Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Fallout

I suppose it's time for me to ring in on this online poker blackout. I was late to the game because I had a blackout of my own -- a tornado narrowly missed my house on Friday afternoon and I was without power for a day and a half. My neighborhood got whacked, with trees busting through roofs and power lines downed everywhere. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt and we feel blessed to suffer only very minor damage to our house.

Perhaps we shouldn't be that surprised of the events of April 15th. Deep in our hearts didn't we know the day was eventually coming? Even if online poker was legalized in the U.S. you had to figure the Feds would shut down Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars for being "outlaws" during the existence of the UIGEA. I figured those two and pretty much all of the other online poker sites now serving American customers would never get licenses to offer games in this country.

I figure I am middle of the road in how this affects me. I only have about $1,400 tied up in financial limbo among FTP and PS at the moment, unlike those with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that have disappeared into the ether. I am hopeful that we will all be compensated one day, but it's better to forget the money exists and be pleasantly surprised if we get that "windfall" in our bank accounts one day. Perhaps we will even be given the money for our tournament tokens and what nots, even if it's unlikely we ever see any value from the frequent player points we earned on the sites (about $300 worth for me.)

Most of all, I feel for my friends and colleagues who may now be out of jobs. I've had the fortune to meet a host of great people who made their living by writing for these sites, or writing for other websites and publications that feed heavily off online poker advertising revenues. Time will tell who survives and who doesn't. I must assume my great gig writing occasional articles for FTP's Poker from the Rail blog is now over. In addition, Battle of the Bloggers Tournament Vol. 6 was impending, with plenty of freebies in store from our good friends at FTP and thanks to the tireless work of Al Can't Hang. Now that's no more.

While this is truly a sad day for online poker and those of us who loved to play it (it was a great break for me during the day to hop on and play some quick HU SNGs on FTP in between writing stretches) this may finally be the stimulus that gets more people fighting for legalization and regulation. When, and not if, that day comes opportunities will abound for those of us who play online poker and write about online poker like never before. And April 15 will turn from a dark day to once that signaled a bright future.

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