On Friday night three leading poker sites were closed by the FBI after having their domain names frozen. PokerStars, Full Tilt and UltimateBet had their pokerstars.com, fulltiltpoker.com and ub.com homepages replaced with warning messages from the FBI stating that the poker sites had been seized under illegal gambling laws.
In a defiant move, PokerStars is still operating the pokerstars.net and pokerstars.eu but the traffic levels are very low due to the uncertainty surrounding the site. Full Tilt’s fulltiltpoker.net and fulltiltpoker.org are operating but these don’t offer real money games of poker.
So what happens to online poker now? Well this certainly won’t be the end of online poker in the rest of the world. There’s a massive poker following across the globe from Brazil to Russia and most places in between, and for these players the games are still available but the player numbers of online poker worldwide have just been radically slashed, meaning that prize pools will be down significantly but this certainly won’t kill off the game.
Party Poker, who were formally the biggest online poker site, must be watching these closures and rubbing their hands together. Not only are they likely to reclaim their crown from PokerStars but thanks to their previous dealings and eventual settlement with the US Government they have made themselves likely candidates for a deal if online poker ever does get the go ahead in the US. In fact, all online poker sites that don’t serve US players must be smiling right now as there’s going to be a few million non-US players looking for a new place to play right now!