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Malaysian Pro Darian Tan Calls PokerStars Exit “A Huge Loss”
Say to a poker player that ‘Black Tuesday’ just happened and they will know that can’t be a good thing.
That’s what some players in countries like Malaysia are calling Tuesday, September 30th.
It's the day that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker pulled out of approximately 30 countries around the globe including Malaysia.
“I was at the airport in Malaysia waiting to come to WSOP APAC when I got the news that Full Tilt had withdrawn from our country,” prominent Malaysian pro Darian Tan told us.
“I was still able to play on PokerStars at that point too, but of course, by the time I arrived in Australia, PokerStars were gone too.”
Malaysian Poker Players Already Considering Relocating
The markets that were affected this time around are tiny compared to the USA and so the effect isn’t likely to ripple into other aspects of the poker world.
But for players like Tan, that day will not soon be forgotten.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” Tan says. “Right after the news a lot of Malaysian poker players were talking about moving away to countries like Thailand and Cambodia.”
PokerStars, and Full Tilt, pulled out of approximately 30 “grey-area” markets, with Tan’s home-country of Malaysia perhaps the largest of those markets.
Singapore wasn’t one of those 30 countries, but Tan has worries for his friends from there too.
“I’m pretty sure in the near future, a lot of Singaporeans and Malaysians will be moving to countries like Cambodia,” Tan claims.
“What I have been told is that a lot of Singaporeans think that, even know they are not banned yet, they probably will be in the next few months or so.”
Gambling Still a Grey Area in Malaysia
Tan primarily plays online poker and without PokerStars might have to consider moving to somewhere like Cambodia. Just as many players from these areas also will.
“I live in Malaysia full time, so without PokerStars, it’s going to be a big hit to my life,” Tan says. “I think at the very least I will have to travel more for poker.”
“I will also think about changing my country of residence and see what happens from there.”
Tan is hopeful that this won’t mean a complete ban for online poker in Malaysia.
Right now, it’s technically not illegal for poker sites to offer services in Malaysia, it’s just in a “grey” area.
“We have never really heard from the Malaysian government about online gambling,” Tan says. “This is just PokerStars deciding to pull out of a grey area."
"The problem here is that a lot of the countries that PokerStars pulled out of, including Malaysia, are Muslim countries and gambling goes against being a Muslim.”
One big difference between Black Tuesday and Black Friday is that Tan and players from all the now-prohibited markets were given prior warning and have direct access to all their funds.
“At first everyone was, of course, wondering if we are able to withdraw our funds,” Tan says. “We can, which is very lucky. It’s just upsetting that we won’t be able to play anymore.”