Black Friday, 3 weeks later: Where are the players?
Besides today’s breaking news that authorities have raided PokerStars.com’s Costa Rica offices, here’s what else is happening in the online poker world in the wake of the April 15 FBI shutdown.
First, the ridiculous …
The most hair-raising of all the surprises over the past few weeks isn’t the online poker shutdown, or the death of Osama bin Laden, but recent attempts to fit the two stories together.
“The theory is that the U.S. crackdown on April 15 against online poker was actually a CIA move to get the online poker records for Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the Atlantic City Weekly blogs. “Seems one of those trusted couriers of bin Laden’s was a poker nut. Just days after getting the info on the courier the U.S. moved.”
Where are the players?
So, with the biggest online poker rooms shut down, where are poker players going? Poker networks still accepting U.S. players, like the Merge network, are reporting increases, of course, but that’s not all. Reports also show that players are flocking to land-based poker rooms in the wake of the online shutdown.
“Demand for live poker at Bay Area cardrooms has skyrocketed in recent weeks – likely because of the federal government’s crackdown on the three biggest online poker sites,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle (which includes an amusing advice on how to figure out if you’re playing against an Internet player).
Reports out of Boston show the same rush for land-based poker. And the “biggest little card room in California”, the only poker room between San Francisco and Los Angeles, recently announced it was moving into a bigger building to accommodate the sudden rush of new players — presumably online players shut out of their favorite sites, reports the Ventura County Reporter.
More importantly, poker players are also using social media to figure out where to meet, explains PokerNewsDaily’s Dan Cypra.
“If you think about it, social networking makes perfect sense when communicating with poker players who make their living online,” Cypra writes in Internet Evolution. “Employing social media is incredibly effective in our industry.”
The affiliate angle
Of those two trends — social media and land-based gaming — of course poker affiliates will want to embrace the first.
Seize this moment to boost your social media presence and communicate with your friends. Ask them where they’re playing poker now. Let them know that some top-tier online poker rooms still do accept U.S. players. And help turn this forced shift away from the world’s three biggest poker sites into a positive development for the rest of the online poker industry.