Apr 16 2011

Where to Play Online Poker Now – Post Poker Apocalypse

written by: John under News Comments: 4

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Early Friday afternoon, the online poker community was blindsided by the FBI when they seized the domains of four of the biggest online poker rooms on the Net, PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com, AbsolutePoker.com, and UB.com. In addition, 11 founding members and executives of these corporations were charged with money laundering, illegal gambling, and fraud. Three billion dollars is being demanded for restitution, and the defendants may be facing up to 20 years in prison. Some are already in custody, others are still at large, though federal agents are on the search for the remaining defendants.

While this is bad for US players who called these poker sites home, and this is bad for the poker sites and the defendants and their families, it’s not the end of the world for Internet poker as we know it. The good news is that PokerStars, at least, has made a statement via their software (you can still log in, you just  can’t deposit or play for real money) that says, “Please be assured player balances are safe. There is no cause for concern.” It continues, “For all customers outside the U.S. it is business as usual.”

So, if our money is safe, then we should leave it where it is? If you do decide to cash out, you risk your money being held in limbo indefinitely. If you leave it be, you might see it back in your bank account sooner than later. We recommend leaving it for now.

Now the question remains, where is it safe to play? We are completely confident that it is safe to deposit money and play at  Bodog, and BetOnline. These are perfectly adequate online poker rooms that are just as good, if not better than PokerStars, FullTilt Poker, or Absolute. They just don’t have the traffic flow that the big sites have, which is why they were targeted—they provided services to the largest market of online poker players. But now all of those US players who played at these sites need somewhere else to go. Some sites are safer than others, but we do recommend the two listed above.

It is unfortunate that the FBI and the Federal US government are against online poker, although the US Congress and many lawmakers are on our side. As of this week, Washington DC now allows US online poker within the jurisdiction, so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit. Unfortunately, the feds are after those who did not follow the rules enacted by the UIGEA, and at least for now, the future of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and UB.com in the US market is unclear.

It is apparent that Internet poker laws and regulations in the US are long overdue. For now, we will sit back and watch it unfold, all the while knowing that they will never be able to completely eradicate online poker from the hands of US players. It’s not going anywhere.

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