When a company closes – the workers lose their income. However, in the case of the Big 3 US online poker companies which were closed by the FBI, it not only left employees jobless but also left US online poker players with no source of income.
Several workers of the three companies will be laid off and hundreds of players are now worried about their money with no word from Absolute Poker, while two companies have promised to return player funds.
North Las Vegan resident, Mike Ziethlow earned his income through internet poker at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker websites. After the FBI closed his US poker site, all his money is locked up, and he cannot even play live poker in Las Vegas since he has no money to do so. He has now taken up singing with his guitar outside casinos to earn some cash.
Several Americans are facing a similar situation. According to the Poker Players Alliance around 50000 poker players qualify as professionals at the game and thousands of other players also earn their income playing online poker. The three poker sites that were shut down represented around 70% of the US internet poker market and hence it leaves so many players without an income. The effect of this shutdown on the world’s online poker market has been a loss of 22% decrease. The shutdown has caused a grave economic damage cycle. And since the job market in Las Vegas is at an all time low, these players will never find jobs that pay well enough.
Barbara Decker is another player who spent a lot of time and effort to learn to play internet poker intelligently, and hence she says it is almost like a real job, and she works as hard as any other job at it. For any given hand poker may be a game of chance but for a large sampling of hands it is a game of skill she says.
Barbara’s son Evan Decker and his family have a worse story to tell. Evan paid for his college through poker earnings, and at the worst he made around $50000 per year, and now his five digit bankroll is frozen.
As a decision is still awaited on the part of Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker from the Cereus Poker Network, the Deckers haven’t received any money or even a word from these companies, whereas since PokerStars made an agreement with the US government Mike Ziethlow has received some of his money and the rest is apparently being processed. Such is the financial state of online poker players in the United States and they say it does not look like it will get any better for at least two years.