Sunday, November 25, 2007

Product Review:

As many of you may know, I am a huge online Spades Player. I recently went looking on the internet for a new place to find a challenging game and I came across Spadester claims to have (as of today) Over 4350 players at their tables. That sounded great to me so I signed up and played a few games to get the feel of it. (While I was playing I did notice that the whole game site only had 120 players total online so the 4350 number is completely wrong, maybe even fraudulent.) The play was ok, nice quick games but the level of play was on par with playing the robots in Yahoo Spades. No real challenges and I took the win on 8 games out of 10 games played. The cool-sounding thing about this site is that you can play for cash! I figured that with a win ratio of 8/10 games, I should be able to win some serious cash on this site.

I have never been one to give my credit card over the internet without assurance that it is a secure site. That is when fell apart. The website is owned by a company in Cyprus, and for anyone who knows anything about credit cards and the internet, this is a huge red flag. Giving out your credit card to a Cyprus company is legally equal to giving your credit card to one of the 419 Nigirian scammers that say you have inherited 22 million bux. It is just not a good idea no matter how small the amount. And, if you look at the terms of service, you will see Section 4.3 states: "You agree that the Site is not liable for any loss caused by any unauthorized use of your credit card or other method of payment by a third party in connection with the Site." RED FLAG!

They do also take PayPal which is a little safer so I continued to check out the site. I noticed that when I played partners, I paid a fee of say, .50c, and the payout is $1.50 but in actuality a win only returns .50c to my account. With 4 players paying .50c and the total being paid out is only $1.00 so Spadester is taking 50% of every game played as pairs? Even 25% is very steep for a gaming site but 50% is out of reason. All of the Partners game paid out this way. I looked for an explanation of the rules and payouts but couldn't find very much and what there is is very inconsistent. I concede that this is a new website, so this may just be a case of working the bugs out.

Something that is important to me as a spades player is clearly defined rules. 15 minutes worth of looking into the rules listed on spadester's game site and I realized that there is very little correlation between the games I have played and the rules listed on the site. The rules seem to have been taken from some other site and then not edited to match the games available on spadester. The rules mention 500 point games, 200 for blind nil and 10 bag penalties, the games offer 100-300 point games, 100 for blind nil, and 5 bag penalties. Those are some very big discrepancies in my game book.

Finally, after an hour on the site, I could not find a clear method of payout. A couple of places mentioned $20 minimum payout, another place mentioned checks being sent out on the 5th and 20th of the month. Without a clear system of payouts, I have to conclude that the company doesn't plan on making very many payouts.

Over all, at this time I have to give a "Two Thumbs Down" for:
1) lack of fair play 50% house take is ridiculous even for an on-line gaming site.
2) lack of assurance for credit card safety.
3) Unclear rules of play
4) General "Shadiness" of the website and company.

If you just want to play spades, with fast games and no chat--this is a good site for you. Do not be tempted to play cash would be cheaper and faster to just post your credit card number in the lobby of a Yahoo Spades room.

Update May 16, 2008: is still a SCAM!
Recent comments found:
shoot19....I've got to agree with this. this is the biggest scam I've seen in a while.. they will take your money in a second and come up with excuses not to pay out, and then eventually they will just ignore you.. do a chargeback on your credit card.

kevolt.....As I wrote above, my withdrawal requests have been pending for many months. My emails have been ignored, except for a couple a weeks ago when I got a response from Julie S. (Customer Care) who say she'd expedite through Accounting. I waited a week, and nothing happened. The spadester chat seemed to be online, so I tried that. The chat person said they'd expedite and would send me an email. I then got an email from Cindy G. (Manager of Accounting) that said the problem would be taken care of. Now it's been another week, and still no money and still no change in the status of my withdrawal requests - they are all listed as pending with a status that still says just "Requested".

I just want to give all a heads up about I have tried to get a respons from them for about 2 months now. But still no answer. I am going to write about this in casinomeister since they dont respond to affiliates either who are trying to help me. Sad just think twice before depositing here!

