Monday 23rd of July 2018 07:51:08 AM

US Poker Site Seizures

In the latest move against online poker by the US administration, four of the top online poker rooms that continued to accept American players after the passing of the UIGEA in 2006 have had their websites seized by the FBI.

Having operated in the American market for the last five years when many other poker rooms had pulled out, Poker Stars and FullTilt became the two biggest online card rooms thanks mainly to their US player base.

On Friday the 15th April the FBI seized the primary websites of Poker Stars, FullTilt, Absolute Poker and UB. The sites are no longer controlled by their owners, but the poker rooms are operating properly and players are still able to log in and play. Both Stars and Full Tilt have suspended cash game activity for their US players, while Absolute and UB currently are allowing all players to play.

It is still early, and most people involved will still be scrambling to find a way forward, but there has been a notable absence of statements by the poker rooms involved.

Of course, the fact that the FBI chose to act on a Friday didn’t help any.

This does not appear to be the end of online poker for Americans though, and a number of sites that accept players form the USA have not been indicted. Sites such as Poker Host and Carbon Poker are still operating freely and Americans can continue to play on those sites.

That may change as the consequences of this latest attack on online poker is digested by those rooms. Carbon Poker appears to be bullish in their response and are actively advertising that US players are welcome in their poker room.

The addendum to this story was that this moved effectively killed the game for all but the most dedicated players from that country. While some smaller rooms have remained open in the face of this opposition, the major ones have now gone the way of Party poker et al back in 2006, that is, they have closed their doors to the U.S.

Where does that leave the host of professionals that were making a living from playing online? Well, it leaves them in one of two places; either they stayed at home and found some other line of work, or they emigrated to a more poker friendly country. I have heard that a few moved to Canada and Europe to continue their careers. I suppose some have used the small few rooms that are still open to them. But it would appear that those players that may have been profitable but were not generating enough profit have simply laid down their cards, and presumably they are waiting for the golden day that a legal situation exists where they can play their favorite game online without risk of arrest or ruin.

Sad but true, the American poker player is a rare sight now in any online poker room, unless you count those few players lucky enough to be living in NJ, or that are willing to move to NJ. And even those players are faced with apoker landscape that is incredibly different from the one that they were so brutally forced out of.

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