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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

This week, the FBI landed a crushing blow on all of the online poker sites that are advertised nightly in the United States. Individuals involved with internet gambling companies PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were indicted for bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling and sued in a companion civil suit that seeks at least $3 billion in forfeitures and penalties.

Each of these sites have gone dark and there are questions about what will happen. Since these sites are household names that adorn almost every professional poker player’s advertising opening, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for their wardrobes.

There is a lot of money out there, so it’s likely that someone is already working on how to take advantage. There are probably local games springing up all over as playing junkies are jonsing for a game.

I would expect that a big question is : What happening with the money? Because there are of accounts of ordinary people that are tied up in the $5.1 billion dollar market. It has been reported that there are actually thousands of people who earn their livings on these sites. It is very possible that the money is gone. Either siphoned out before the shutdown or tied up in the government closing. I would guess there will be some who hope they never hear about it, because they don’t want revealed what were doing.

Alternatively, the Christian Science Monitor pointed out that at the same time there are government officials working to legalize these very sites. As they report:

Boosters of poker, moreover, say it’s a game of skill, where betting is different from betting on games of chance.

Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato of New York, who chairs an advocacy group called Poker Players Alliance, issued a statement following the legal action Friday.

“On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice today against online poker companies and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy," he said. "Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such."

No matter what happens, it is clear that the sudden action will have a chilling affect on the future play of many people. Considering that these sites have whole sections that are fake money, there may be hope that at least that play will make it back.

Part Time Poker did publish a statement by Full Tilt which suggests that they will put up a fight. It also indicates that play will go on outside of the US. But, there isn’t a word about people’s personal accounts. That’s not a good sign.


  1. Gravatar for Truckie D
    Truckie D

    We need to legalize online poker. There's a lot of tax revenue that could be generated, which I'm sure the the poker sites would happily pay in return for being able to legally milk their cash cow.

    I find poker tournaments to be an enjoyable hobby. Whenever I go through Las Vegas with enough extra time, I'll usually go play a cheap tournament somewhere. It would be nice to be able to legally play online, so that I wouldn't have to wait for Nevada-bound freight.

    I wholeheartedly agree that it's a game of skill. The randomization of cards means that even a player who's not as skillful as the competition has a chance at winning, which I think is part of the appeal.

    For those who are concerned about contributing to problem gambling, anyone with a problem is going to find a game somewhere, even if it's in their living room -- and there are a lot of those games going on right now.

    I'd also like to see California-style card rooms widely legalized. For me, part of the appeal is the interaction with other players.


  2. Gravatar for portlandia

    There has in fact been word on players' frozen accounts. The DoJ has already made a deal with all 3 sites to create a channel for US players to cash out their remaining balances as long as they keep sites locked from US players to play tables. The DoJ issued a statement that it is not their intent to punish the US citizens who did NOT break any laws according to the UIGEA passed in 2006. Check CardPlayer website for more updated accurate information.

  3. Gravatar for Anthony Murray
    Anthony Murray

    Too often I've seen hands that I find it dificult to believe aren't fixed . I've asked players to count from 1-9 to help me think I'm playing against other actual players. It never happens. Those and other reasons lead me to believe the game is fixed. I feel as though players should have the money they deposited returned as it obviously shows signs that it is a fixed scam.

  4. Gravatar for adam

    In reply to Anthony Murray

    The reason you feel as if the site is fixed or you are being scammed is not because of the website itself. Most of the time if you look at a hand that was completely played out there is a time in the hand you could have a. taken down the pot/hand or b. folded. It is up to the player to be educated enough to make the choices but for those who wait for AA and go all in and lose, you can not blame the site on being rigged just because you got cracked. Most of the websites have inspected and approved card shuffling programs that are checked from outside party's.

  5. Gravatar for Nochat

    Anthony Murray,

    I usually play online poker after disabling chat. It is very distracting for me. The fact that nobody is replying to your count might mean they have disabled chat too.

  6. Mike Bryant

    Thanks for the comment Truckie, it is always good to hear from you although it is usually only about your trucks. :) I agree that there is a big opportunity here and that it can be done correctly. Thanks for reading and the comment.

  7. Mike Bryant

    portlandia, thanks for the update, I will follow up on that. I had been in trial and had this updated to a couple of days back. Thanks for reading.

  8. Mike Bryant

    Anthony, I think that Nochat is correct, that it may just be a function of the chat. Those chats can really be petty and dumb at times. Although you would think with a whole table someone should be responding to you. Thanks to you both for reading and the comments.

  9. Mike Bryant

    Adam, I think we may learn a lot more about the sites as this action moves along I hope it all comes out clean. But there is a lot of money involved and it's off shore. Not always the best combination. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Comments are closed.