Black Friday: Effects Already Seen as Details Continue To Emerge

By Robbie Strazynski
April 21, 2011

As this poker blogger correctly predicted, smaller guarantees were the seen at this past Sunday’s major online tournaments. The fact is, with approximately 30–40% less of a player base, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker simply could not guarantee bigger prize pools, which saw declines across the board of up to 75%.

The largest tournament of the week online, PokerStars’ Sunday Million still guaranteed a $1 million prize pool, ended up having 3 players with 6-figure paydays, and brought in almost $100,000 in fees to the company, but this still represented a stark decline from typical Sunday numbers.

Joining the ranks of the fallen are 2 televised poker shows: The Big Game and Million Dollar Challenge. Produced by PokerStars, FOX has decided to pull the show from its broadcast slots. While the already-filmed episodes will not air in the United States, they will likely still be aired in Russia, Italy, and other markets around the world.

While business supposedly “continues as usual” at the top 2 online poker sites, on the flip side, all the more minor industry players are gleefully watching their slices of the pie grow. Shares of publicly-held companies like 888 Holdings, bwin/PartyGaming, and Playtech have spiked sharply, while online poker rooms such as Bodog (still accepting U.S. players), Titan Poker, and PartyPoker have seen their traffic increase dramatically.

Live poker rooms across the United States are also expected to see better numbers, especially on Sundays. On the other hand, World Series of Poker participation is expected to decline sharply, as many players traditionally satellite into events via online poker play. So too, numbers are expected to fall dramatically at World Poker Tour (WPT) and North American Poker Tour (NAPT) events for the same reason.

Lastly, though not (yet?) targeted by the FBI or Department of Justice, Victory Poker CEO Dan Fleyshman has decided to pull out of the U.S. market. Over 30% of Victory Poker’s players hail from the States, and they will be migrated to Cake Poker, which continues to accept U.S. players. I wonder if Victory Poker will still take care of their frontman Antonio “the Magician” Esfandiari; I mean, he took a bullet for the company…



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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]



I saw pokerstars tournaments being way more deserted than usual this weekend. Definitely business is not as usual there. Lucky they have so many top players on contract and numerous world-known tourneys.

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