Sunday, 17 April 2011

Black Friday

Just a couple of disjointed thoughts on this. The more that the implications of this sink in, the harder it is to believe it. This post came out a little pessimistic so save it for a rainy day if you're enjoying a day off.

No news is frustrating. What can we really expect in terms of information at this point? Nothing is really going to make a difference at this point with respect to Americans being able to play online. So I guess the question that needs to be answered is what's happening with the money. I don't know which is worse: not knowing what's happening with your money or the prospect of not playing for an indefinite period of time.

We apparently have Mr. Tzvetkoff and the sites themselves to blame for this entire situation in a payback for payback kind of way. In retrospect I suppose we have ourselves to blame for silently accepting this arrangement instead of clamouring for an above board deal.

I haven't done a thorough search of the internet but the complete lack of sponsored online pro statements is somewhat conspicuous. Most of the sites have been really good about letting players speak their minds, but I guess when it gets down to real business and political / legal fights it's better just to keep your mouth shut if you're a 'representative' of a company in the loosest sense of the word. EDIT: Somewhat confirmed by DN on his twitter page: "Not ignoring #BlackFriday and as much as I'd love to discuss it, I've been advised not to for now. As soon as I can, I'll add my two cents."

Mpethy has written up a good summary of the charges.

Seeing new HHs irrationally gives me that feeling you get when you're embarassed for someone who doesn't realize what's going on. I just kind of feels like, "Seriously? You want to know whether Baluga Theorem applies to the hand when Mr. Seidman can't even play poker in his own damn house?" Everything seems to be of secondary importance at this point.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens with all the poker TV shows out there now. How many networks are going to want to air shows sponsored and produced by alleged criminal corporations who's founders are either on trial for fraud -- that's a great word for instilling confidence in future customers and investors whether convicted or not -- or fighting extradition. CNN Money brought to you by the honest folks at Arthur Anderson.

And will they want to even put patched up players for said corporations on display for non-sponsored broadcast events like the WSOP now that every aquaintance and family member of every semi-pro in America is going to be running around saying "I told you it was illegal!" I can very much see ESPN mandating 'no patches allowed' this summer. I suppose that would depend on whether they're even going to try to restore online's image in the US and if not then they might ad well patch up for the benefit of the Euro and Canadian broadcasts.

Not that it really matters as the WSOP and a ton of other events like the Stars sponsored tours (NAPT etc) and PCA are going to take a huge hit in the turnout department without all those luckboxing mega satellite entries out of the US.

This has unbelievably huge negative ramifications even if you are still allowed to play. Marketing has probably got to cool it with the outright promotion while they go into damage control mode. I assume guaranteed tourneys are going to be chopped up into itty bitty pieces. The only thing that will probably be up in the air is the loyalty programs -- I don't know if they'll all cut back due to decreased revenue, or if they'll fight over the rest of us even harder. Mpethy did make a good point about profit margins being higher though now that they are rid of the processor fees so there might be more cash per player to go around.

Will also be interested to see the effect on training sites and how poker theory progresses without a huge portion of the contributors. This might be a good opportunity to get back ahead of the curve.

It's tough to be optimistic at this point and I think a lot of us, and especially Americans are going to need to see a glimmer of hope before pessimism isn't purely realistic speculation.

EDIT: Stars has gone ahead and adjusted (in some cases slashed) the values on their guaranteed tourneys to reflect their new target demographic in Europe.
Sunday Kickoff $50k (iirc) --> $75k for European friendly start time
Sunday Storm $250k --> $300k in the last couple weeks --> $200k
Sunday Warm Up $750k --> $500k
Sunday Million $1.5M --> $1M

Image of the day: Significant blog graph.
Spike on April 15th. Rest of the graph is a fairly representative 75-90 visitors per day and I've never had more than 120 before.

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