Imagine the feeling of hitting a big tournament score with your last few dollars, only to have your bank refuse to cash out your winnings. That’s exactly what happened to poker player RuiDeck, who has been put through a roller coaster of emotions since taking third place in the PokerStars MicroMillions Main Eventfor $59,480. This according to a few sites, including PokerNews.
Having only $11 in his account, RuiDeck could not afford the $22 buy-in to enter the MicroMillions event, so he played, and won, a 10 FTP satellite. The Main Event was a smashing success, with PokerStars attracting 20,000 entries, easily reaching the guarantee.
Although he didn’t win the whole thing, RuiDeck, who resides in Dresden, Germany, was ecstatic with his third place result and $60,000 in winnings. Immediately after the big score, the Italian poker player quit his job as a waiter and booked a flight back to his native Sicily, where he planned to “start a new adventure as a poker player.”
But joy soon turned to anger and frustration after his bank suddenly decided to freeze the cashout over money laundering concerns. “Initially, I have been told that my withdrawal would take approximately one week, as the policies against money laundering impose strict control on withdrawals of a sum bigger than €10,000,” he told an Italian poker forum. “Then, my bank told me thatmy request could not be processed because poker is illegal in Saxony, the federal State where I reside.”
To RuiDeck’s dismay, he had been caught in the middle of what can be complicated and confusing gaming laws in Germany. In fact, some iGaming operators like Mansion and Playtech have recently decided to pull out of the country instead of risking being targeted by authorities.
RuiDeck isn’t the only player to have had issues with cashing out internet gambling winnings in Germany as of late. A 25-year-old blackjack player had $72,100 confiscated after the District Court of Munich found him guilty of illegal gambling at an online site. And the police didn’t stop there; after concluding that the player had withdrawn $227,000 in winnings in 2011, they fined him an additional $2,400. He was able, however, to convince investigators that €10,000 of the cash uncovered belonged to his mother.
Poker players now fear that the government is ramping up its efforts to prosecute online gamblers. The ruling in Munich was the first time that a player has been found guilty of the offense in the country.
After being stonewalled by his bank, RuiDeck contacted PokerStars support, who responded that it could confirm the “full legitimacy of his winnings” and would supply him with a letter of explanation that he could take to the bank.
That was seemingly unsuccessful, and RuiDeck is now reportedly considering legal action. Calling the whole situation “absurd,” Italian poker player feels cheated by both his bank and PokerStars. “I don’t understand if my bank, PokerStars, or Saxony’s legislation are responsible for what has happened to me, but right now I can’t cash the money I have regularly won and I don’t even have a job anymore.”
Visit PocketFives’ Germany poker community for the latest news and discussion from German players.