I hope this isn’t my last post under my “Online Poker” topic!
There has already been a lot written about last week’s “Black Friday”, when the Justice Department prohibited access to the top three poker sites for U.S. players. I don’t really have much new information to add, but still wanted to publish my thoughts.
I think it’s interesting that our government can’t stop (or even slow-down) illegal drugs, gangs, or illegal immigration, for example; or even win a war, but have chosen to use their resources to “go after” people playing online poker under the guise of preventing money laundering. Players in Canada, Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia, even those in communist countries can still play poker online – but NOT those of us in the United States!
I also think this is going to have more far-reaching consequences than people realize. For example, PokerStars and Full-Tilt are huge sponsors of the WSOP Main Event. As a result of this crackdown, the size of the field, and thus the payouts, will probably decrease dramatically. Most of the advertising for television coverage of poker, like the WSOP, Poker After Park, High Stakes Poker, the WPT, the Heads-Up National Championship, etc., is paid for by the online poker sites. Will these televised programs cease to exist?
Also, many players have been able to rapidly improve their poker skills by playing online. I know that I learned a lot from the many mistakes that I made while playing online. Will there continue to be an influx of young poker players? Will the “edge” in live games swing-back to the older players? Will there eventually be more “fish” in the live games. Online poker has changed poker more than any other factor. The lack of it will certainly affect poker.
Many people think this is the end to online poker in the U.S. I don’t necessarily agree. As always, there’s probably a lot going on behind-the-scenes that we are not, and maybe never will be, aware of. My guess is that there are some powerful, and rich, people that want a piece of the online pie, as-well-as our government. My prediction is that within a year or two, there will be some new “players” in the online market, possibly some of the existing gambling corporations; and, it will be regulated and taxed.
If you care about poker at all, I urge you to support the Poker Players Alliance.