Concerns have been raised about Jao Poker for months, many of which are listed in this TwoPlusTwo thread. One of the initial complaints is that the affiliate program essentially amounted to scammy multi-level marketing. The affiliates, who frequently spammed poker-related Facebook groups, had to pay $250 to join. They then turned around and recruited others to become affiliates.
Some players also dealt with a site promoter named Tam Nguyen, who was extremely unprofessional. In a story where a tournament player complained about losing $27 after being disconnected, Nguyen him a “low life bitch” after refunding the money.
More recently, a TwoPlusTwo posted named “zxjaexz” posted concerns over not receiving their withdrawal:
“I requested a $1550 withdrawal via bitcoin on 2/3 and received an e-mail back saying it will be processed in 3 business days. Several e-mails later and 2-3 weeks have gone by with no bitcoin received nor any replys back.”
Once the site announced their closure, Nguyen was very dismissive of the matter, noting that he “didn’t own the site” and didn’t “have anyone’s money.” He added that the promoters aren’t “the poker site’s bank, we just promote and get paid.”
While this may have been true, Jao Poker has all the signs of a classic Ponzi scheme. And it’s illegal to profit off a Ponzi scheme in many countries.
Unfortunately, Jao Poker operates in the world of offshore online poker sites. Therefore, those affected by this matter have little-to-no recourse to get their money back.
Jao Poker joins the likes of Lock Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB Poker and shutting down without refunding players’ money.