Moneymaker loses $12k to Paypal small print

Jon Pill
Posted on: May 19, 2021 16:10 PDT

PayPal has been subject to some criticism from the poker community after confiscating $12,228.55 from Chris Moneymaker. A line of small print in the payment processor's user agreement appears to allow the company to confiscate funds almost on a whim. The 2003 WSOP Main Event champion lost $12 grand to this bizarre policy this week. After having his account frozen for 180 days, PayPal took the balance as "damages."

Moneymaker took to Twitter to call out the online payment platform, warning others of the risk they run by using PayPal.

"[Paypal] froze my account last year," tweeted Moneymaker. "And said I could access my money in 180 days. Well, they straight up stole the money!"

His tweet was accompanied by a screengrab showing a payment leaving his frozen account on April 14, 2021. The -$12,228.55 line entry carries the note: "PayPal's damages caused by Acceptable Use Policy violation."

Time to pay, pal

Moneymaker's problem prompted a pretty swift outcry from the poker community.

Danielle Anderson talked about a friend of hers who lost $20,000 in a similar incident.

Mike Matusow jumped in with a similar story. "They did same to me told me 180 days," Matusow wrote. "And stole 11 k from me they are straight up criminals."

Others were quick to go after Elon Musk. After his recent misstep over Bitcoin, Musk referred to his part in founding PayPal as a way to bolster his credibility as a money man. The fact that days later PayPal is unethically confiscating poker-players' cash doesn't look great for Musk. Though, of course, Musk is no longer involved in PayPal's operations.

The most sinister part of the story is the lack of explanation given by the payments giant. They refer to a violation of the Acceptable Use Policy, but haven't clarified the specifics of how Moneymaker broke those terms.

Given that PayPal does not allow its services to be used for gambling, it seems plausible that this might be why they docked Moneymaker's account. The company's Acceptable Use Policy also forbids activities that "relate to transactions that [...] involve currency exchanges or check cashing businesses." So perhaps the issue was purchasing cryptocurrencies via PayPal.

Moneymaker will not be taking this lying down. He is currently looking for a lawyer to represent him against PayPal. Given the number of people who have been victimized in similar ways, this may end up as a class action suit.

"Need a new lawyer," Moneymaker wrote to Matusow. "I will reach out. I am going after them."

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT