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Black Friday

by Xuan Liu |  Published: Apr 16, '11

Today some crazy precedents were set in the world of online poker. If you've been under a rock, the main founders of the top three sites that operate in the U.S. (PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute) are being charged by the U.S. government not just for acts under the UIGEA, but more seriously, for crimes involving bank fraud and money laundering. Arrests have been made and American players have been blocked from playing real money games on these sites. Their account balances have also been frozen, and there is general panic amongst the community, of which I am no exception. I am a firm believer in a diplomatic settlement between these companies and the government, and am hoping that his is simply a result of the government wanting to establish more control over regulation of the industry, and is making a power play to demonstrate their authority.

Although I am Canadian and our activities have not been frozen, I have spent some time recently discussing potential opportunities with some of these sites and now have no idea where anything stands. I will continue to be optimistic that after this blackout period the poker industry will come back stronger and more organized. A very idealistic portrait of this can be found in this blog.

You can read the actual government press release and summary of charges here.

For some background info, or, if you are a screenwriter looking for your next idea, you can check out the story of Daniel Tzvetkoff.

Today I played a half-ass session trying to take advantage of the overlay. Of course my attention was frantically divided as I waited for any news to appear in my feeds. I also finally got a chance to watch Jeopardy's IBM Watson episodes. I was cheering for Ken and Brad despite knowing the outcome, and snickered at the machine every time it got a question wrong in a silly way, or when it faked personality.

I am currently watching Party Poker's Big Game live stream. I was kindly invited to be on this show but after a lot of deliberation decided not to attend mainly for bankroll reasons. I probably could have sold the action for it, but I told myself I didn't have to jump on the first opportunity to be on TV. I like to be properly rolled when I play cash games because worrying about real figures leads to sub-optimal plays. I used to do a lot of that and always regret it afterwards for various reasons, even when I win. There was also a pretty long line-up to fit into 48 hours and I wasn't sure if it'd be worth it to go so out of my way for minimal exposure. Of course, I also didn't want to look stupid on TV. I hear it's really easy to do that and didn't want to launch my public "career" before I was ready. However, I think the interactive features are great and the stream and footage is in pretty good quality. As I watch some hands play out, I really wish I had gone despite all the logic against it because the game seems like a lot of fun! The audience gets to decide who is to be replaced, and the comments on the side panel can be pretty entertaining. A positive precedent for poker which I'm sure we'll see more of.
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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