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ChipSplit & CommissionAccout Screw Affiliates + Other Shadiness

Carbon Poker Logo

In the middle of May 2015, Carbon Poker had some important news to share with affiliates – and the information was anything but good. Carbon announced that it was halting the payment of affiliate commissions for new referred players effective June 1. It would still pay out a percentage of MGR on old players according to its previous agreements through its aff program, called ChipSplit.

“Sorry, We're Closed” Message at ChipSplitMessage Shown to Visitors to ChipSplit's Site After May 2015

Affiliates Scramble to Adjust

Many of Carbon's partners, who had been promoting the site for years, were caught unprepared for this unexpected development. Some of them attempted to transition by shifting their focus to Carbon's sister sites on the Merge Gaming Network: PlayersOnly, Sportsbook, and Superbook. However, these organizations too soon revealed that they were discontinuing their poker affiliate programs.

Logos of the Organizations on the Merge Gaming NetworkSites on the Merge Gaming Network - Avoid Them!

Affiliates had to content themselves with the silver lining that at least they would continue to receive compensation on the rake generated by their existing player base. The hard work they had put in for years would continue to yield dividends to them.

Carbon Money Shenanigans

At the time of the ending of the affiliate program, many participants had not received their commissions for a couple of months. Some feared that the site was going to rob affiliates altogether, and indeed, we've received word that several of these individuals attempted to unload their owed commissions by selling them to hopeful buyers for fractions of their book values.

As it happened, Carbon didn't steal this cash outright although it did take several more months to pay up in full. Unfortunately, this poker operator proved to have several tricks up its sleeves to fleece affiliates slowly over time.

The site soon instituted a “deposit” fee of 7% on all monthly action. This was completely independent of the actual number of player deposits made and the sums deposited. It was just levied on the total rake generated and reduced affiliate payouts substantially. Further charges included subtracting 5% of player withdrawals directly from commissions, deducting bonuses from rake totals, and levying a tax on affiliate withdrawals.

Through the use of such tactics, Carbon effectively lowered the amount it had to shell out to meet its promise to continue to pay on existing traffic. We've seen credible evidence that longstanding affiliates saw their monthly income from Carbon drop by between 75% and 90%.

The Final End of Carbon's Affiliate Program

Eventually, Carbon got tired of paying even the peanuts it was handing out on previously referred players' action. Little more than a year after it closed the door to new signup revenue shares, it shuttered its affiliate system altogether. July 1, 2016 was the official end of the ChipSplit (Carbon) and CommissionAccount (PlayersOnly, Sportsbook, Superbook) affiliate programs. So much for honoring the commitment to share revenue on users registered prior to the June 1, 2015 cutoff date.

ChipSplit's Final Shutdown NoticeVisitors to ChipSplit's Website Saw This Text Starting April 2016

In a sneaky move, Carbon opted to handle the final commission payments exclusively through Bitcoin. There's nothing wrong with BTC in and of itself; we're big fans of this digital crypto-currency. What was wrong was Carbon's removing the existing payment processors that some of its affiliates preferred and then giving them a window of time by which they had to enter in their Bitcoin wallet details. Anyone who failed to update his or her info in time was stiffed on the final commission payout.

Part of a Trend

Long gone are the days when Carbon and the Merge Network were viewed as top-notch operators that treated both affiliates and players fairly. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when the network crossed the line from honest and reputable to shady and deceptive, but the major shift appeared to occur once Jazette Enterprises started to assume control over the network's operations.

Jazette is a sportsbook and casino organization with a history of player disputes, slow payment, rescinding promotions, and other unsavory activities. It had been a presence on the Merge Network since 2010 when its properties PlayersOnly and Sportsbook.com joined the poker side of things. Jazette's influence over network decisions really started to become apparent in the second half of 2012 after it allegedly invested a massive sum in Merge's corporate financing.

Soon thereafter, we started seeing a number of unwelcome changes. The rakeback program was discontinued February 2013, and it was replaced with a VIP points system. However, this VIP program was itself ended in July 2014, meaning that there's now no way for high-volume players to receive the rewards they deserve.

We've already covered the disheartening way Carbon treated affiliates during the period May 2015 - July 2016, but the tale continues even after that point. Carbon now regularly bans winning players, makes customers pay a surcharge for every withdrawal beyond the first in a year, and has reduced the maximum cashout amount to just $2,500.

Carbon Reaps What It Has Sown

If there's any consolation to be found in this story, it's that the market has seen fit to punish such transgressions. At one time, the Merge Network was the undisputed king of U.S.A.-facing online poker with an average of more than 1,500 players seated in real money cash games at any one time. Since then, Carbon Poker's fortunes have crumbled, and the average player liquidity is now just 150 users.

Chart Showing Decline of Merge Network TrafficAll Figures From GameIntel

Better Options Available

You deserve better than to put yourself at the tender mercies of Carbon Poker and the rest of the Merge Gaming Network. Poor promotions, low traffic, unfriendly management, and a host of other problems plague this beleaguered internet poker room. Fortunately, there are a number of more trustworthy destinations if you seek a place to play poker. Read all about them in our U.S.A. online poker guide, or if you're from that lovely, clean, and polite yet all too freaking chilly country due north of America, our Guide to Canadian Poker Sites.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Jazette Enterprises has been rebranded as Domain Holdings. It still continues to operate slow-pay casino, poker, and sports-betting sites. Stay away from the websites listed below because they are all part of or associated with this mediocre holding group:

CarbonGaming.ag
GoHorseBetting.com
Linesmaker.eu
PlayersOnly.ag
Sportsbook.com
Sportsbook.ag
Superbook.com
Superbook.ag
BetUSA.ag

For an even larger list of possibly associated companies, we highly suggest that you check out CasinoListings.com's website. Specifically they have a page titled "Rogue Warning's Blacklist" that details not only every domain suspected of being associated with Jazette aka Domain Holdings but also covers over a hundred other rogue domains and operators.