Friday, April 15, 2011

Thunderstruck: The Day It All Changed for Online Poker

DOJ seizes domainsAm sitting here in a hotel room in Lima, Peru with my fellow bloggers. Having finished our work at Day 2 of the LAPT Lima event, we’re now eating some dinner and discussing the implications of what has happened today.

I don’t even have to say what, right? Each of us were getting messages all day, from all over, asking if we had heard.

Oh, yeah. We did.

Obviously everything has changed in a major way -- for online poker (both in the U.S. and elsewhere), for poker generally speaking, and, of course, all of the various fields that make up the industry of which we are a part. And for which we’re working here.

Have only barely begun to start acquainting myself with details of today’s indictment of the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and others, the U.S. government’s seizure of the domains (pokerstars.com, fulltiltpoker.com, ub.com. ultimatebet.com, absolutepoker.com), the subsequent shutting out of American customers from the real money games on these sites, the civil suit, and everything else.

Scarlet Robinson gives a great rundown of the primary details on Pokerati, if you’re looking for such. There’s still so much for us to read and digest (including the indictment) as we continue to try to inform ourselves about it all.

I found myself today thinking about the post I wrote a week ago titled “Some Rambling About the Rumble (Online Poker in the U.S.).” There I alluded to the several business alliances involving online poker sites that were being announced -- alliances which today are apparently no more -- as well as the various online poker-related bills being discussed on both the state and federal level.

My conclusion was fairly non-conclusive, noting simply that it seemed that “something” was about to happen, probably sooner than later. I compared all of these machinations to “a distant storm -- a lot of noise, but still close enough that if something were to happen we wouldn’t be totally taken by surprise.”

I avoided expressing optimism there, partly because I didn’t feel as though I understood enough of what was happening to do so confidently. But I won’t lie -- like many, I was hardly thinking of any such negative turn as what has happened today. And when I said we wouldn’t be “surprised” if something were to happen, given all the “rumbling” that was going on, I obviously wasn’t thinking of something like this.

Which, it is clear, took just about everyone by surprise. Even if it shouldn’t have.

We’re gonna think on this some more. You do the same.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Marcio Rauwerda said...

A few thoughts nobody has said yet:

1.) If and when we get out money back and put it on a new site, games are going to be much, much worse. The thrill-seekers were screwed once by Party, again by NetTeller and now by FTP/Stars. They'll be wary of getting hit again. Also, the new poker megapowers won't necessarily be buying up huge blocks of broadcast TV time.

Get ready to hear people talking about all the soft games during "the Full Tilt days." I imagine a future when the remaining 10,000 of us are crammed on Bodog, worrying about whether we can be those LAGgy pros who dominate NL25.

2. Until yesterday, I had enough FPPs to get one of those big TVs. Of course, I never ordered it because I didn't want the rakeback hit. Now I'm out the equivalent of a few hundred bucks. And no judge is going to care that we grizzled grinders are losing value from our player points.

4/16/2011 1:19 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

These sites broke the law. Simple as that. No more wild wild west online poker. I for one welcome this. The US finally grew some balls.

4/16/2011 11:21 AM  

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