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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.
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:
"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.
1 February 2012, Created By: PokerListings.com
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog , Industry Insider
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog , Industry Insider
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 sites and AP/UB's ongoing dealings with the US Department of Justice.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poker is pretty high on the list of typically American things, right up there with freedom, apple pie and an unflinching commitment to television programming. That's why our friend Short-Stacked Shamus over at Hard-Boiled Poker has put together an American Studies course at UNC-Charlotte covering poker's role in American culture. We spoke with Shamus last week about what we can expect from the course and quickly realized that this is indeed an expansive topic, and certainly one worthy of academic exploration. Read on for the key points plus a look at the course material Shamus will be using with his students.
The last few episodes of the PokerStars Big Game have sparked an explosive discussion in the poker world and, not surprisingly, it was Tony G’s big mouth that lit the fuse. The issue on the table has to do with etiquette and respect, and how those two things fit into an entertainment television show like The Big Game.
Momentum is a huge force in poker. Whether it's a cash-game heater, a multi-event MTT streak or picking up where you left off at the 2009 WSOP, winners just seem to keep on winning. With the 2010 WSOP just weeks away we're taking a look at the people who will be riding a wave of 2009 WSOP success into this year's Series. There's only one choice for the first entry: Phil Ivey.
When you jack the stakes up higher than the sky you're gonna get action. On the final episode of High Stakes Poker Season 6, that's exactly what went down. Right off the hop they kicked the game up to $500/$1,000 with an optional (pretty much guaranteed $2k straddle). Add in the standard $200 ante and you've got yourself one hell of a poker game. With $5,100 in the pot before the first cards were even dealt it was mayhem with everyone trying to one-up each other with hero calls, folds and bluffs. There were simply too many hands of note to focus on just one. Instead we're going to give you a full rundown with some analysis thrown in for good measure.
A couple of months back we did a psychological analysis of Phil Ivey and his approach to poker. I want to do another one because several recent comments from Phil got me to thinking about the depth of his analysis of the game. In fact he's taken it so far he's become an implicit psychologist. By implicit here I mean unaware, not conscious. Phil's game has a number of elements to it that make it remarkably sophisticated from a psychological point of view, although I suspect Phil is unaware of these psychological factors. Indeed, I would have been pleased to have thought of them myself. If you read carefully, you will see intriguing strategic elements in them.
There's a lot of chatter about the astronomical amounts of money (some) people are playing poker for these days. This interest began a couple of years ago with TV shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. These shows began with the "usual suspects" (Doyle, Barry, Jennifer, Sammy, Daniel ...), gradually brought in lesser known but capable recreational players, WSOP winners and, more recently, the newer online phenoms. These folks have crossed swords with serious cash on the line and it has only escalated over time. But the focus on the "nosebleed" level games has long began in earnest among the online community, especially those on Full Tilt, and it has captured the imagination of poker junkies everywhere.
This is it, the end of the decade. The final installment in our look back at the last ten years is a study of those people and groups that most impacted the poker world so far in the new millennium. The movers and shakers, the bigwigs (no smallwigs). The 25 biggest, without whom we wouldn't be where we are today.
The last ten years have opened the flood gates of poker literature. Everybody and their dog wrote a book to cash in on the poker craze. Most of them were downright awful but there were a few really solid books written. It's impossible to tell the good from the bad at first glance, so we went ahead and did all of the heavy lifting for you by chronicling the best 10 poker books of the last 10 years.
2009 is all but over and that can mean only one thing, end of year awards. The last 12 months saw some crazy stuff happen in the poker world. $500/$1,000 exploded online, leading to the biggest sessions, and the biggest pots, in history. 2009 gave us the youngest ever Main Event Champion in Joe Cada. We also saw some familiar faces return to the big game as well as a certain fish that shall remain nameless. (cough … he just went to space … cough) So, without further delay, the awards. If we can keep the speeches short and avoid any Kanye-esque interruptions we should be done before the sun comes up.
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