About a week ago, online poker players got some very good news. Pokerstars, which in my opinion is the highest quality online poker site, announced that they would continue to service US-based customers. In their announcement, Pokerstars stated that poker is a game of skill rather than chance and thus outside the reach of the legislation.
But today, some bad news came across: Neteller, the largest, most reliable offshore intermediary, announced that they would voluntarily comply with the new anti-gaming law once the law’s regulations are established.
For now, it is business as usual for Neteller and the players. But sometime in the coming months, Neteller will close its doors to us, and that is a big deal.
What will happen? Likely, some other smaller entities that are more comfortable with the risks involved will step into the breach. But will players like me feel comfortable using these alternate intermediaries? And will it scare off a high percentage of the US players and dry up the action? I guess we’ll see. But this news is ugly.
Yesterday brought bad news for online poker players. Firepay, which after Neteller is the second most popular foreign banking intermediary, announced that they will voluntarily comply with the new legislation once it is signed by President Bush. In other words, online poker players who currently use Firepay will need to look for another way to fund their poker accounts.
This leaves Neteller as a crucial entity in the future of online poker. If they stay the course (as they announced they would on October 1st), I’m still convinced that things will remain relatively unchanged. If they follow Firepay’s lead, it will be a crushing blow as thousands of poker players, including myself, will no longer be able to move money into or out of their poker accounts.
Should Neteller cave, I’m sure some small daring international companies will fill the void, but will these companies be trustworthy? And more importantly, will it simply kill all the action before these companies can pick up the slack?
After I found out about the new anti-poker legislation a week ago today, I joined many of my brethren by withdrawing nearly all my money from my poker site accounts.
The dust has now settled a bit, and the prevailing sentiment is good. General consensus is that online poker will continue to exist, with the only big change being that funding online poker accounts without the use of a mediary will cease in nine months. This is definitely good news.
As for me, after making my withdrawal, I was left with a meager $200 in my Pokerstars account. Rather than make a new deposit to replentish the account, I decided to run a little experiment: Try to run the $200 up to $1500 or more as quickly as possible. So far, I’ve been multitabling $25 sit ‘n gos and I’m up to around $750.
This is probably a huge waste of time (I have no chance of making a sizeable score), but I figured that grinding it out would be sorta fun in its own way. Also, my experiment might give me a valuable refresher in basic sit ‘n go strategy.
I was away in Chicago all weekend, then at the Jets game yesterday, and I watched football last night before going to bed. So the panic that has beset my “industry” since Friday afternoon is just now taking hold with me.
I learned an hour or two ago that the Online Gambling Bill got snuck through the Senate (attached to some other Bill regarding port security). Bush will sign this bill in about two weeks, and this is catastrophic news.
Party Poker has already announced that they will no longer service US-based clients once the bill becomes law, and Pokerstars is still evaluating. I have been frantically removing my money from all the online gambling sites I have accounts with. When the dust settles, I’ll re-evaluate and then might have some important decisions to make. For now, I’m effectively unemployed.
Good fucking yuntuv.