Private club-poker site Fox Poker fails, $1.5M internal graft alleged

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on 09/02/2021

Private club-poker site Fox Poker has closed its virtual doors in the face of mounting cashout issues that have become too much for the site’s owners to overcome. Fox Poker’s failure, according to texts sent out to member players, comes from cash shortages caused by the site’s primary administrator, Andy Troumbly. Troumbly allegedly gifted himself $1.5 million in virtual chips over the past six months, which he then lost to other players.

News of Fox Poker’s demise has appeared on multiple poker discussion forums in the past 24 hours. Fox Poker was one of the earliest club-poker sites, going live in 2015. Like several other private sites, Club Poker ran on the open-source PokerMavens software produced by Briggssoft.

Facebook post announced Fox Poker closure

A message purportedly distributed by another of Fox Poker’s administrators, Alex Shelow, appeared briefly on Fox Poker’s Facebook page, “Three Stacks of High Society,” before being pulled from public view. PokerFraudAlert owner Todd “Dan Druff” captured the post, attributing it to Shelow, in which Fox Poker was stated as being taken offline and Troumbly blamed for the situation.

“Fox has been shut down effective immediately,” Shelow’s message stated. “Andy has deactivated his personal fb account and shut down the site. I’m posting to get our information to all of the players who deserve answers.

“Approximately 6 months ago Andy started playing on alias accounts. We know these accounts were grapes15 and DIAMONDHANDZ. He was loading the accounts in a manner that the other admins were unable to see that chips were being added to the site. In April cash withdrawals drastically slowed down. We began digging and noticed Andy influxed ~$1.5mm in chips onto the site. When the big 20/40 games were going Andy told the other admins some new Russian players (of which there were actually a few) were sending large amounts of bitcoin, which was just one thing that stalled us looking into things sooner. Andy had created more chips without deposits and we had no oversight to prevent these actions. Using logs on the beta site we ultimately were able to prove that Andy was those alias accounts.

“Ben, Chris, Barry and myself had to make a tough decision of what to do. In an effort to ensure as much money ended up paying out we kept the site going rather than blow the whistle and shut the site down then and there. We had hopes that we could turn the site profitable enough to begin to cover the 1.5mm shortfall. I personally sent out over $150,000 in hopes of getting things back on track. The last few weeks things slowed down even more and everyone could tell that the end was near. The site had to be shut down to prevent further damage to players.”

“Andy was simply given too much power/responsibility. Many of you saw he was around 20 hours a day keeping the site going. He was the only one with server access. He did the accounting for the site and things just got out of hand. Today, finally, he closed down the site. There is a page asking for a BTC address to receive withdrawals, but right now we have no expectation of recovering money. If we do, they will be dispersed to players in a transparent and fair manner.

“I’ll be turning comments off on this post, but the admins are available to answer further questions via PM.”

The same message appears in a 2+2 thread about the situation. Poker.org is unable to ascertain the origins of the message attributed to Shelow beyond the claims of Witteles and other posters. However, Poker.org has verified the existence of the cashout page as described, at https://www.3stacksgaming.com/. The form’s source code includes an automatic response call linked to a gmail address known to be used by the 3 Stacks group, further authenticating the situation as claimed.

Shelow did not elaborate on whether other steps might be taken to recoup the losses from Troumbly. The private site’s member players appear to have little recourse in collecting the missing funds. The chances of even a partial repayment, as noted, appear very slim.

Featured image source: “Fox” by jans canon is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/