Shit has officially hit the fan for American online poker players. The screenshot to the left shows the message I get when I try to sit down at a real money table on Pokerstars today. Here’s a link to a short article about Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Absolute getting their domain names seized and being charged with bank fraud. Here’s a link to the TwoPlusTwo thread about ‘Black Friday’ information. Is it the end of online poker for Americans? Time will tell.
I feel bad for all the online pros out there. This is a tremendous blow for a whole lot of people who probably don’t have much of a back-up plan for making money. Already there are threads on twoplustwo about the best foreign countries to move to, and what other sites are still allowing Americans to play.
Some people also have significant amounts of money tied up online while this is going on and they can’t cash out. But I can’t see how anyone could justify not giving it back to us; I think it will just take a while. (I had just started playing again online a few days ago after not playing for months, so luckily I only had a few hundred on there.)
There will be a massive influx to live brick-and-mortar poker establishments in my opinion. A lot of the players are going to have a hard time transitioning from the speed and ease of online play to the slowness and frustration of live play. And some of them just won’t have decent games available near them at all. Some of the bigger players will no-doubt decide to move to a place that allows them to play online (and doesn’t tax them to boot). This is huge news for the poker world.
(Update – I received my check from Pokerstars a couple weeks after cashing out. Check cleared no problem.)