Withdrawal Options Restored For Many American Poker Players
If you’re a U.S. poker player that’s been pacing the floor wondering if you’ll ever see your online bankroll again, then we’ve got good news for you. As of this morning, the Department of Justice has allowed both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to resume usage of their American domains in order to issue withdrawals to their now disenfranchised real money U.S. members. As of yet Absolute Poker and UB.com are still suspended, but many are hoping this move signals a blanket release of player funds.
When it was revealed that the Department of Justice (in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Manhattan) could be seeking upward of $3 billion in their recent fraud and money laundering case against PokerStars, Full Tilt and the CEREUS Network sites, many U.S. players worried that part of that money would be coming out of their accounts. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that player funds will get caught in the crossfire (assuming you withdraw them while you still can). The bad news is that if the courts decide in the DoJ’s favor it could spell a permanent end to online poker in America and potentially also to all three of the involved poker brands.
The agreement not only allows U.S. players to log on to withdraw their remaining balances, but it also allows PokerStars and Full Tilt to start using their primary domains for regular play again. The catch – as outlined in a very thorough five page agreement – is that both rooms agree to cease offering cash games to American players. While everyone from the lowliest of American amateurs to the most recognizable of the pros is no doubt glad to get their hands on their cash again, these last days wherein the withdrawals are taking place are some pretty sad ones for the players that have patronized both poker sites for the last several years.
Furthermore, the plea bargain that allows the poker sites to return their U.S. members’ funds while simultaneously banning them from future cash play raises one very important question: What about the sponsored pros? Team PokerStars and Team Full Tilt are both chock full of American pros, but now their agreement renders those sponsorships almost useless. There’s a silver lining for PokerStars, which can still amp up interest in their live tours using their U.S. representatives, but one of Full Tilt’s biggest marketing angles is its ability to offer amateurs seats beside their sponsored poker celebrities. Unless Tom Dwan wants to move to Europe, the days of the Durrrr Challeng are gone.