Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Eve of Reconstruction

I’m only home for a short stretch here between these two trips to Atlantic City (just completed) and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (where I head tomorrow). Have been busy enough not to have had time to pay all that much attention to various poker-related headlines over the last few days.

Skimming around this morning, I see Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS XXI has been playing out over the last week-and-a-half, with a lot of familiar names among those winning or going deep in events thus far, including Dani Stern, Taylor Paur, Bill Gazes, Dylan Lynde, Luke Schwartz, Keven Stammen, and others.

Kind of interesting how in the reports one sees many players being identified by their real names, the identification of their online nicks now common knowledge. And what’s happening is a lot of those who made their “names” on FTP prior to Black Friday have come back to the site to find success again.

Speaking of FTP, there was also a big heads-up match between their pros Viktor Blom and Tom Dwan over the weekend, kind of patterned after the “All-Star Showdown” matches recently staged on PokerStars. Apparently Blom and Dwan were together down $3.3 million or so after one month of play on Full Tilt Poker 2.0., making the $100K that “Isildur1” won off of “durrrr” this weekend seem less notable by comparison.

Sort of weird to be reading about these things going on over at Full Tilt Poker, all of which perhaps give the impression that nothing strange at all happened with the site over the last couple of years.

When in AC these last few days, I overheard multiple conversations between U.S.-based players regarding their current, uncertain online poker careers. Players spoke about having buddies in Toronto with an extra room, and how they’d escape up there for a weekend or more to try to grind Sunday tourneys or just put in some hands. And how difficult it was to play well or consistently under such circumstances.

It reminded me a little of the other table talk I’d heard (when playing) about post-Sandy reconstruction and the various hardships people were having to endure. You know, like Black Friday had swept through online poker and wiped out everything, and now players were having to make do with less than ideal arrangements until things could be fixed.

It does sound like “repairs” (so to speak) to online poker in the U.S. are proceeding in some fashion, with next year seeming like a possible target for the return of games via Nevada licenses, other states’ offerings, or perhaps even (still) that federal online poker bill that keeps getting alluded to here and there as a faint possibility.

A little hard to imagine right now, but if it does happen and games for Americans resume at some point in the not-too-distant future, I suppose this little “interregnum” when online poker went dark in the U.S. might actually fade from people’s memories. Especially if PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are allowed back in the States to rule online poker once again, thus making the post-BF environment resemble the pre-BF one even more.

We’ll then enter into what might be called a “reconstruction” era for online poker in the U.S., during which the forward-thinkers and those who are positioning themselves right now to be ready to act in the new market will benefit greatly.

Are we on the eve of such a return? Could be. Then again, I’m sitting here just contemplatin’... I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation... Handful of senators don’t pass legislation....

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