It seems that even 4 months later, nothing has really changed.
Level of play seems to be approaching "Beginner" I played 8 games and won 6 so this is a slight improvement over my last visit. Note: I haven't been playing Spades at all in the last month so maybe I have slipped a little.
The website no longer claims 4000+ player online. My actual count today was around 400 on the PlayMoney side and about 200 on the RealMoney side.
Winning pots are better. The Site seems to be raking 10-12% but this may just be due to bad math skills more than greed as I did spot 1 table that was 9%.
Credit card security is still questionable. With no mailing address or support from any kind of "Verisign" group, I would be very very careful about giving any information at all. In an age of Identity Theft, any site that not only asks for my name and credit card but also my Social Security number and birth date raises some very real concerns. They are not taking PayPal anymore. Want to bet they got so many Charge-Backs that PayPal canceled them? If you do decide to try it, buy a rechargable visa gift card instead of a real credit card.

Still a generally fun site to play fast cards but still 2 thumbs down for over-all shadiness.

No matter what Saar claims, this site is not living up to their promises, has horrible customer service and when cash is involved, tightfisted and unresponsive.

June 27, 2008 Update
New withdrawl notes--- Higher minimums, more paperwork, more personal information needed, Longer waiting periods.

Withdrawal Information:
  1. When making a withdrawal, Spadester will most likely request that players send a copy of the front of their credit cards (with only the last 4 digits showing) and a copy of their ID.
  2. Documents can be sent via email to
  3. Players depositing with an Alternative Payment Method, and withdrawing with the same method may be asked to send in a copy of their ID/passport only.
  4. Once players have sent their documents, and their accounts have been updated; players will not be required to do so again, unless they have registered a new credit card, at which point we will only require a copy of the front of the new credit card.
  5. Payouts will take up to 30 business days to be processed unless otherwise specified.
  6. Players will pay the full cost of processing should they accept their withdrawal (for withdrawals of $200+) via wire transfer which may be up to $30
  7. Players must play a minimum of 10 games before they are eligible to withdraw.
  8. Players are welcome to withdraw up to 10 times a month or up to $1000
  9. All withdrawals must be made in the amount of $40 or more.
  10. Any withdrawal requests that do not fit within the guidelines of the Spadester withdrawal policy will be declined and the money returned to the player’s account.
  11. We ask that all players provide their full details (including residential address) in order for us to be able to process a withdrawal
No improvements so far.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

10 Real Jobs for the Stay at Home Mom (Or Dad!)

1) Child daycare. Each child you care for should amount to about $100 per week in income depending on where you live.

2) Doggy Daycare & Walking. Here in Seattle, people pay nearly as much to drop off their dogs for the day as they do their kids. What's really weird tho is that childcare workers make minimum wage-$7.75 per hour. Doggy Daycare workers and dog walkers make $15.00 per hour!

3) Sewing and mending services. People pay $2.00 to replace a jeans zipper and $4.00 to hem a pair of pants. A custom prom dress runs $200 and up.

4) Have bake sales. Cook up a bunch of goodies and then have a combo garage and bake sale. I always make more money on the baked goods than I do on the garage sale but people will not stop to look unless I call it a "Garage Sale." A dozen homemade cookies is $5.00 or more.

5) Grow plants and have periodic plant sales. I recently purchased 1 very over grown spider plant at a store and split it up into over 100 small plants. In the spring these will sell for around $2-5 apiece!

6) I do Ebay but in a rather unique way. All of the stuff I sell on Ebay I get for FREE. Examples are woodland ferns, native plants, Ivy, driftwood, etc. Take a walk with the kids and make it a treasure hunt. Stuff that are weeds and junk to me are exotic to people in New York!

7) Make jewelry out of beads and wire and put them on consignment at spas and jewelry stores.

8) Learn a skill like desktop publishing or transcription or web design. The more flexible and knowledgeable you get the more jobs you will get.

9) Schedule appointments for a local builder. Many companies need phone people to set up appointments for inspections, construction estimates, etc.

10) Figure out what you love to do and then work out a way to get paid for it. If you love soap operas, find someone to pay you to write about them. If you love crafts, make them and sell them!

Good luck!