How The American Crackdown On Online Poker Could Change The Game Forever

If you’re an American poker player that now cannot access your funds at any of the suspended sites (PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and, then it may be hard to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Unfortunately, even if you can that picture is pretty grim. With so much hanging in the balance in this – the largest online poker bust in history – the whole industry is asking the same question: Where will online poker go from here?

While many of us wait for an answer to that question, others are still fighting to protect online poker as we know it. The first of the poker operators to be charged has pleaded not guilty, and thus far all three of the poker brands have issued press releases echoing that stance. As anyone that knows the organization no doubt predicted, the Poker Players Alliance has gone after the Department of Justice in a big way, already orchestrating a number of statements by everyone from the poker pros that are directly affected to pro-poker politicians.

Having said that, there’s no denying that the industry has already been hard hit, and it’s only been days since the sites were suspended. While all four of the sites involved have expressed a desire to continue to let their American members play in their fun-only sections, real-money activities have been suspended across the board and U.S. players have no way of withdrawing what funds still remain in their real-money accounts.

The immediate online effects of the crackdown have already sent ripples into the rest of the poker world, too. PokerStars’ and Full Tilt Poker’s newly penned alliances with Nevada’s big brick and mortar gambling brands have already been dissolved. As predicted, ESPN has now officially cut coverage of all online poker sponsored live tournaments. And of course all of the funds transfer services are scrambling to cut ties with any of the online entities associated with this case.

While none of the online poker sites involved in this bust have cut ties with their online pros yet, it’s hard to see how PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB can keep their American stable of pros while excluding other U.S. members from playing their real-money tables. In other words, this could very well be the end of Tom Dwan’s popular durrrr Challenge. In the live sector it could spell the end of more than one tour that relies on both online sponsorship and satellites and could retroactively hurt major tournaments like the WSOP as much as online poker once helped them.

American poker players aren’t going down without a fight, though. Stay tuned for more updates on what the pros on saying, on what the PPA is planning, and on how U.S. players can remain active in online real-money action.

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