Can a Rake Free Poker Site Be Successful: Did “No-Rake” Poker Cause WSEX’s Failure?

WSEX was once one of the most highly regarded sportsbooks on the internet, holding a much-coveted “recommended” listing on Sports Book Review and peaked at an A+ rating in 2007. Since then, however, they have demonstrated one of the industry’s most notable falls from grace, slipping down the grades after repeated reports of late payments. Much is blamed on the conviction of co-founder and CEO Jay Cohen under the Federal Wire Act, and the passing of the UIGEA that saw the indictment of popular payment processor Neteller.

Fast forward to 2012, WSEX continues to operate, but ranks at a lowly D- grade and allegedly owes $700k to players which it blames on US processor issues.

In terms of online poker, WSEX became an oft-cited example of the issues with offering rake-free poker. Soon after launching in 2006, WSEX offered 100% rakeback, paid weekly, into player accounts – effectively rake free poker. WSEX’s stated goals was that WPEX would publicize the brand and bring more action in to the poker room.

However, the software was not ready to handle the influx of players, and multiple reports at the time state that the poker room suffered issues with bots and collusion as players looked to take advantage of the rake-free environment. Infamous youtube videos still exist today demonstrating clear usage of bots that would constantly accept the big blind in heads up matches due to a software malfunction.

In 2007, WSEX ended the rake free experiment, first dropping rakeback to 90%, then 75%. For the last five years the WPEX poker room has continued, but has seen little increase in traffic and has failed to capitalize on the events of Black Friday and the hole left in the US player market.

The announcement comes a day after Everleaf Gaming, another US-facing poker room would be withdrawing from the United States market, citing seizure of processed funds from US Homeland Security

Deposit and Cashout

WSEX offers a decent array of banking options, but is limited to a narrower range than some rooms by their sportsbook connection.


WPEX support is well-known for being professional and responsive. Response times and response quality are both above industry average.

In 2000, former owner Jay Cohen was prosecuted by the United States government for violating the Federal Wire Act.[1]

On April 19, 2013, World Sports Exchange ceased operations and posted a message at stating: “We have been forced to halt business activities at this time due to inadequate capital resources.”

Also on April 19, 2013, co-founder Steve Schillinger is believed to have committed suicide by gunshot at his home in Antigua.[2] His body was discovered by neighbors. He was 60 years old.

Man Jailed in 1st U.S. Online Gambling Conviction

Rake-Free Model Impossible in Regulated Online Poker

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