Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Still About Even

Still About EvenPresident Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight. Pokerati Dan today is posting about the “State of the Poker Union.” I guess it’s as good a day as any to think about the state of my own online poker game.

Am still piddling away on a couple of Merge network sites from time to time, playing with those funds won via freerolls. Most nickel-and-dimin’ it at the PLO tables, or sometimes playing limit hold’em where I am also mainly just passing quarters back and forth. Occasionally I will hop into low-limit sit-n-go, though not that often. Meanwhile I’m not terribly anxious to try to deposit anywhere, as I imagine is likely the case for most U.S. players these days.

I was talking with a friend over the weekend, a recreational player who first got interested in poker after seeing it on television over recent years. He’d opened a PokerStars account a while back on which he played for play chips for a few months. He was right on the verge of making a deposit and starting to play the micros when Black Friday hit. Interestingly, he doesn’t play at all on Stars anymore, even though technically he still can in the free games.

“How do you still play online?” he asked. Not a simple question to answer.

I told him the story of winning a few bucks in freerolls on Hero and Carbon and how I’ve kind of held steady on both. I actually ran the Hero roll up to a point where I might’ve considered trying to withdraw a little, but never quite pulled the trigger. Then I fell back down to where I no longer want to try to take any out. If I even can, that is, without enduring too much hassle.

But in truth, as I’ve suggested here before a few times over the recent months, it doesn’t even feel like I’m playing the game we all enjoyed for the several years prior to last April. So when my friend asks how I am still playing, I almost feel like answering that I’m not. Not really.

If you scout around you can still find a number of online poker sites that are serving Americans. For instance over on the Cards Chat site there’s a list of poker sites that are still serving U.S. players. (Anybody ever play on Juicy Stakes?)

Actually most other poker news sites and forums have similar listings, in most cases highlighting a half-dozen or so sites in an effort to get sign-ups as affiliates. One of the more comprehensive lists (that gets updated fairly frequently) can be found over at Compatible Poker.

I did finally get around to balancing my online poker ledger for 2011 last week. Used to be I kept that stuff constantly updated after each session, but the urgency to do so has lessened considerably as the stakes got smaller and the frequency of play slowed down. Was mildly happy to find I’d ended the year in the black, although not by a lot. In fact, the final figure essentially represented just a tad more than what I’d won in those freerolls.

I think my online poker career has probably followed an arc very similar to others, with the best years coming shortly after the boom (through about 2007 or so), then things flattening out a bit after that once the UIGEA came and opponents became less plentiful (and less fishy).

The height of my graph is of course way, way below that of many, though perhaps above some, too. But the shape is probably similar, with the peak coming around the same point on the timeline.

FlatliningRight now, though, at least for Americans, most of those lines are strictly horizontal. And have been for a good while.

Such is the state of things at present as we hope for online poker to revive back to life.

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