As reported in yesterday’s poker blog, the FBI and U.S. Justice Department issued indictments to the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. This blog entry will address some of the fallout of the government’s actions.
As of this writing, Absolute Poker is actually still offering real-money poker to its U.S. players, so it would seem that players on that site would still be able to withdraw their funds, though we cannot confirm this. PokerStars and Full Tilt, on the other hand, have ceased allowing U.S. players to play poker for real money. These players currently have no access to their accounts, which means they cannot withdraw any funds they might have online. PokerStars, for their part, sent an email to their entire U.S. player base reassuring them that their monies are secure and that they will be able to get it back, but that it would likely take some time, as the company’s payment issues are sorted out.
All of the major online poker sites still remain fully operational in other countries around the world. Notably, the U.S. online poker player base is indeed the largest sector catered to by the online poker giants, but it is by no means the only one. Players from other countries around the world have also received emails – reassuring them that they are not affected at all by the developments in the U.S. PokerStars, for example, has “moved” its entire site content to www.pokerstars.eu, and will likely make a strong push towards catering to their European market. This is already apparent in contacts they and Full Tilt have made with their affiliates, urging them to change their tracking links on all banners so that poker traffic can be directed to the correct site (and not the URL/domain seized by the U.S. authorities).
Interestingly, DoylesRoom, Cake Poker, and Bodog, along with other more minor online poker sites, which allow U.S. poker players to play for real money, have barely been mentioned in any of the news covering this story. What is almost surely certain though, is that now that online poker’s 2 giants have fallen hard, all the other online poker rooms are scrambling to try and attract new players. Much like PartyPoker’s pullout from the U.S. market back in 2006, there seems to be a free-for-all atmosphere in the industry right now.
Stick with us here at the Cardplayer Lifestyle poker blog, as we try to help you sort it all out.