Online Poker’s Black Friday WON’T = End of the World

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You know what it feels like? The tables are turned, you’re starting every hand with the “Rockets”, hitting runner-runner flushes and binking miracle 2-outers on the river. That’s what early April was like for me, up until April 15th, a day better known as Online Poker’s Black Friday. I overheard the news that morning and suddenly panic and anger overtook me – and would last for the next few days.  It felt like a paradigm shift, my girlfriend was playing a SNG, then the next minute she informs me that it won’t let her register for another game as PokerStars stops her with a message, “…US Players can no longer play real money games.” More emotions kick in – confusion, disgust, and sadness. I couldn’t think straight, I was off-balance and later came to realize that I was on FULL. BLOWN. TILT.

But a week has passed by, the tilt has subsided, and you know what? I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the end of the world. And the poker community will soon realize that “Black Friday,” was indeed, +EV. Meaning that these indictments will show positive value in the long run. In the short run, it sucks. Of course, no doubt about that. I’ve read stories about people who supported their families from playing poker. Some of them, playing live isn’t an option, moving out of the country isn’t an option.  Most of them are now required to look for jobs, with little work experience and many without higher education. Without a shadow of a doubt, they’ve been put in the toughest spot, but still, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s why:

Online Poker is legal in 49 states, Washington is the only state to outlaw online poker – and to this date, WA has not prosecuted any player and is unlikely to do so. Arguably, the (counter-productive) primary reason for passing of that law was to save one of the states biggest revenue streams – B&M casinos. Former US Senator and Poker Players Alliance Chairman, Al D’Amato, writes an article for the Washington Post entitled, “Make Online Poker Legal? It Already Is.

There are sites aplenty that still welcome US players. You see, the thing about poker is, despite all the short term variability, destiny (K<> FTW?) has always been in your hands. Live isn’t an option? Who cares! Remember when PartyPoker fell? After the UIGEA passed in 2006, PartyPoker lost half of its customer base overnight (similar to today’s case with FTP/PS). That night sparked the rise of FTP/PS. What does that mean for us today? Well, I imagine that once most players calm down (and tilt subsides), they will begin to think more rationally and see that there are other sites for US players to play on.  So, if you are truly a good player, if you put in the time, you’re going to end up a winner.  Less fish? Likely. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to earn less. Wise business men always state that recessions are a time for opportunity (part of the reason why the rich get richer, but that’s a whole other article). During this poker recession, are you going to whine, b!*&h, and moan about your bad luck – or are you going to put in the time and re-invent yourself as a poker player?

Over 40 years ago, the best bridge player in the world said he couldn’t imagine anyone ever getting better than he was. 10 years later he said he couldn’t believe how horrible he was when he said that. In relation to Poker, why just keep pace with the poker community? This is the time to focus on developing your game. After 2006, a ton of high stakes players went busto, they couldn’t keep up with the game – can you?

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