24 hours after the Federal Government shut down online poker in the U.S. you now get a message from the FBI if you try to log on to Pokerstars, Fulltilt or Absolute Poker from the web. If you open the software you get a message telling you that U.S. players can no longer play for real money, but your money is safe and they've had to rework the guaranteed prize pools for their tournaments.
My prediction is this will be the effective end for many of the medium sized sites. Pokerstars and Fulltilt are so big that even though they've lost 50% of their customers overnight they'll be able to survive.
I don't think others will be so lucky. I expect familiar names like Cake Poker, Doyle's Room and maybe even Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker (who were all in trouble anyway) will become total ghost towns and may close up shop.
Like I said in my last post, in the long term this is good news. Pokerstars and Fulltilt are losing tens of millions of dollars *every day* that poker is shut down in the U.S. They and all the people who have been playing poker online in the U.S. finally have some real motivation to get pissed and give a real push for change.
When the day comes that Average Joe U.S.A. can deposit with a credit card and be sure that his money is safe the influx of players who have no clue what they're doing is going to be overwhelming.
I'm not just talking about people who have never played poker before. I'm talking about people who play in Vegas and people who have played in home games or local casinos too. People who feel like they know what they're doing, but are playing at a pretty basic level will be everywhere. They will certainly have no chance against me or other online pros (and former pros), and will probably get crushed by even the players who are skilled enough to be small to medium losers in the current online poker world. A pit bull might be pretty tough, but not in a fight against a lion or a grizzly bear...or a T-Rex! CHOMP!
In related news I've read that "online poker" is being legalized in Washington D.C. As far as I can tell sometime around September if you're within the boarders of D.C. you'll be able to play against other people who are within the boarders. Also there will be terminals in bars and hotel lobbies and other hot spots where you can play even if you don't have a computer.
The big red flag here is that it's going to be run by the D.C. Lottery. The worst thing for players is to have one entity as the only game in town and to make it worse it's a government agency. The software they're going to roll out is going to be a steaming pile of shit. Paradise poker circa 2000 will look like Pokerstars software circa 2015 compared to what the people at the lottery are going to put out.
More importantly - IT'S THE LOTTERY! The Lottery is the one wagering entity that is more used to squeezing every drop of blood out of it's customers than any other. Typically 40% to 50% of the money wagered on lotteries goes to the government that is running it. That is roughly 3 times worse than the *worst* bets in a Vegas Casino 10 times worse than the bad games like roulette and 30 times worse than blackjack and some of the bets on the craps table.
My guess is the D.C. "Online Poker" will have the highest rake ever seen at a poker table with the shittiest software.