Ok, I’m sure no one here is shocked when I say I’m pissed off about Black Friday. I’m sure a lot of grinders are, to say nothing of the thousands of players who were earning a living playing the digital version of our beloved game. But that’s not even the biggest problem I have with what has transpired. The poker world is viewed as nothing but a bunch of degenerates that need to be protected from themselves. Even with ESPN coverage of the WSOP on national television, you will still see people posting just pure idiocy in the comments section of this year’s WSOP ME recap article. You’ll read things like, “The economy is awful and this kid got paid $9million to play cards? This is what’s wrong with this country.” If you think I’ve gone off the deep end, just take a look at some of the comments when Cada won it in 2009, people right away went for the “college dropout” angle rather than praise him for his achievement. This is part of a larger misconception of poker in the United States today. More importantly what the main stream sees and hears from us is two major scandals within the last decade during one of the worst times financially the world has ever seen.
I am personally a lot closer to what’s going on with Full Tilt now than what happened to UB years ago. I didn’t start playing on Ultimate Bet until 2010, and only because PocketFives gave me a sweet rakeback deal. Full Tilt on the other hand I was a champion of. I was convinced of Full Tilt’s superiority over Poker Stars. Obviously there is more money flying around on Stars given the sheer size of the site, but Full Tilt had won me over hands down. The tournament schedule was phenomenal, particularly in the $26-$75 range, every night. Mid stakes action wasn’t as solid over on Stars, and being primarily an MTT grinder for most of my hours logged on FTP, I felt like that was where I wanted to spend my time. Ironically enough, I had lost most of my money on FTP a few months before Black Friday and had moved about 80% of what was left over to Stars to grind the $4.40s. Turns out that was a sick read that I just fell right into.
What really bothers me now about all of this is that Full Tilt has set poker back in the public eye. Politically, I don’t think much has changed. Online poker is a billion dollar business and there is no way it will be gone from the US forever. There are too many people in this country, call them smart, call them greedy, but there are too many business men and women that would jump at the chance to get to the front of the line of this industry. You have a very high demand that could explode even more if poker were to be legitimized from a legality perspective. It’s a low overhead business when compared to brick and mortar establishments (or at least they should be). You have the flexibility of choosing any location with enough space to hold your servers. The world can be your oyster. And yet with all this upside, people are now going to focus on Ponzi Schemes and Super Users rather than give the players a chance to defend themselves in the court of public opinion.
Full Tilt representatives, I know you’ll probably never read this but I’m going to say it anyway, you haven’t just brought all this legal crap onto yourselves, you brought the banhammer down on your customers as well. There is no reason for any of this to have happened. I don’t blame you for online poker being stripped from the US market almost entirely, that’s not your issue to solve. I blame you for being caught with your pants down jerking off on the crapper and using your financial books to clean up your mess. That’s the part that sucks the worst. Every time I see another law suit come out against Full Tilt, I start hoping this will be the one that just kills the brand. At this point, let’s just cut the cancer out of our world. Let’s study it, learn from the mistakes that were made, and become better for them. This is an ugly blemish on the face of the industry, and it’s caused people to think we simply can’t control ourselves. We need a fresh start.