The Twitterverse exploded this afternoon following the announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice had indicted the ownership behind such American-friendly online poker as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB.com, and Absolute Poker. The DoJ has issued arrest warrants against 11 owners of these sites for several transgressions, including money laundering, bank fraud, and violations of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
“Ummmm this can’t be good… GG online poker,” asserted Christian “charder30” Harder over his Twitter feed.
Poker super agent Brian Balsbaugh commented over Twitter, “Words I’m hearing: ‘Interpol,’ ‘Seizure,’ and ‘Disenfranchise.’” Poker’s Godfather, Doyle Brunson, observed, “The DOJ must not have anything much to do. They just indicted 11 people from Full Tilt, UB, and PokerStars.”
The World Poker Tour’s “Raw Deal” host Tony “Bond_18” Dunst stated, “Seems s**t is hitting the fan in the U.S., be interesting to see how this pans out.”
Following the release of the indictment against the four major U.S.-facing sites, players began to notice that they were being blocked from access to PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker, and UB.com. “PokerStars already blocking U.S. customers from real money games,” Jonathan “FatalError” Aguiar Tweeted on Friday afternoon. “The Mayans were only 18 months off predicting the end of the world, pretty impressive.”
Jeff “yellowsub86” Williams attempted to log in and play at PokerStars after the announcement of the DoJ action. Once he was unsuccessful in getting into a game, he Tweeted, “Can’t play MTTs/cash games or transfer funds on PokerStars anymore, will the other sites follow suit?”
“Every few months, people think the sky is falling in online poker,” Tweeted European Poker Tour champion Mike “Timex” McDonald. “For the first time ever, I’m one of them.” DonkDown Radio’s Bryan “The Icon” Micon seemed to sum up a majority of thoughts: “Holy s**t. In the back of my mind I always knew I might wake up to a s**tstorm like this.”
What may be particularly shocking about this afternoon’s actions is a somewhat cavalier attitude from many of the players who have been a part of the online poker community. Team UB’s Adam “Roothlus” Levy Tweeted, “I know I’m supposed to be mad about all this online poker hubbub, but I’m at Coachella bitches!”
The 2011 weekend of concerts in the desert of California seemed to be a popular destination, as Phillip “USCphildo” Collins (“Looks like online poker is going down. Glad I’m as far away from it as possible…on a bus heading to Coachella 2011”) and Peter Jetten (“Whoa crazy DoJ raid, no idea what is really happening just going to sort it out later and party at Coachella”) Tweeted their thoughts on Friday’s actions.
The actions by the U.S. government have left many in the poker community considering their options. Matt “All In At 420” Stout commented over Facebook, “Everyone else is freaking about online poker being shut down in the U.S….I’m just trying 2 decide between Vancouver and Amsterdam!” Aguiar had similar thoughts: “Move to Canada or become live poker grinder? That is the question.” Absolute Poker’s Trishelle Cannatella echoed, “Costa Rica is looking real nice right now.”
Two other pros took the DoJ announcement as a signal to head to the live poker arena. “Looks like it’s time to lace up those live poker shoes,” Victory Poker pro Jonathan “FieryJustice” Little Tweeted late Friday afternoon.
Jean-Robert Bellande issued a Tweet for those who are shut out of the online action: “Attn onliners! Perhaps its time to give live poker a try. Come play with me @ARIAPoker and ask about casino rate. I need to build my roll!”
On a final note, noted World Poker Tour live reporter B.J. Nemeth summed up the government’s actions on Friday by Tweeting, “For the record, today’s poker news has nothing to do with recent poker industry news or deals. This has been a long time coming.”