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Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.
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POKER SPOT SCANDAL

The Poker Spot scandal was one of the first real scandals to hit the online poker world as early as in 2001. After successfully launching the Internet’s first online poker room with several game types, the site went belly-up and never paid out its debts to players.

Poker Spot saw the light of day as early as May 2000 when the site launched with the Internet’s first offer to play several online poker game types. Before the launch of Poker Spot, only Planet Poker was offering online poker, but Poker Spot aspired to challenge this with fresh competition and a widened offer, including Stud and Omaha games as well as tournaments.

The takeoff of Poker Spot went well under the supervision of founding brothers Dutch and Robert Boyd. The two brothers had conceived the idea of a large online poker operation at a time when the market was still emerging, and could potentially look forward at a huge operation. Sadly, it would go very wrong instead, leaving the company as an example of how loosely regulated the online poker market was in its early days.

About one year after its launch, Poker Spot ran into its first problems. Poker Spot was relying on two payment processors, who were in charge of handling payouts and deposits between players and the site. In 2000, the two processing companies failed, leaving Poker Spot with a hole of $480,000, which was never recovered.

Once the liquidity problems struck Poker Spot, Dutch Boyd attempted to save his operation by instructing his support team to lie to players. As requests for missing payouts began rolling in, Boyd’s company repeatedly claimed that cheques were already in the mail, although the company could in fact not cover the missing money.

In November 2001, the losses were so substantial that Poker Spot closed up shop, still owing players more than $400,000. This money has never been recovered, and today the incident represents the first example of an online poker site going under with players paying the bill.

Dutch Boyd has similarly never paid back any of his company’s debts, although he remains a visible figure in the poker community. Boyd has since claimed that he himself suffered significant losses on Poker Spot, but many players question the truthfulness of this statement, and continue to question Boyd’s integrity as a player and businessman.

Ironically, Boyd himself has over $1.7 million in life tournament earnings, but still, no funds have ever been returned to former Poker Spot players.