Caesars Interactive Entertainment has recently announced that WSOP.com is due to launch their real money poker room in Nevada on September 19, 2013. This will make WSOP Poker the second operating online poker room in the state of Nevada, since Ultimate Poker had dealt the first licensed and regulated poker hand on April 30 of this year.
The flagship of the new poker room will be the WSOP Online Championships, an online poker festival which consists of 9 major tournaments, with 500,000 Dollars being added to the prizepool and winners of all 9 tournaments gathering for a live event called the “Online Nine”, which is set to be held side-by-side with the final table of the live WSOP main event (The “November Nine”). Another popular feature will be satellite tournaments linked to various live WSOP events.
Although there are a few signs of some incipient poker life, it will take many more years for poker industry to regain the pride of place it had on the US market prior to the so-called “Black Friday”. This cataclysmic event saw the US Department of Justice (DOJ) shut down all the major poker rooms, at the same time freezing the money in poker room bank accounts and bringing in some of the board members for questioning.
Full Tilt Poker took the hardest hit, as they had been unable to pay off their debts toÂ players and the state, with allegations of fraud and irresponsible behavior consequently being made. PokerStars was able to avoid a similar devastation by reopening in short order for customers of the regulated markets and providing compensation for US players.
Full Tilt never actually recovered from this scandal, and after several failed purchase attempts by various investment funds and groups, PokerStars purchased what was left of the company and reopened the once-legendary poker room to players in most regulated markets.
“Black Friday” was particularly uncomfortable for the major companies, but the main party to suffer was undoubtedly the players. Their money got stuck in their poker accounts and they could no longer earn a living as professional online players. Imagine a situation where one day you have $100,000 in your poker account, but the next morning all your assets have been frozen, your livelihood together with your bankroll has been taken away and worst of all, you are forced to move to a foreign country in order to start all over again from scratch.
These first steps by WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker are certainly a sign that the poker climate is once again warming up in the US, but an awful lot still needs to be done in order to restore the level of popularity that online poker once enjoyed in the USA. For now it is solely the state of Nevada that has been working on licensing and regulating the poker rooms, but hopefully more states will soon follow suit, if you’ll pardon the pun, and eventually US players will be able to play together as a part of the international player pool.