankyou.

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 10, 2011 at 12:43 PM EDT

      I deleted your post both because it included an off-topic racist rant.

      I certainly allow critical comments. That shold be pretty obvious from simply reading the comments of others.I believe that I’ve only deleted three comments in the history of this site (not counting spam, of course). I’m very very hesitant to censor comments, but I think racism crosses a line.

      In your new post, I left your complaint about my deletion but removed the rest.

  23. I_Love_Carbonhydrates
    September 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM EDT

    Thankyou for your reply here Noah. Is unfortunate you did delete the wrong part, I think you can delete the rest of that message now it makes no sense edited, I promise I won’t accuse you of being a commi or a racist LOL. There was nothing racist in my comment I reject your acusation the same as I will be rejecting all your acusations from now on, an arguably prejudice sentence was contained, but it was not a propoganda piece, was only sentiments for 10Th anniversary of NY <3

    I'm sorry if my one sentence was off topic, but why is it that you deleted the main paragraph that only refered to merge? No need to answer, I can see you frustrate right now and I don't want to make it worse. Knowing it was actually you that deleted the post, and then it was you that accuse me of racism to avoid my question is all the information I am required. I won't bother you anymore now. But that's only a prediction. Thankyou have a nice day from libertaspropoker.com

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 10, 2011 at 1:18 PM EDT

      I’m sorry if you feel that I ignored your question. I guess you’re right because I’m not really sure what question you asked.

      I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say at all, actually, which makes it difficult for me to really respond and difficult for me to remove only the offensive parts of your posts.

  24. I_Love_HydratedNoahFlakes
    September 10, 2011 at 1:57 PM EDT

    So I’m crazy now, right? Is that like the only course you need to take to become a 2+2 mod. Crazy projection 101? You sir deleted my post because I made critical remarks of YOU and I gave a high five to Quadjacks who maybe you despise? Did they cross you oh holy one?

    If you really want to understand what my OP was about just put it back up in its entirety, if you can’t figure it out I’m sure somebody else will. But now you are making me feel like a racist bully!, they must have taught you that in the advanced classes?? How about we forget about all this, we go out for a drink, and if you admit you a nerd troll when you drunk I’ll pick up the tab? Friends for life! 2+2 and a half psychics?

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 10, 2011 at 2:15 PM EDT

      I didn’t say you were crazy, and I didn’t delete your post because it was critical or because you mentioned QJ. I very rarely delete comments, and I certainly leave a lot of criticism. On the rare occasion that I do consider deleting comments, I’m much more hesitant to delete negative comments than positive ones because I don’t want to feel like I’m censoring criticism. I deleted your comment because it contained discussion of banning a peaceful religion, and I’m much more comfortable deleting an entire comment than I am editing someone else’s words without her permission.

      You said that I avoided your question. I said that I’m sorry you feel that way, but obviously there’s been some misunderstanding because I don’t know what you were asking me or what you’re trying to say in general. If you’d like to repost your original comment/question/criticism in a way that doesn’t include racist tangents and that I can understand, I’ll be happy to respond.

  25. Michael
    September 11, 2011 at 2:11 AM EDT

    Why post this? What good does it accomplish? Now those of us enjoying the games still available will surely suffer as a result of your lack of judgement. Your site has done an amazing job since black friday up until now. This is a rumor first of all, and it speaks to something that happened hundreds of times before black friday, NOT a forthcoming indictment (which would actually be important to know about). It seems you usually do everything for all the right reasons so I really am clueless as to what made you feel this would be good to share in such a volatile time.

    • Kim
      September 12, 2011 at 6:32 PM EDT

      I accomplishes one thing – it scares players into withdrawing so that the DOJ can grab more money if and when they do take down the processor. Pretty smart of them to leak this to a a news outlet that a lot of players will believe without question.

      And nice work taking the bait S:P. You’ve played the game exactly as they planned.

      • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
        September 12, 2011 at 6:39 PM EDT

        1) We explained to players this risk in the article.
        2) Players with money aren’t the only people who read this article. Merge read the article. Players who were considering depositing on Merge read the article.
        3) Given that Merge takes a few weeks to approve a cashout and that AFAIK cashouts do not go to payment processors until after they are approved, it’s unlikely that that risk would actually materialize.

