What do you say in response to news that threatens to put friends out of work and throws the industry you love into a bit of chaos?*
Well, you stay honest and say the first things that springs to mind. Even if it ruffles some feathers you don’t want to ruffle.
So here goes.
“About fucking time.”
The memories of doing the usual rounds of forum duties for PokerRoom.com back in October of 2006 when the UIGEA hit out of the blue are still fresh. Even fresher are the soul-tearing memories of reading the decision that PokerRoom.com was to be pulled from the US market. There we stood with a $5,000,000 tournament around the corner and fuck all who could play in it. There we stood with a site we lived and died for. For all its flaws and all its beauty. It now waddles in the dark corners of the internet harassing bypassers with stories of the good old days. Looking old. Smelling funny. Decaying like a rotten corpse.
So when news reaches me that those who decided to stay; those who by doing so prevented the proper pressure to be applied to force regulation sooner; those who made life for those of us who decided to stay away, more difficult even on our own turf, have been shut down, I save my tears.
You played aggressively and had a tremendous run. Enjoy the bust. I am far from convinced that you will not rebuy though.
I save my tears for the loyal, hard-working people who keep the US poker scene interesting by talking about it, writing about it and have opinions on it – but don’t have a pile of money they can hide behind now. Who, at least in the short-term, might see their jobs dwindle, and who might already be hit by having money stuck on any of those sites. You have my sympathies and my hopes that I am right in being quite convinced that this development is positive for you in the mid to long term perspective.
The US market did not just die. It rebooted. CTRL. ALT. DELETE. And it will reboot much faster now. The void left by this raid is too juicy for the government not to want to taste. Tomorrow. Hopefully some of the ridiculous lobbying is now silenced and things can proceed in the quickest possible manner. Dear PPA, shut the hell up.
What sooner rather than later will be installed instead, is exactly the same market in a new form. A better form – unless you own one of those indicted companies. Although, again, I am not convinced that a fat cheque similar to the one Partygaming offered wouldn’t enable them to register late.
A form where the companies serving the market will no longer be limited by restricted transaction and payment services. Where acquisition marketing no longer will have to drop players off at bogus .net addresses.
The interesting players didn’t die. The bad players didn’t just move to Europe.
It is all there when the lights go back on. If the companies buying the ads in your magazines, recruiting you for your expertise or investing top dollar in events foryou to cover are called Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker or PartyPoker and WynnPoker doesn’t matter. For you.
On the upside…
You will probably have more and hungrier clients desperate to edge each other out in a too close to call market.
You will probably have more attractive job opportunities available on US soil.
You will be working with companies that have closer ties between online and offline operations creating all sorts of interesting opportunities.
You might be able to get some sleep during the WSOP this year.
You will be covering final tables with contenders representing more than two sponsors.
Some of the industry’s cancerous business practices o may be killed off leaving room for good, honest and smart people to elevate poker journalism and poker coverage to new heights.
The sky may be falling on you today, but sixth months from now the sun will be shining brighter than ever before. Perhaps not if you’re a Full Tilt Red Pro. But definitely if you have an interest in working with the US and international poker scene.
Maybe PokerRoom.com will be hiring…
*A bit. It’s business as usual in Europe and the rest of the world after all.