PokerListings Blog

Black Friday History Week: D-Day and Aftermath

Created By:
13 April 2012
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, Industry Insider
american justice 2

April 15, 2011 has become one of the “where were you when” moments of poker.

Seemingly just another day, players instead woke up to DOJ seizure notices on the big three websites available to US players – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute/UB.

Panic immediately took hold with players scrambling for information.

Shortly after a statement was released explaining that 11 defendants had been charged with band fraud and money laundering including PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg, Fill Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar and Absolute Poker's Scott Tom:

"As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

"Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud.

"Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”

Suddenly PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute/UB were cut off from the massive U.S. online poker market.

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Cash Flow

When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act hit in 2006 many online poker sites, including industry-leading PartyPoker, decided to vacate the U.S. market as a precautionary measure.

And when those online gaming giants pulled out, it left the door open for sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute/UB Poker to dominate.

And dominate they did.

In the years following UIGEA, PokerStars, Full Tilt and the CEREUS Poker network sucked up over 60% of the online poker market share and brought in hundreds of millions in profit.

Here is a closer look at the so-called big three in their prime from 2006-2011:

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Black Friday History Week: How it All Began

Created By:
09 April 2012
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, Industry Insider
black friday history week how it began

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Satayana

One year ago this Sunday, the US Department of Justice brought charges against Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and the Cereus Poker Network (Absolute Poker/UB).

Every day this week we'll be taking a closer look at the events that led to poker's Black Friday.

Today we reveal the origin stories of Black Friday’s three principal characters.

For a full history of what's happened since Black Friday, see our Black Friday Bulletin Board.

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pokerstars home page

The catch-all, one-stop shop for everything related to poker's Black Friday and the ongoing development of online poker in the US.

We'll be updating this with news and links whenever something significant occurs in relation to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and AP/UB's ongoing dealings with the US Department of Justice.

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Please welcome new guest writer Kevin Mathers, aka Kevmath, poker forum guru and all-around fount of information.

Earlier this month, PokerListings posted an article listing the ten biggest social media players in poker. The list was provided by Klout, a company that measures social media influence by tracking users' Tweets, Facebook posts, FourSquare checkins, etc.

If you've taken a look, there are several interesting choices. The obvious #1 choice is Daniel Negreanu, surely the most powerful professional poker player today, but when you look further down the list, a few names stand out.

Howard Lederer? Phil Ivey? Andy Bloch? Maybe they're using some super-secret accounts only Klout knows about.

When the list was rediscovered earlier this week on Twitter, discussion centered on who should actually be considered.

PokerListings decided to ask me for some guidance, so here's my attempt at the top ten social media players in poker, not necessarily in numerical order.

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Kevmath Presents: Awkward Moments with Tatjana Pasalic

Created By: PokerListings
15 October 2011
Posted in: The Guest Blog, Industry Insider

In September, PokerListings contacted me about possibly doing some work for them on their site. I was the first person filmed for The Circuit during the WSOP in Las Vegas in July, and had received a lot of positive responses. Considering the fact that I had plenty of free time, I jumped at the opportunity.

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rainbow unicorn

In This Day in Poker we take a look back at poker history. Today we crank the dial all the way back to 2006.

On this day in 2006 Party Poker released a statement announcing massive growth and a very optimistic forecast for the future.

Oh, the clarity of hindsight.

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Forex Trading: Legit Plan B for US Online Poker Players?

Created By:
05 August 2011
Posted in: The Guest Blog, Industry Insider
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The jury’s still out on what happens next for online poker players in the United States.

Some, like Phil Galfond, have already left for Canada to keep playing. Some have started the transition to live poker.

Most are still in limbo though. And despite a more optimistic outlook for legislation lately, there’s still no definite timeline for online poker’s mass return to the US.

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BOOM, a poker documentary about, you guessed it, the poker boom, is coming out soon. Produced by Jay Rosenkrantz and company, the film looks good and should cover pretty much everything from 2003 to present.

The production values look good, it seems to have credible sources, and Krantz really hasn't done anything we hate so far, so we're pretty optimistic about this doc.

Check out the trailer and tell us what you think in the comments below.

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The Department of Justice has taken a page out of a poker strategy book as it maintains its uber-aggressive prosecution of the 11 individuals indicted on May 1.

Their latest move came in the form of a supplemental forfeiture filed yesterday in Manhattan's federal court, outlining the seizure of a 7,200 square-foot home in Las Vegas belonging to Destiny Davis, Playboy's Miss January from 2005.

The DOJ also plans to seize four homes owned or connected to Ray Bitar, principle owner of Full Tilt Poker.

The seizure of an innocent Playboy model's home may seem confusing since she wasn't indicted on Black Friday, and as far as we know she has no actual involvement with the poker sites in question.

The move must have something to do with the fact Davis married Chad Elie, one of the indicted payment processors, just one day after the federal charges were announced.

Something tells us that house was bought with money earned through Elie's payment processing, and can therefore be classified as proceeds of a criminal enterprise, subject to forfeiture.