        • Michael
          September 16, 2011 at 11:33 AM EDT

          Noah, what gets me isn’t that you posted the article it’s that you twisted the supposed facts. On top of that up until now you had said you were holding off on posting things until you confirmed through multiple sources. Now you’re coming out with something where you can’t name a source. I understand why you have to withhold the source but what I don’t understand is why there is any mention of the doj or use of their logo when this rumor is strictly applicable to the US Attorney’s Office of Maryland? Hearing DOJ involvement is big news to the online poker world and is not what you said you received from your source. Hearing about the US Attorney of Maryland is old news we have been down that path hundreds of times already. The heads up is nice it’s the sensationalizing and including DOJ’s name and logo that is pissing people off.

          • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
            September 16, 2011 at 11:56 AM EDT

            The US Attorney’s Office is an office of the Department of Justice. The 4/15 seizures/indictments/civil case were all done by the USAO for the Southern District of new York, for example.

  26. Tootie
    September 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM EDT

    The agenda of subject poker is now pretty obvious.

    A “reliable source” means absolutely nothing on this site now.

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM EDT

      What agenda do you think we obviously have?

      • LearnedHand13
        September 13, 2011 at 12:37 AM EDT

        Are you starting to see why people don’t do this stuff for free? Gotta get paid to put up with this crap. You are never going to make everyone happy.

        Is this post good for the already skiddish poker playing community? No, and some would argue that its even worse, because there’s nothing we can do about it as a result of the expected timing. But is that reason to withhold solid information?

        We are all gamblers and we think about odds and EV and we are constantly making decisions that we hope/believe will be good for our bottom line. If we believe we are getting the right price, either side of any bet is profitable. So for those of us who are taking the “they aren’t targeting Merge” side, this article could kill a lot of our action. For those of us that are taking the other side, this article could create unnecessary variance when we refuse to accept reasonable offers to buy out of the prop.

        You can never be 100% certain about the expected course of another person/entity; there is always some risk. If you are right about this, you are the messenger we will aim to kill and if you are wrong, your sources were bad in the first place and you are
        not a good poker journalist for posting information that you weren’t certain about. You deserve respect for putting the site out there like this, and, as we know, certain rewards are not attainable without taking significant risk, so even though I will losing money once again if you are right, I’m sort of rooting for you.

        • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
          September 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM EDT

          “Are you starting to see why people don’t do this stuff for free? Gotta get paid to put up with this crap. You are never going to make everyone happy.”

          This isn’t the first time I’ve received a lot of criticism, and it probably won’t be the last. I’m aware that what I’m doing is pretty nuts, and if I weren’t smart/self-conscious enough to realize that on my own, I’ve got lots of friends and family who are kind enough to point it out to me on a regular basis.

          I’m doing it anyway because I think it’s the right thing to do right now.

          “Is this post good for the already skiddish poker playing community? No, and some would argue that its even worse, because there’s nothing we can do about it as a result of the expected timing. But is that reason to withhold solid information?”

          I would not have published this if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I have withheld solid information numerous times specifically because I thought releasing it would harm the poker community.

          • LearnedHand13
            September 14, 2011 at 1:26 PM EDT

            I have to admit, that although, I am very much part of the poker community and I don’t want our games to dry up etc, I don’t think that withholding solid information for that reason is appropriate if you are trying to be a no-BS poker news provider. Of course, you may not aim to be a completely unbiased media source for poker news and that’s fine.

            You won’t hear me complaining about increased information, because we can and should read everything with a critical eye toward the ever-elusive truth.

  27. Gauntlet
    September 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM EDT
  28. bigballa6
    September 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM EDT

    To me this is the biggest pile of horse crap i have read in a long while ,you mean to tell me that all of the indictments against full tilt ,poker stars,ub and absolute not to mention the other 10 sites closed ,why the hell did subject poker not report on this ,and why did no1 here get a so called source for all of this that was done to these poker sites.There are tons of better and bigger poker forums that this so called source could have gave the info to.If your trying to build a case against a business or some1 you do not leak vital information that could compromise your case .This is a complete smare compaign.I have been playing on the merge network and will continue to do so.

