This was confirmed by a statement on DuplicatePoker.com that read,
Duplicate is sadly bidding farewell to its players.Caught in the middle of the global financial situation the company is not able to continue to provide service.We are a small victim of the global financial crisis.Regretfully as of the today, October 5th, 2008 we are closing our service.We thank our players for being with us.
The news of Duplicate Poker’s shutdown has come as a shock to some people in the online poker community. Statements released prior to the poker room’s closure indicated that the company was in good health financially. Many of these statements appeared in press releases featured on the website BusinessWire.com.
In a September 18th press release entitled “Americans React to Wall Street Crisis by Playing More Poker” the Chief Marketing Officer of Duplicate Poker, Daniel Flamberg, said,
At a time when we are all worried about our money and generally feel helpless, it looks like Americans are seeking solace in a game they know and love, where the rules are clear, the action is transparent and the outcome can be affected by our own skills.
The article went on to explain that Duplicate’s player base and traffic had gone up 25% since news of the Lehman Brothers’ banking company collapse surfaced on September 12th.
Duplicate Poker touted itself as “the only legal room in the US.” This was due to the fact that Duplicate could accept credit card payments from United States customers. Many other poker rooms were not able to do the same because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) signed into effect in 2006.
The reason that Duplicate Poker was afforded this status was because the play offered at their room was considered to be entirely skill-based instead of gambling. Duplicate’s style of play featured two players sitting in the same seat at different tables holding the same poker hands. Whoever played the hand the best out of the two was the person who ended up with more chips at the end of the session. This style of play was based totally on poker odds and not luck, which is why Duplicate Poker wasn’t considered gambling.
Since opening in 2004, Romik and others at Duplicate had hoped that their uniqueness would propel the site into the top ranks of online poker rooms. This was indicated in the past when Romik said, “We have patented the Duplicate Poker process and it has the potential to be marketed, licensed and monetized globally. Our legal status in the U.S. also offers a competitive advantage.”
Eventually, the company began to realize that the competitive advantage wasn’t enough and announced their closure on October 5th.Flamberg indicated why when he said, “We feel that we are collateral damage from the global struggle. The banks pulled our line of credit and froze our business. Our leadership believed that conducting business under those circumstances would have been fraudulent.”
Duplicate Poker did hint that there is a possibility that they may return as their website stated, “Hopefully at later time and in a better economic climate Duplicate Poker will re-appear.” But there is currently no set timetable for when this return could occur. Below the statement is also an area for former players to request a withdrawal of their funds, indicating that people will be getting their money back in full.