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Online Poker shut down in U.S.

catsclaw227

First Post
So, yesterday or sometime over the weekend, the FBI shut down and forbade access to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, and a few others.

Apparently, there were some sketchy banking practices on the back end that gave the FBI and other agencies cause to completely shut it down for all players originating in the US. You can't deposit, you can't withdraw any funds you have, and you can't play.

Did any of you play any online poker? I did, with some limited regularity, and never got crazy with it, but I am a decent player and I was able to supplement my income slightly.

Fortunately, I didn't have any funds in their banks to use for gaming, but it's a bummer I can't go online to play.
 

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BlueBlackRed

First Post
I got out of the online poker world when it became illegal to play, even for free (as in $0.00 of my money going there).

I knew of a couple people who were still able to play using some credit card trickery but it was quetionably legal.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
I know that PokerStars never had a problem transferring money right from my bank account and I didn't have to use some strange off-shore credit-card processor either.

You would think with all the poker tournaments on TV, and all the poker site advertising in those shows, that this would be handled much differently.

They literally just shut down the sites, put up an FBI warning and thats that.
 

Tyranthraxus

Explorer
People are surprised? It was illegal to play online poker in the US. That means you dont do it.

These sites can still operate however OUTSIDE of the US, and I believe still are. However people going to the sites are met with the FBI page and a lot of international players quickly got their money out, others who were slower could not.

Most of this comes down to an Australian businessman who blew the lid on these sites because he had one himself until he got caught out. So he turned 'grass'.

The main issue in Aus is that its 'untraceable' income. That is , the government would find it very hard to track where it has come from without expending more resources than it wants to. There are several players in Australia who are making multi million dollars and paying no tax at all on it. Thats just wrong.

I think in terms of the US component is primarily a tax issue also.
 

DumbPaladin

First Post
I'm sure the FBI and the U.S. Government did it for financial reasons, but I think this is great news overall. Online gambling just gave gambling addicts an even easier and simpler way to bankrupt themselves and their families from the comfort of their own homes ... not to mention giving people under 18 a way to throw away money they couldn't afford to throw away.

The only thing I can really say is good riddance ...
 

Thunderfoot

First Post
People are surprised? It was illegal to play online poker in the US. That means you dont do it.
<SNIP>
Not true, it's Illegal to GAMBLE on-line. There are plenty of free on-line poker games that are included in all sorts of forms in the US, but the difference is there is no exchange of real cash, therefore it doesn't break the Federal/Local gambling laws.

Unfortunately, online poker is almost a branded term, like Kleenex for all facial tissue in the US or Hoover for all vacuums in the UK.
 

Thunderfoot

First Post
I'm sure the FBI and the U.S. Government did it for financial reasons,<SNIP>
careful...
It will probably cost more than they take in for operational costs, so I doubt the recoup of money is the issue. More than likely, they finally had enough evidence to get the okay from either the Department of Justice or the Federal Regulatory Commission.

I've been cruising some of the gaming law sites and it appears the mostly likely reason for the stoppage is the continued illegal fund transactions. I'm sure there will be more on this in the near future.

What is really interesting is that the current language of the law could be made to include ANY form of online gaming, which could effect geeks of all stripes. Imagine if your WoW, XboX Live, or DDI account were suddenly halted due to this... I'm not saying it will, but there is always the possibility.
 



Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Some of my friends used to play a few of those sites. They quit, not for fear of prosecution, but rather they noticed they all went from winning to losing...at the same time. Fraud? Hacked? Don't know.

Add to that some of the allegations- money laundering, for instance- ant it paints a rather nasty picture, if true.
 

BlueBlackRed

First Post
Some of my friends used to play a few of those sites. They quit, not for fear of prosecution, but rather they noticed they all went from winning to losing...at the same time. Fraud? Hacked? Don't know.

Add to that some of the allegations- money laundering, for instance- ant it paints a rather nasty picture, if true.
It could also be that a lot of the less skilled players left after losing interest and too much money.
Thus the people your friends used to "feed upon" were gone, that created a rapid change in skill level and then it became sharks eating sharks.
 

John Crichton

First Post
I'm sure the FBI and the U.S. Government did it for financial reasons, but I think this is great news overall. Online gambling just gave gambling addicts an even easier and simpler way to bankrupt themselves and their families from the comfort of their own homes ... not to mention giving people under 18 a way to throw away money they couldn't afford to throw away.

The only thing I can really say is good riddance ...
They only shut down a few sites, not all of them. People can still go online and play poker for money, place bets on sports and all that. The industry is still there minus a few big-name sites.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
It could also be that a lot of the less skilled players left after losing interest and too much money.
Thus the people your friends used to "feed upon" were gone, that created a rapid change in skill level and then it became sharks eating sharks.
This is actually confirmed by a number of big online players. There was a boom a 5 or 6 years ago, then the minnows got devoured and now players that were regularly winning in medium stakes games had trouble playing consistently well in low stakes games.