Federal prosecutors are also moving on four homes in Glendora, California thought to be owned by Ray Bitar. The flagship of these properties seems to be a 5,100 square-foot mansion on an estate with clear views of Los Angeles and even a private vineyard.

Given the scope of Full Tilt's operations we don't think these seizures are going to cause Ray Bitar all that much pain. And if Destiny Davis needs a place to stay PokerListings is renting a house in Vegas for the WSOP.

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You know things are serious when people are willing to give up their country before they'll give up their game.

With Americans looking at a horizon devoid of online poker some are considering taking matters into their own hands and finding a home more hospitable to their chosen profession.

Here are our picks for realistic locations where players can legally enjoy online poker.

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Obama and durrrr

US President Barack Obama will be fielding questions posed by Americans this evening in a live event streamed via the internet from Facebook HQ.

Facebook users are able to submit questions using the event's wall, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan has posted one that might just get picked.

I recently was on a uso tour to two countries in the middle east. It was a very rewarding experience, and i was surprised by the insane amount of interest our troops have in poker. I expected most of the troops to have barely played before and maybe seen poker on tv once, while having no idea who most of us were, but I was way off. At... each event we had 100 people who signed up in time, and more who wanted to play but were unhappy that they couldn't get in. All the bases were randomly chosen, and for 3 of the 4 tournaments, less than 1200 people were eligible to signup. So this means far over 8% of servicemembers really enjoy poker from our sample size. Why then, 2 days after this tour, did the department of justice go after online poker, while at the last base, multiple soldiers are still playing online and trying to bring freedom to the world- yet when they come home they'll be unable to play. Did you know about the doj's action on friday? Is there anything you plan to do about it?  

In about an hour the post had received 1,800 likes and 120 comments.

Click here to watch the live stream to see if they talk about poker.

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Listen, we know legislation for legalizing online poker is important. We get that. It's just that our attention spans are pretty short. When people start throwing around big words like "legal" and "laws" our minds tend to wander.

The PPA's Rick Muny must understand this to some extent since he's put together a video outlining some basic info about the latest bill, HR1174. Moving from text to video was a good first step but it wasn't quite enough.

That's where we come in. By providing an upbeat soundtrack we were able to make it all the way to the end!

Make sure to play both YouTube videos simultaneously! If you don't you will surely end up playing Angry Birds before comprehending Rick's message!

Click here and get involved with the PPA's fight for America's right to play online poker!

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YouTube GIRLY if online poker players were a bunch of chicks Mozilla Firefox 3302011 91335 AM

A few weeks ago we reviewed Li Dong's poker documentary A Kid's Game. Today Dong posted a very rough trailer for Girly, a new poker TV show project he's trying to get off the ground.

We've got the trailer plus details on the project for you here.

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José Girah, the so-called Portuguese poker prodigy, contacted Tom Dwan via Twitter a few days ago, inquiring as to whether Dwan would be taking on a third durrrr Challenge.

Dwan responded in the affirmative, telling Girah to post $500k to get things started.

This, at a time when Dwan is already up to his neck in the first two durrrr Challenges. Listen durrrr. You're not America. These aren't wars we're talking about.

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In a story yesterday in the Vancouver Province we learned that Vancouver businessman Alex Tkach lost $9,000 in one hand to a cheating ring that's reported to have been working their way across the country.

We've got the cliffs notes for you below, plus our take on how gullible someone has to be to lose $9,000 to some random people they just met playing cards in a rented office.

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geoffrey parkers worlds most expensive poker setqLOVG48

Excess is something we strive for here at PokerListings so when we heard about a diamond and jewel-encrusted poker chip set worth $7.3 million dollars one one word came to mind: obv!

This landmark accomplishment in completely impractical poker technology is the brainchild of London-based specialty game maker Geoffrey Parker.

Parker has been offering pimped out games ranging from Monopoly to backgammon for years but this poker chip set blows everything else he's done out of the water. Keep reading for the details.

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Tyler Frost sounds like the secret identity of some Mr. Freeze-esque super-villain but in fact he's just a regular super-successful online poker pro from Canada.

Man were we disappointed when we went to his house to film this interview.

Frost, who plays under the online name frosty012, is one of the latest batch of additions to Team PokerStars Online Pro. Not even two years out of university Tyler has established himself as a very profitable online player, making Supernova Elite in 2010 and securing himself a rare online pro endorsement.

We stopped by his condo in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver, to say what's up. Please excuse the gray tone of this video; that's just what Vancouver looks like.

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img3546high stakes poker season 7 episode 1

High Stakes Poker Season 7 is here. We’ve got new players, a controversial new host and a new location. It’s easy to see that things have changed this season but have they changed for the better?

We break it down, slap a letter grade on it and tell you whether it's worth your time in our Complete Guide to High Stakes Poker Season 7.

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A Kids Game The Story of Online Poker Bluefire Poker Training Mozilla Firefox 312011 113310 AM

**Update: This movie is now available to view for free here**

Bluefire Poker was nice enough to give us a look at their new poker documentary A Kid’s Game: The Story of Online Poker this week.

So we put the Jiffy-Pop on the stove, sat down on the coach, and opened up our laptops to play online poker, looking up from time to time. That’s just how we watch TV.

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