For US poker enthusiasts, things are bound to change for the better on March 21. About 4yrs ago, the spirit of poker lovers in the US was dampened from what came to be known as Black Friday. The date was April 15, 2011 when many online poker players were shocked to find that they could not play on their favorite sites. Three of the major online poker sites were closed – PokerStars; Cereus Poker Network; and also Full Tilt Poker. Cereus Poker Network comprised Absolute Poker as well as Ultimate Bet.
A good number of online poker players instantly lost their source of livelihood. High stake poker players were particularly devastated by the high level of risk this move portended for their funds.
What Exactly Happened On Black Friday?
The three online poker sites cited above were closed without prior warning to regular online visitors, courtesy of the Department of Justice. It was alleged that the sites may have been facilitating criminal activity and baiting unsuspecting online poker players. What followed was a suit at the federal court, U.S. v. Scheinberg et al, and as the case dragged on, only PokerStars managed to pay its US poker players quickly and in total.
The other two poker sites did not hasten to pay up, but word has it that Full Tilt Poker finally paid up a good number of their players. However, poker players on Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were not as lucky. Apparently, their funds are still unpaid to-date. Incidentally, when it comes to funds deposited as well as unpaid earnings, such sites owe online poker players millions of dollars in their hundreds.
Light at the End of the Poker Tunnel
On March 21st, New Jersey will mark the comeback of PokerStars to the US market. It is the place where the world famous poker hosting site will open its first poker room in the country since the infamous Black Friday. According to ABC News, on re-entry into the local market, PokerStar’s activities are going to be well regulated.
The announcement of PokerStar’s comeback has caused a big stir within the poker fraternity as well as on the corridors of the US treasury. Poker fans and other concerned parties are curious to see what impact the poker hosting site is going to have, particularly in the state of New Jersey, where it is set to open its doors in just a couple of days.
Lingering questions include:
- What impact is the re-entry of PokerStars into the market going to have on the state’s overall revenue collection?
- Will the site be a free for all?
As per now, New Jersey earns around $2 million dollars from online poker every month on a consistent basis. So, very likely, the opening of the site on March 21st will have the impact of raising the revenue level for the state. Also considering that PokerStars is globally the most popular online poker operator, and that it has continued its operations in other parts of the world despite closing shop in the US for the last four years, it is likely that the operator will begin business in New Jersey on a high note.
As for who is going to have access to New Jersey’s new site, stringent measures have been taken to ensure that the volume of activity at the site is built by residents of New Jersey alone. This move will ensure that no money is lost to outsiders by residents of New Jersey. As it is now, PokerStars is relying on its two partners for funding support – Borgata and also bwin.party. These two partners hold 50% shares. The rest of the shareholding belongs to Caesar’s and 888, another online operator.