Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Year Later

April 15A year ago today I was in another hemisphere. Seems like another world.

On that day I was in Lima, Peru, helping Dr. Pauly, F-Train, Reinaldo, Sergio, Carlos, Lynn, Will, and others cover the Latin American Poker Tour event.

A couple of nights before we’d attended a pre-tourney party at the Restaurant Huaca Pucllana which included a neat tour of these adobe and clay pyramids that surrounded the restaurant. Built something like 15 centuries or so before, the intricate structures were part of a canal system but also used for various ceremonies, including sacrifices.

Pauly shot a short video during our rumble through the ruins:



The previous day, Thursday, the tourney had started, and we had a super long, 15-hour-plus day running back and forth gathering stories and hands and reporting the action. We all slept well that night before making our way back over to the Atlantic City Casino on Friday for Day 2.

I got there early, around 10:30 a.m. I wanted to take care of some business -- including posting something here about the previous day -- before the noon start. I’m noticing my time stamp on that Day 1 post was 11:58 a.m. That was Eastern time, meaning it was almost 11 a.m. Peru time when I’d posted.

After posting I got a cup of coffee and relaxed. The tourney was set to resume in about an hour. We were also just about an hour away from finding out the U.S. Department of Justice had unsealed its indictment and civil complaint targeting PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/UB. An hour from the onslaught of text messages, DMs, and other panicky back-and-forthing that would continue that afternoon and evening.

We were about an hour or so from realizing the domains had been seized, too, replaced by those mean-looking FBI and DOJ seals. Dr. Pauly and I were there blogging for PokerStars. It even crossed our minds briefly to wonder about our prospects for getting back home. Not that we were ever really worried... but damn. Seemed like something pretty huge was going down.

Blogging at 2011 LAPT LimaThe tourney started as scheduled, and after an initial, unsuccessful attempt to process what exactly was happening, we set it all aside for several hours as we covered the event. We’d pick it all back up again later that night, of course, by which time we knew everything had changed as far as online poker in the U.S. was concerned.

I’ve written an overview of sorts for the Betfair poker blog, “Black Friday, One Year Later,” where I talk about what has happened over the last twelve months and speculate a little at the end about what’s to come.

At the conclusion I say it could well be the case that when we think about 4/15/11 some years hence we might look at it not as an “end” but as a “beginning.” That is to say, while the day certainly marked the end of one era, it seems pretty clear that we’re edging toward something new as far as online poker in the U.S. is concerned. And depending on how that goes, we might then consider the dramatic field-clearing that happened a year ago to be a first step toward whatever comes next.

But today we can’t help but look back, not forward. Sort of like hiking around those ruins in Lima and imagining what once was. And thinking about all the associated rituals and behaviors, now of the past.

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