Gamblers who prefer their couch and silence over cigar smoke and human interaction have a reason to smile. A deal has been made between the major online poker companies and the Department of Justice. It appears PokerStars.com, will purchase its former rival, Full Tilt, and pay the U.S. Government 547 million dollars to settle a civil lawsuit. Some of this money will be given to the players who had their accounts frozen April 15, 2011, also known as, “Black Friday.” The settlement insinuates online poker is coming back to the U.S.
What does this mean for poker? What had become an obsession of many and taken mainstream via television (ESPN, celebrity poker games, etc…) in recent years has dipped in popularity. Was this because of the online crackdown, or has the window closed? What we do know (based on reports) is that the online players did not get in their cars or catch a bus to the nearest casino. What were they doing? Watching re-runs of Growing Pains? Gulp…reading? Maybe they’ve just been patiently waiting. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why online poker wasn’t replaced and why this recent news will bring back poker to the mainstream.
$$ It’s Easy Money $$
This is true, sometimes. Anyone can buy into a game with $5 that gets him into a larger tournament that will get him into a tournament that guarantees a half million dollars for first place. This is the allure of online poker. YES, you too can amass a LARGE bankroll in just a couple days. New players do it all the time! This is true, BUT they also lose it, often faster. Online poker is just like casino poker, except MUCH faster and ALWAYS available. It’s what makes it great and horrible, all at the same time.
Cocaine is Good, but Online Poker is Better
For those with a gambling addiction, online poker is definitely the crack cocaine of offerings. SMALL entry, BIG payoff. Most successful players will shrug at the money, addicted to the game they will spend up to 16 hours a day playing. Remember the eighties crack houses recorded for the show 48 Hours? I have yet to hear the term “Poker Whore” used literally, but just in case…I am asking Dateline to have their cameras ready to go.
Anything in Underwear is Better
You can dress without judgment, drink as you wish, and say whatever you want; no one is there to tell you to shut the fuck up. NO Bachelor of Science is required, actually NO High School diploma for that matter. It is truly as a COME AS YOU ARE event, where POKER experience, not LIFE experience means everything.
Will Poker boom (again) or is it bust? Should online poker go mainstream I expect resurgence in a game that brings great pleasure as well as hardship. If you’ve played, then you know. There is no rush like going ALL IN; it’s like being Charlie Sheen, even if for just a moment.
David S. Grant is the author of “Blood: The New Red”, follow David on Twitter, @david_s_grant