On April 15, 2011, the FBI shocked the online poker world by seizing the domain names of the most popular poker sites on the web. Effectively, US players can no longer place a bet on such well-known sites as Full-TiltPoker.com, Ultimatebet.com, AbsolutePoker.com. Even the grand-daddy of them all, PokerStars.com, felt the wrath of the FBI’s strict enforcement of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which forbid internet money transfers from financial institutions to online gaming sites demo slot pragmatic .
What does this sudden federal action mean to the online poker playing community? In short, it means that millions of poker players will have to find their poker action elsewhere. Two likely venues pop to mind: brick and mortar Casinos will get an immediate influx of new business, and traditional home games will once again proliferate over time.
Will poker players accustomed to the anonymity of online play adapt to sitting at a poker table and looking their opponents in the eye? They better, because they really do not have an alternative since Congress does not seem to be in the mood to change the law any time soon. There has been a push to introduce legislation, which would legalize (and regulate) online poker in the States. Most notably, the Poker Players Alliance has been advocating for the rights of US poker players to play online. The PPA has two noteworthy congressional champions of their cause in Alfonse D’Amato (former Senator from NY) and Barney Frank (D-Mass). So far, their efforts have not been fruitful, but they continue to try.
Some folks may wonder why poker players insist on playing for real money online; after all, why not play with ‘play money’? Most experienced poker players will agree it is impossible to play real poker with fake money. If it costs you nothing, why fold to your opponent’s bet? The calculation as to whether to call a bet, or not, is much different if you are risking 25 real dollars, versus 25 dollars of play money. Forcing an opponent to fold his hand because he is unwilling to risk real money, is an integral part of the game.
Can casinos adequately fill the void of online play? In many cases, ‘yes’ they can. Thirty-four states offer casino poker rooms of some kind. Players within a reasonable driving distance of, say 50 miles, can simply take a short ride and find plenty of action. But this is not the case for everyone. Sixteen states do not offer poker games in a casino environment. If you are fortunate enough to live near a casino poker room, you will have to adjust your game a bit: