It’s been so long since players from the USA actually inhabited online poker tables freely and legally it’s hard to remember what it was like.
Since the UIGEA there’s been a daily barrage of blog posts and news articles covering some kind of US government interruption in the world of online gambling. But rarely has there been perspectives from outside the USA on what it’s been like to whiteness all this happening.
I woke up on April 15th 2011 and Skype went crazy with various links to DOJ takedown notices and articles already written about the craziness that had occurred while I was still sleeping. My first reaction was one of injustice. I live in the UK, not the USA, and my government says I can gamble freely online whenever and pretty much wherever I want to.
Over the coming days it was quickly clear that whilst those across the water were likely screwed those outside the USA would still continue, more or less, as they’d left off. Just with a significantly smaller number of fish in the pond.
Looking back on the reaction to this in a thread I contributed to on a popular UK poker forum opinions varied from ‘seriously we are totally screwed now’ to ‘meh shouldn’t be too bad’ and subsequently the later of the two came to pass.
As time moves forward people forget and adapt and that’s exactly what happened for most UK based players after Black Friday.
Grinders carried on grinding, scared recreational players eventually returned to the tables and even when France pulled the plug we could still play on stars.fr so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Rightly or wrongly we eventually forgot, adapted and most thought and still think ‘well it’d be great if the US comes back, we might even experience another mini boom, but it certainly won’t be online poker as we once knew it’.
That is very much still my main train of thought. Who knows what restrictions will be placed on players in the USA if they do return to the world of online gambling legally. I’m pretty sure it won’t be that beneficial for us and maybe not even for them.
I can’t talk for everyone but those who I’ve spoke to and still speak to would happily describe the US government as crazy and unpredictable – nothing that happens in the US really surprises us anymore.
The Full Tilt Fiasco
Regardless of where you live in the world, as online gamblers we’re pretty used to getting screwed over by someone. I personally suffered at the hands of Microgaming and when Full Tilt went under my initial reaction was shame err… stuff different day.
To be honest though, this was more of a surprise than Black Friday itself. Most poker players in the UK, myself included, considered Full Tilt as untouchable. Looking back I’m not sure why but I guess that’s how people feel about big global brands.
Losing money sucks, regardless of how it happens, but it hurts that little bit more when it feels like a complete injustice. The US government had screwed us over previously on Black Friday but financially most didn’t lose out.
Full Tilt going to the wall hit our pockets more than anything. We could still grind on Stars remember so it wasn’t total devastation.
At the time of writing this post the 6th of November is thought to be the re-launch date for Full Tilt Poker and we’re expecting our money back. My perspective on this… a miracle.
I’m expecting some kind of reintegration of US players into the world of online gambling; at some point, at some time, in some shape or fashion.
Honestly given what we’ve seen from the US previously it’s tough to speculate on how or when this will happen. I do know one thing though. Whatever happens won’t come as a surprise. We now expect the unexpected.
David L is the owner and main editor of Cheeky Punter, a website about online gambling which focuses on UK sports betting. David is also an ex professional online gambler player and if you hadn’t already guessed lives in the UK, the North East of England more specifically.
If you want to see where he loses most of his money every week then check out the betting tips section of the Cheeky Punter website.