Poker Tours, Poker TV, and Poker Legislation

While much of the world is watching the U.S. Department of Justice’s online poker debacle, plenty of newsworthy things are passing by on the periphery of the poker industry. Lest we forget, we are still in the midst of the live tournament season. TV poker also recently experienced a shake-up, and while federal poker legislation seems like a pretty unlikely prospect right now, several states are still moving toward their own intrastate online poker legislation.

While some industry analysts are predicting that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker’s new ban on American members will drive some players back to the live tables, there has been no surge in live entries that would suggest that silver lining. In fact, the World Team Poker Championship – originally slated to take place in Las Vegas from May 24-26 – has been postponed to give the tournament’s competitors time to straighten out their lives and careers after Black Friday. Even FTP’s new high roller series, the Onyx Cup, has cancelled its first two events.

It’s business as usual for the rest of the poker tours, though. The last stop on the France Poker Tour will be played out this weekend in Marseilles while the EPT, WPT and WSOP Circuit all have stops starting on April 27 of next week (in San Remo; Hollywood, FL; and Chester, PA respectively). Speaking of the WSOP, many are predicting that despite a lack of American satellites this year’s tournament numbers will hold strong as avid fans of the game come out in force to show their support.

In other news, poker fans that are hoping to get their action fix from their televisions will no doubt be disappointed to hear that American poker programing has also taken a hit from the recent DoJ crackdown. As we reported earlier, ESPN has dropped its coverage of NAPT events and now Fox Sports has axed both the Million Dollar Challenge and PokerStars’ Big Game. On the upside, ESPN is still committed to covering this year’s World Series of Poker and GSN has promised to continue recording and airing episodes of its popular High Stakes Poker series.

Finally, if you’re an American poker player that’s still deflated by your inability to play at FTP or PokerStars, then there’s still hope for your favorite hobby…assuming you’re prepared to move to pursue it. While some sources have claimed that American online pros like Tom Dwan are contemplating a move to Europe, if all goes well with bill AB 258 then the pros already living in Las Vegas may be online again by the end of the year. The proposal is still making its way through the Nevada legislature despite the recent controversy over Fertitta Interactive and Wynn Resorts dissolving their newly formed online partnerships.

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