Plus a massive influx of European players that are more aggressive and often play well against the strategies discussed in all the poker books. These good young players weren't playing in one or two medium ($5/$10 or $10/$20) or high stakes games, but instead would play 8 games at the same time for $2/$4.

Players previously winning were now losing a lot.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
I'm sure the FBI and the U.S. Government did it for financial reasons, but I think this is great news overall. Online gambling just gave gambling addicts an even easier and simpler way to bankrupt themselves and their families from the comfort of their own homes ... not to mention giving people under 18 a way to throw away money they couldn't afford to throw away.

The only thing I can really say is good riddance ...

I can understand your feelings, and it sounds like you might know some families that may have been affected by that kind of behavior.

But, keep in mind, the tried this with prohibition and it didn't stop the use of booze, in fact things got worse. An alcoholic can go to any grocery store or corner gas/mini-mart and get alcohol. Pulling beer off the shelves doesn't solve the problem.

EDIT: Now, shutting them down because there were shady banking practices, laws being broken, and money being laundered.... Well, those are good reasons to lock down the main big sites. There is a message being sent to other online gambling sites, as much as there are laws being upheld.
 

John Crichton

First Post
I can understand your feelings, and it sounds like you might know some families that may have been affected by that kind of behavior.

But, keep in mind, the tried this with prohibition and it didn't stop the use of booze, in fact things got worse. An alcoholic can go to any grocery store or corner gas/mini-mart and get alcohol. Pulling beer off the shelves doesn't solve the problem.
Well said. Drinking, gambling, narcotics and the like is a symptom of a larger problem.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
It could also be that a lot of the less skilled players left after losing interest and too much money.
Thus the people your friends used to "feed upon" were gone, that created a rapid change in skill level and then it became sharks eating sharks.

While possible, it's not that likely with this bunch: they generally profit on their gambling vacations. As in, their winnings more than pay for their travel, lodging, and dining expenses (occasionally, even with family in tow). A couple have come up just short of making it to the televised rounds of the WSOP.

IOW, these guys are sharks, not clownfish...and not little ones, either.

In addition, the same pattern of simultaneous changes of fortune did not show up in sites that have, as yet, not been popped by the Feds.
 
Last edited:

catsclaw227

First Post
While possible, it's not that likely with this bunch: they generally profit on their gambling vacations. As in, their winnings more than pay for their travel, lodging, and dining expenses. A couple have come up just short of making it to the televised rounds of the WSOP.

IOW, these guys are sharks, not clownfish.

In addition, the same pattern of simultaneous changes of fortune did not show up in sites that have, as yet, not been popped by the Feds.
I won't dismiss the idea that there might have been fraud done by the developers (fake AI players, programmed river cards coming out that suck out on much better hands, etc)

But playing live at one table in Vegas or Atlantic City or other Native American casinos, where there are a LOT of minnows, it's not tough to pay for your vacation, or at least get some comps, if you know what you are doing.

The Main Event of the WSOP gets televised from day 1. Anyone with 10K can get in and play. You can be the worst player in the world and get into the "televised" round of the WSOP. Getting past day 1, though. That is the initial challenge, then it's getting into the money.

I've never played in WSOP play - never had time to go to Vegas when it was going on, and never had 10K of totally disposable money to plunk down - but I've played the tables and have had consistent winnings for a weekend.

But, I did notice that the online tournaments on PokerStars where getting harder to win or get into the money. Lots of high volume players who play 8 hours a day, 5+ tables at a time, mostly european, were making some of the games more difficult. In a 45 player tourney, it became a lot more common to have a good hand of mine get sucked out on by a lesser hand - especially when I was betting my hand correctly and I end up losing a bunch of my chip stack to a donkey hand.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The Main Event of the WSOP gets televised from day 1

True, but I'm talking about when they narrow it down to just a couple tables. As in, not the wide camera shots with more focus on the tables where the known whales are playing, but when everyone is sitting there with a sizable stack, and there are nooooo distractions.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
True, but I'm talking about when they narrow it down to just a couple tables. As in, not the wide camera shots with more focus on the tables where the known whales are playing, but when everyone is sitting there with a sizable stack, and there are nooooo distractions.

Well, now you are talking about already being in the money. Usually the last couple hundred players (+/- 20% depending upon registration) get into the money at the main event, and that's a really tough feat. You're not there until day 3 (late), day 4.
 

Kzach

First Post
This was actually big news in the MMA world as well because Strikeforce fighters and fighters from other, smaller, promotions have Fulltilt as their sponsor. Given that fighters tend to get as much or even more money from sponsorships than they do from fight pay, this will have a significant effect on the sport.

Luckily for the monster that is the UFC, they banned online poker sponsorship years ago.
 

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