Internet poker players and marketing affiliates alike were left in the dark this week when T.6 Poker.com suddenly went offline, leaving a cryptic notice that it would be back with new software soon.
The only clue to the problem was a website notice which read:
"We have an important announcement to make. We will be changing network and will be offline for a short time period until we reopen on the new network. It was a hard decision, but by doing this we will have more players, which is important for you.
"Please notice that all funds will be transfered and we are looking forward to see you at the tables again. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Meanwhile we are proud to announce that we are launching our new bingo and casino stay tuned for further information."
T.6 Poker was at the centre of a controversy in January 2008 (see previous InfoPowa report) when the 31-year-old Danish entrepreneur behind it, Torben Hübertz, made waves in the industry with his multi-level marketing approach to promotional funding, questions regarding past enterprises and a software switch barely a month after launching in Beta on December 2.
Hübertz claimed at the time: "We have Euro 3 million in guaranteed tournaments every month, including our six-handed PLO Omaha tournament every Sunday, which carries a Euro 50 000 guarantee with a buy-in of only Euro 55. We also have a Euro 250 000 guaranteed every Sunday night. This is a no-limit hold'em tournament with a Euro 165 buy-in. We also will have Euro 10 000, 20 000, and 30 000 guaranteed tournaments daily, all with a Euro 55 buy-in."
According to reports back then, Scandinavia and Germany were targeted in fund-raising efforts for T6, with ambitious statements in the prospectus of a planned marketing budget of Euro 15 million (larger, it claimed, than Coca-Cola in Scandinavia for the period) There would be TV- and radio-ads "at the end of the (2007) year".
According to the business prospectus, 250 000 players from other (unspecified) poker sites would be brought over to T6 from January 1st 2008.
Funding these extensive operational expenses was a promotional scheme in which T6poker.com offered marketing and promotional affiliates a share in the financial distribution of 63 percent of all profits realised from the rake at T6poker.com. The partners were urged to first invest Euro 665…and apparently the plan was to recruit 40 000 such investors.
Hubertz countered criticism by claiming that: "We have a budget for advertising and guaranteed tournaments much higher than most other sites. We have done, so far, 200 fully branded taxis in Scandinavia with T6 Poker. We also have about 600 full-page ads in almost all poker magazines and newspapers throughout Europe.
"We will also build a big team of pro poker players that will be playing at the big live tournaments all over the world, and we have teamed up with an (unspecified) affiliate marketing company that has 10 000-15 000 people that will help us find customers also."
T6, registered in Costa Rica and rather obscurely licensed by Moravia, got off to a rocky start on December 2 last year, offering its games through a Rapidshare link and almost immediately running into alleged bandwidth problems that caused tournament cancellations and extensive negative criticism.
This was exacerbated by accusations that the alleged predecessor of Hübertz's 1 oz group.com company, AlistonPrice was on a warning list from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) and the Belize International Financial Services Commission but changed its name in November-December 2007 to 1oz Group.
Information from Hubertz's sites indicates that T6poker.com is owned by the Danish entrepreneur and businessman, who is also a major shareholder in a number of successful (unspecified) international companies. "Torben’s skilled business background and unique experiences have led him to invest in companies with such diverse services as Online Entertainment, Online Security, Professional Services and the Wellness Industry," the background information claims.
Hubertz then switched to the Cyberarts poker software platform.
Explaining the switch, Hubertz said: “We are very serious about creating one of the premier independent online poker sites in the world. To do this, we must have the best. Despite all the testing of our present software, now that we have implemented it, we have found it to be inadequate for the number of players we anticipate.
"We need a customizable software powerhouse that will handle larger numbers of players with impeccable stability and allow us to rapidly develop new features. After an extensive search, we have decided to go with the CyberArts Foundation gaming software platform. This will allow us to have the world’s most advanced gaming software for T6poker and our players.”
Hubertz appeared to have ambitions beyond being an operator, too – offering white label turnkey poker operations when he said: "With our new powerful software capabilities, we will also be able to offer white label poker rooms to serious companies. From a marketing perspective this will make us very competitive with industry leaders as we will be able to offer state-of-the-art branded poker solutions. It will give us the possibility to build a strong brand with our affiliates and partners.”
CyberArts chairman Ken Arnold bought into the concept, saying: "We're honored to have been chosen as T6's exclusive software provider. T6 is aggressively building one of the biggest pools of poker players in online gaming history."
Who Is Search Results on Torben Hubertz Knudsen identify a company called TSIX Poker Corp. S.A.. 5072702970 Phone. 5072702689 Fax. The Belvedere Park, Suite 900. Panama City, Panama 7159.
One poster responding on the TonyG blog early this year made the unsubstantiated allegation that: "The same group of people that is behind this project was involved in something that was called World Games Inc or WGI with a lot of disappointed investors".