EPT9 Prague: Meeting Michael Müller, the brains behind paysafecard
Michael Müller orders an espresso. It's a quick no-nonsense kind of coffee. There's no need to mess around with milk or cream, no time wasting as you search for a spoon or lid for your cup, and you're never going to spill it down your shirt. Put simply, it gets the job done quickly and safely in one hit.
Given that Müller is CEO of paysafecard, the Official Payment Provider Sponsor of EPT Season 9, it shouldn't really come as any surprise it's his choice of caffeine. The 40-year-old Austrian founded the company 12 years ago, building upon a background in finance and Swiss banking, to create a global payment solution that allows you to safely transfer funds quick and easy, whether you have access to a bank account or not.
If you're yet to come across a paysafecard then this is its simple beauty: you can use cash to buy online credit from one of any 450,000 outlets that can be found in more than 30 countries around the world. Printed on the paysafecard is a sixteen-digit PIN that can be used with zero liability. You don't have to submit your bank details, avoiding that lingering menace of online fraud, nor do you have to pay any monthly interest to any credit card providers, and who could argue with that benefit?
A part-time poker player (he doesn't have enough time to dedicate to the "precision" of the game) and a keen sports-bettor who likes getting to live games when he can (his international team is Arsenal), Müller sports a suit like Mourinho: with confidence but you imagine that he wouldn't think twice about getting grass stains. That makes a good European Poker Tour sponsor in our eyes.
(Except for the supporting Arsenal bit: no-one's perfect.)
"There's a lot of demand to use paysafecard PINs to play poker and we've been partnering successfully with PokerStars for a couple of years so it was in our interest (to sponsor the EPT). Our experiences from the first couple of events are encouraging. It's not about shifting payment behaviours among PokerStars customers but we feel it's important for us to give players an alternative. We'd like to showcase that here and let people make their own decision," said Müller.
"The basic idea of paysafecard is to offer an online payment solution for customers who do not want to use their credit card or don't have a card product for online use. You don't have to give out your bank data online," he explained over the background rattle of EPT Prague Main Event chips. "You can use a paysafecard like a bank note and you don't have to check the balance of your credit card at the end of the month. paysafecard is easy to use and limits the risk of online fraud."
It really does seem straightforward. You find a local outlet by using the paysafecard website or free App (available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and away you go.
And if you're after a little peace of mind, be assured by the fact that paysafecard is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK, which is as legitimate as it comes. Put this way, if you buy a card your money is safe.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.