Online poker market analysts had predicted that the events of Black Friday will demolish the World Series of Poker (WSOP) attendance by 60 percent, but nothing of that sort happened. Although the absence of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars was noticeable, the number of players fighting for jackpot at the WSOP Main Event was quite high. However, poker analyst Behr predicts that WSOP attendance will drop in 2012 if the state of affairs in the US online poker industry continues.
The US poker players who have lost their online poker space after the fall of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker are still unsure of getting back their poker funds. Although PokerStars cooperated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and returned millions of dollars to its US players, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker are yet to make a refund. To make matters worse, Full Tilt Poker lost both its licenses pending investigation late this June. All this considerably dampened players’ spirits during this WSOP.
Two-thirds of the players who participated in the WSOP this year were American, which points to the fact that US players have now developed an appetite for offline poker after online poker was denied to them. However, live poker is hardly an ideal substitute for online poker. It is expensive, and it does not allow players to do any multi tabling. Besides, human dealers are slower than computer gaming software. There is no way live poker can take the place of online poker because players will still have to pay for flights and accommodation if they want to play poker at land casinos while online poker can be enjoyed in the comforts of home.
Behr predicts that this sudden interest in land-based poker cannot last and that the online gaming industry in the US will fall if online poker is continuously denied to players and if the US government fails to regulate the online poker industry. He predicts that “the steep drop everyone feared this year will become a reality in 2012.”
In the meanwhile, PokerStars continues offering poker services to non US poker players; what’s more, many European players are happy about the absence of US players from the tables at online poker sites. An online poker player in Britain remarked that the games are softer, and with the US sharks gone, the tournaments are full of fish. Simultaneously, he admitted that the global poker economy will take a beating.