Full Tilt Poker Shuts Down: Opinion and Thoughts On the Future of Poker


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Several people out there are dying to know — what’s happening with online poker?

Poker FutureTo recap thus far:

April 15th, 2011: Black Friday — Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker are hit with several indictments on counts of money laundering, illegal gambling, and bank fraud. The U.S. District Attorney’s office, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, seized the domain names of all three sites.

April 21st, 2011: Despite domain names being returned to help facilitate the re-issuance of player funds, Full Tilt Poker remains as one of the remaining online poker destinations that has not returned money to U.S. players.

In the meantime, PokerStars returns funds back to their U.S. players, while Absolute Bet has yet to repay its consumers.

June 1st, 2011: Former Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey files a lawsuit in Nevada Clark County District Court against Tiltware LLC, the company which operates Full Tilt Poker. In response to their inability to pay back U.S. players, Ivey’s suit seeked damages in excess of $150 million, which is the suggested sum of what Full Tilt owes its former players.

In light of the lawsuit, Ivey also boycotts the 2011 World Series of Poker, stating that because of the lack of initiative from Full Tilt Poker to pay back its clientele, they’re preventing many players from taking part in the WSOP. In turn, he also would remain absent, in consideration of their misfortune.

June 29, 2011: The Alderney Gambling Control Commission board shuts down the operating license for Full Tilt Poker. This removes all of the international domains and web sites that Full Tilt Poker was controlling.

This also prohibits ANY player from taking part on Full Tilt Poker, including international players, or those who were interested in recreational play.

July 1st, 2011: Full Tilt Poker is set to be bought by a group of European investors, which becomes the biggest factor in a negotiation that could allow the online gaming conglomerate to pay back millions to its players.

With the attempt by Full Tilt Poker to settle their lawsuit, Phil Ivey also announced that he would be withdrawing his claim, due to the appropriate steps being taken to release player funds.

To say the least, there’s a lot of commotion currently surrounding Full Tilt Poker. They’re involved in legal mitigation, selling stake majorities, and also dealing with player repercussions and financial downswings. In summary, they’re finally experiencing the lives of professional poker players.

It’s a shame that the giants of the online poker world get to perceive that reality, in detriment to the online poker community.

Those who play poker for their residual income don’t have the benefit of only having a few hundred dollars tied up in an online poker site. The smart, intelligent and business savvy veterans usually have a large portion of their equity held in limbo, through staking, financial portfolios or online profits. Because players are aware of these restrictions, in order to remain successful, they need to be ready and able to seize any profitable opportunity necessary.

While I’m mainly referring to the necessity of playing weak opposition, being able to sense good chances to make money can also happen outside the realm of the poker table.

Black Friday is easily one of the biggest catastrophes to ever happen to virtual poker play. (Aside from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, which most players are only now feeling the repercussions from.) But even so, I think it’s important to understand that these unfortunate events are also a great opportunity for players to explore other avenues of financial prosperity. What it seems that most of biggest pessimists lack, is not a dedicated poker bankroll, but instead, a viable backup plan.

Was it absurd to consider that something like this might eventually happen?

I should make it well known, that just as many of you, I have a significant amount of money tied up with Full Tilt Poker. However, I should also mention that before online poker gained traction, I was a frequent participator in live cash games, where I originally established my poker bankroll. Having this experience has allowed me to spend most of my time revisiting an environment where I’ve encountered most of my success, and I’m blessed to be able to suffice with what’s been laid in front of me.

For many players though, this isn’t possible. Card rooms are few and far between, they may not possess the credit or financial security to restore their poker schedules, or the games that are available are just too difficult. So what do you do?

If you had something in place to protect you during this brief hiatus in online poker, you’ll likely be one of the few who can still live their life comfortably in its wake. To quote a notable NBA player; “Tomorrow, they’ll have to wake up and have the same life (they had) before they woke up today.”

But for those who don’t have that luxury, they’ll need to consider alternative options in the world of poker. One of the most rewarding ventures that I’ve recently undertaken, has been teaching prospective players on ways to improve their poker aptitude. If you’re particularly well-versed, why not take the time to use your extensive knowledge of the game to assist others? If you’re really good (insert an absent plug here), you may even be afforded the option of charging rates that are substantially larger than anything you can attract on the job market. With another reported recession on the horizon, it might not be a bad idea to utilize a career in the educational field.

Keeping in mind education, players who have earned their college degrees will also now have plenty of time to seek out rewarding career paths. I’ve held and overheard many conversations at the poker table about players who have always desired to complete their college degrees, or resume where they left off in terms of pursuing their dream job. There will be very few opportunities better than this to do so, so take some time out for yourself and renew your interest in that original vocation.

If you would prefer to stay in the world of poker, why not take the chance of starting your own online site. Becoming one of the most popular ways to share opinions and poker information, if you have a collection of friends or ideas that are worth sharing, it could be immensely profitable. Creating a blog, an online training site, or even a promotional web page could ensure that you have a voice in the world of poker, and in turn, set up other financial opportunities for your future. If you want people to admire your poker talent, they’re first going to have to know who you are!

If you can still actually play poker, you’ll probably have to make the transition from online play to live play in the near future. Live play has always been dramatically different in comparison to their equivalent stakes, so those who are very successful online will typically have easier transitions to the live arena. Even if you’re struggling, players should use the extra down time to expend all of the available resources to improve their talent. Going without poker can be detrimental to your game, so it’s always wise to stay fresh by analyzing hands with others, or reading about poker to keep things current. The last time I checked, Twoplustwo.com wasn’t seized by the FBI, and still remains as one of the best forums for analyzing poker hands and discussing the latest occurrences.

We all hope that online poker gets reinstated as soon as possible. But until then, use your time wisely. Quoting Einstein, “try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.” This will not only help your poker game’s ascendancy, but your own personal growth as well.

Keep moving forward and good luck!

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