To allay the fears of the world’s online poker players, let’s begin by saying that Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker will most definitely not disappear from the online poker landscape. While player volume will decrease at all 3 sites, to help compensate and offset the losses, each site will likely market harder to promote more poker play from their European and Asian player databases.
Though I can’t be sure, this will likely mean smaller guaranteed tournaments (most notably the Sunday Majors), which affects all online poker players. On the positive side, European- and Asian-based online poker players will probably see more tournaments begin at more convenient local starting times. In addition, there will likely be a boom in euro-denominated cash table and tournament poker play.
Following the lead of the U.S., the governments of other jurisdictions where online poker play currently falls into a legal gray area, e.g., Israel, will probably follow suit and prevent players from those locales from logging into their accounts and playing poker for real money online. So if you live in one of those countries and are reading this poker blog, don’t say we didn’t warn you to withdraw your funds before you can’t access them anymore!
As for the future of online poker in the U.S., the FBI and Justice Department’s actions unsurprisingly have the Poker Players Alliance in uproar. It’s chairman, former Senator Alfonse D’Amato expressed what millions of people have on their minds right now, saying that “we are shocked at the action taken … and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy. Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such.”
Most certainly, efforts will now be redoubled to try and get online poker legalized, regulated, and taxed in the U.S., be it on the local, state, or federal levels. Interestingly, Washington, D.C., of all places, just last week seems to have become the first place in the United States to allow its residents to legally play poker online. How ironic…