Online Poker Sites Shut Down

On Friday, April 15, poker history was made, but not in a good way. Players trying to log on to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UB.com were frustrated to find that no connection could be made. That frustration turned to shock and panic upon visiting the sites themselves and finding that they had been seized pending illegal gambling and money laundering charges. Moments later the FBI in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (aka Manhattan), released a statement to the national press in which they announced an indictment against 11 defendants including the founders of the above mentioned sites. All told, the Department of Justice is trying to confiscate as much as $3 billion from these parties and properties.


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In the days that have followed, we’ve learned the full details of the online poker bust, and they’re not promising for anyone that loves the game and especially not for real-money players in the United States. While all four of the involved poker sites have vowed to allow continued access to their American members, none are allowing them to make financial transactions and none are accepting new U.S. memberships. The repercussions of this case have already rippled through the poker community, leaving many to wonder if the game will ever be the same again.

Believe it or not, there really is always a silver lining. In the case of this massive crackdown, that silver lining might be a little more tarnished, but it’s there all the same. Both money and political support have been flooding in from foreign sources in an unprecedented effort to protect the American poker market. In an email to their members, the PPA even called the case “a declaration of war” and encouraged poker fans to fight back

Also, while these new developments are a clear setback in efforts to legalize online poker in America, it’s important to remember that this case is being spearheaded not by the federal government but by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. There is still hope for online poker legislation to be passed on both the state and federal levels, and some feel that this case will actually push on-the-fence politicians to step forward and take a stand to protect their pro-poker constituents.

Finally, while no one wants to lose exceptional sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt, or the CEREUS Network poker rooms, their brief ban on real-money American players could give several other excellent but often overlooked poker sites a chance to shine. In other words, there are some excellent poker rooms that are accepting real-money U.S. players. If you are an American poker player that’s feeling lost without your FTP, PokerStars or CEREUS fix, here are some other respectable poker rooms that are still offering you cash action.

Sportsbook.com recently revamped their poker offerings with their new Play Aces poker room. Play Aces offers a first deposit match that’s comparable to its much larger competition, a generous VIP program and ample ring game and tournament options. As an added bonus, poker players that are looking to branch out can simultaneously learn the ropes of other popular card games like blackjack at Sportsbook’s casino or can expand their mastery of the odds to include sports betting.

PlayersOnly has been gaining ground in the poker industry for years, making them an obvious choice for American players looking for an alternative to the Big 3. They not only claim to have “The World’s Best Poker Bonus,” but also offer the exceptional software and modern player features that FTP and PokerStars members have come to expect from their poker rooms.

Last but not least, the sleek and relatively new Lock Poker site is also accepting American real-money players. Their traffic is still far from PokerStars’ astronomical numbers, but they’re one of only a handful of poker sites of this caliber that offer regular action not only at the NLHE tables but at Omaha, Razz, Stud and mixed game tables and tournaments too.

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