3:52 EST Friday
Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Cereus have just been charged with a litany of offenses regarding fraud and money laundering. Web sites apparently seized. So far only UB's website shows the FBI warning for me although there are many Americans stating all four show this message. American players are reporting widespread notices when attempting to sit at cash tables on Stars that US government regulation is preventing them from allowing Americans to play.
Prosecutors also filed civil money laundering charges seeking to recover at least $3 billion from the companies, which are all based overseas, court documents said.
Two of the men were arrested on Friday, one is expected to turn himself in to law enforcement and eight others are not currently in the United States, prosecutors said.
Raymond Bitar, 39, of Full Tilt Poker and Isai Scheinberg, 64, of PokerStars were charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and other laws. Absolute Poker owners Brent Beckley, 31, and Scott Tom, 31, faced similar charges.
This could actually be the end for our American friends. It might be a while because 2+2 servers appear to be completely overwhelmed and I can't navigate there with any consistency but I will update later as more information becomes available.
As far as I've seen there has been no official statement from the PPA as of yet.
Just managed to get back on to the 2+2 forum homepage.
"Most users ever online: 13,237, Today at 4:31 PM."
That's as far as I got. This is huge.
Managed to get back into the Leg forum shortly with no new updates.
Made a quick perusal of the 50NL FR Stars lobby. 3 Americans, each 1 tabling. I assume this is the remnant that were still playing those tables when the shit hit the fan and hadn't sat out and closed those tables yet.
15,471 on 2+2
Took a couple of screenshots off of Pokerscout traffic counter. The first is around 3:50 PM EST. The 2nd was at 5:20 PM EST.
7:30 PM EST
Played a session on Stars over the last couple of hours . American-free and the lowest number of people I've ever seen during peak Friday time. I can only imagine the feeling of dread American grinders must be going through right now knowing that this is most likely the much anticipated doomsday.
First Impression of the New American-Free Cash Games
Of course this is really preliminary and I have no idea what traffic will do once Americans are gone for a couple weeks, but it looks like us foreigners will be ok. There's a noticeable volume drop, but games were extremely good. I got crushed by a wave of ATC 2 pairs of course, but we're generally left with legitimate Euro fish and Asian half stacks. Considering that (luckily) the games are now 40bb, the current state of the game if it remains as is is tenable for those of us still able to play. If they weren't 40bb, poker would be dead at least on Stars -- read: overrun by 20bb Euro / Asian players filling 95% of the lobby with 20-50.
I think this goes to show just how many American multi-tabling TAG Supernova semi-pro seats were being taken up compared to how few American recreational seats there were. It's a sad day when the games actually appear better with Americans gone and captain hindsight can see how untenable the status quo was with the difficulties of getting money online for people that want to gamble it up and the appearance of questionable legality. It really demonstrates the need for meaningful regulation to kickstart another mini-boom in the US.
Perhaps this is the final shove needed to force US lawmakers to finally write up real regulation legislation if for nothing else than to prevent this from both going further underground and to stop the courts from filling in huge voids with their own opinions now that this fight is front and centre.