    • zedmaster84
      September 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM EDT

      “not to mention the other 10 sites closed” I am sure you are referring to Blue Monday and the seizure of the Yatahay network skin domains … only two of them actually shut down, the others moved to an .ag domain and still operate business as usual

  29. jackuphandy5
    September 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM EDT

    This is just a rumour and a nasty rumour ,there is not one ounce of truth to this story.Can someone explain why there are new poker rooms that are joining merge network ,if this was true these poker rooms would certainly not join merge poker network ,there are 3 confirmed poker rooms coming from other networks to join the merge network .When i spoke with a rep of one of these poker rooms they still plan to make the move soon to merge ,it makes no sense that these poker rooms would join merge if they thought the network was in trouble.Just a bad rumour and this rumour will die out as it allready is dying out as we speak.If you are a player at merge continue playing like i am.

  30. Jerry J
    September 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM EDT

    You could print virtually anything under the guise of “sources” that can’t be named due to legal consequences. I agree with what Jeff said: If you have a source list it otherwise GTFO

    While you may have actually had a source tell you all of this, it’s merely gossip if the audience has no idea who’s giving the info. Post this on a forum or something – not a site that’s actually been given some credibility in the past. It’s causing even more panic in the online poker world, which is not something that players need right now.

  31. zedmaster84
    September 15, 2011 at 7:24 AM EDT

    Hello Noah,

    can you look into this post, I am not the author but just stumbled over it since we have a news feed with them for our site.


    Thanks in advance.

  32. captaoncook
    September 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM EDT

    Noahs source was revieled and it turned out to be a hoax ,subject poker really messed this one up ,merge is in no more danger then what it was before

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM EDT

      That didn’t happen.

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 15, 2011 at 2:55 PM EDT

      If you’d like to continue posting comments on this article, please use only one screen name. It is not at all appropriate to pretend to be multiple people with the same view by posting from a number of different screen names.

      • zedmaster84
        September 15, 2011 at 4:58 PM EDT

        Not sure if you are referring to me, that was my first post on here and you can also check my German IP as well … . I just posted the link because the news post was directly referring to this one and I wanted to know what is going on.

        • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
          September 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM EDT

          No, not you. You’re fine.

          Sorry for any confusion. We’re dealing with a few people who are attempting to derail the discussion either by posting the same comments from many accounts, posting inappropriate and unrelated things, or by spamming. We’ve had to turn back on manual approval for comments as a result.

  33. SuCKnOuT
    September 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM EDT

    idiots.. had me make a major withdrawal for nothing!!! We Should be helping each other.. our government screwed us and now our peers are doing the same

  34. Ryan
    September 15, 2011 at 10:16 PM EDT

    SuCKnOuT, while I sympathize with your point about working together, the below is from the article:

    “it is unlikely that players withdrawing now would be able to avoid such problems”

    Why did you make a major cashout?

    • Jeff
      September 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM EDT

      More like, How did you make a major cashout? Please let us know.

    • SuCKnOuT
      September 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM EDT


  35. Jim Merryman
    September 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM EDT

    I play on Carbon. I just wanted to say thank you for the story you posted. Anyone who can’t understand the multiple reasons you didn’t post your source is a complete moron, IMO. I think your story has given Merge a chance to get our money out of reach of the US Government, at least temporarily, and that is a very good thing. You have delayed what we all know is inevitable. And I for one am very happy to still be able to play.


  36. Abdera
    September 25, 2011 at 11:14 PM EDT

    Noah, has anything changed since you first published this report? Do you have any updates?

  37. chad lighten
    September 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM EDT

    I am curious too if Noah has anymore updates about this situation .I have still been playing on merge network and have been assured that this subject poker blog is simply false,but i will say 1 good thing about subject poker ,if DOJ planned on going after merge network they surely will not go after it now after this info was leaked

  38. Fearl
    October 14, 2011 at 4:08 PM EDT

    Any update on this “story”?

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