Over the past 20 months or so, the news flow for online poker has been almost completely negative. If it's not the government interfering with our game, it's some of the best and brightest poker players in the game doing immeasurable damage to the game that we all love.
The first bad news for the industry was the entire "JJProdigy" situation, which really brought the entire issue of multi-accounting to the forefront. Then, right after the "JJProdigy" revelation, Justin "Zeejustin" Bonomo was busted for the exact same thing. Two of the brightest minds in online poker, both being busted for multi-accounting.
Second it was the UIGEA being snuck into the SAFE Port act, which resulted in some of our favorite online poker rooms pulling out of the US market. For all of their faults, Party Poker and Paradise Poker were both great places to play.
Then we had the Neteller fiasco, which resulted in thousands of people having their funds frozen for months and months. The worst part of the Neteller situation was not knowing when there would be a resolution. There was so much false hope. There were so many delays. In the end, all of the funds were returned, but it was certainly a negative event for the industry. Not only that, but the most popular method of depositing and withdrawing to online poker sites was eliminated for people in the United States. Considering the US makes up the biggest slice of the online poker population, this was a huge problem.
Many e-wallet companies closed their doors to the US market as well. Again, a big problem because if Americans have a hard time getting money online, the entire industry suffers.
Then we had possibly the two worst WSOP champions in history in terms of promoting the game; Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang. Jamie Gold was possibly the most despised WSOP champion in history - so despised and unpopular that Bodog actually severed their ties with him. Then Jerry Yang won the WSOP, made some disparaging comments about online poker, and basically just disappeared. The online poker industry counts a great deal on the WSOP to generate interest in poker, and these two champions did nothing to help, IMO.
Then we had the major "bot" bust on Full Tilt Poker.
Then we got the one-two punch of Pokerstars disqualifying "TheV0id" for allegedly cheating in the WCOOP main event plus the entire Absolute Poker fiasco. First you get the embarrassment of the biggest online poker room announcing that the winner of their biggest tournament had been disqualified, but then you have the revelation that employees of Absolute Poker had been able to view hole cards and were using this to enrich themselves. Two incidents that further shook the entire foundation of the online poker industry.
Now we have the news that Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi, a major name in the poker world, has been banned from Full Tilt Poker for taking over an account late in a major tournament. Allegedly Mizzi took over the account of Chris "BluffMagCV" Vaughn and won the Full Tilt Million tournament about a month ago.
This news makes you have to ask the question: how much of this is going on undetected? How many people are being cheated on a daily basis?
These people are injuring the very industry that made them rich and somewhat famous in the first place. For all of their smarts on the poker table, they are idiots off of it, and are just looking to bank as much as they can, at whatever cost.
Mizzi has said that he will be making a statement to a major poker publication. I'm not sure what he is planning on saying, but let's hope that it's better than the "My Grandma was playing and I decided to take over when she was deep.."
So is there any hope for some positive news in the future?
Rumors continue to swirl that Party Poker is actively seeking a buyer. We can only hope that a buyer takes Party Poker private, delists from the LSE and they decide to return to the US market.
Also, I believe that momentum continues to grow when it comes to eventually regulating online poker in the United States. I would be surprised if online poker is not regulated in the next 2-3 years. This would obviously be a big positive for the industry.
There of course could be more negative news. More scandals, more people cheating.
One thing is for sure - the online poker industry is extremely resilient, and has taken a beating over the past year and a half and is still standing. Could we finally get some positive news though? I know that I wouldn't mind.
Filed Under: Miscellaneous King Articles