It must have been the worst time ever to win an EPT Grand Final Madrid seat right before Black Friday of online poker. My package that includes 7-night accommodation, EUR10,600 buy-in and EUR750 for expenses is already in jeopardy, although PokerStars claim that the money and packages are safe. After last Friday’s events when the leaders of online poker, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet Poker took a hit and FBI seized their .com domains, poker has certainly changed in the way we knew it. I sympathize the Americans who can’t play their favorite game anymore, apart from the fact that it’s going to take more than 2 years to get hold of their funds again, if ever. A crucial week for online poker has just begun, although pessimism is found in every post online.
I have already talked about Black Friday’s events in my Greek gambling blog and how has affected the online poker industry. Being a PokerStars Supernova for quite some years, I happen to stay in touch with a couple of PokerStars representatives, who obviously claim that European players are not affected. Thing is, if PokerStars is put to the wall and face bankruptcy, everyone’s money is at risk. The case is ever worse for Full Tilt I guess, as reportedly they have more funds in US banks than PokerStars. Poker forums are full of American people willing to insure their online account, paying a high premium (even 40% of their online bankroll) for the service. Anger and depression is all over the place, from people trying to make it to the Supernova Elite VIP level to regulars to much lower stakes. More specifically winning online tournament players face major problems, as they are essentially out of job, as is most pro poker grinders.
During the weekend I’m surprised that there is apparently very little news coverage by major poker websites. For example, pokernews.com has not been updated since Friday! Of course well known online poker players have not made any statements, while there are conspiracy theories appearing as time goes by, based mainly on the recently introduced multi-entry Full Tilt tournaments, triple guarantees week and Rush Poker, methods that were targeting rake increase, as if they already knew what would happen. On the other hand US players find it the most suitable time to bond together and try fighting back. Interestingly enough, QuadJacks has been broadcasting live the last 50 or so hours, featuring reputable poker players and twoplustwo.com posters discussing the awkward situation the US Department of Justice has put them in.
I find myself yet another time to deal with career change! After the installation of automatic shuffling machines at the BlackJack tables and quitting Betfair trading for poker, I must know turn back to either sports trading or try improving my financial trading skills and methods. Surely there is blogging for side income, but even that needs a lot of improving in order to make a decent living. I could continue playing online poker without US competition – many claim the games are much softer, something which I witnessed in Sunday’s tournaments last night – but honestly I am not in the mood of continue making a living in the gambling field which is turning into a minefield lately. Almost every government in the world is trying to tax the winnings or restrain the gambling activity, and although I highly expected Greece to follow France’s example, I was frightened to see USA taking similar and even harsher action.
For the time being, I’m more concerned whether I will eventually make it to the EPT Grand Final and PokerStars honoring the winners’ packages. Time will tell.