Random Thoughts: We're Still Here Edition
The world was supposed to end recently. It didn't. Let's take stock of some things going on around the poker world in this funky, new, post-non-apocalypse era in this edition of Random Thoughts where each paragraph has little to do with the one before it and preceding it:
Legal online poker in New Jersey might be here soon. All that is left for this reality to come to fruition is for Governor Chris Christie to sign into law a bill which was overwhelmingly passed by the state assembly (33-3 vote) and state Senate (48-25 vote). We've been here before. Last year, Christie vetoed a similar bill. Optimists believe this version of the bill has clarified or corrected the issues that led to Christie's veto a year ago. Between that and Harry Reid's federal bill being dead, there may be nothing stopping the possible 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful from green-lighting legal online poker in New Jersey this time around.
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In our poker world predictions for 2012 article, we wagered that 888 Poker would overtake Party Poker in terms of real-money player base this year. According to PokerScout.com, we are wrong. 888 Poker remains just about two-thirds the size of Party Poker indicating that 888's impressive growth following Black Friday has stabilized somewhat relative to the rest of the online poker industry.
Last week, Full Tilt Poker announced they are giving players free $20 to use in cash games if they sync their account with their PokerStars account. PokerStars has used this pairing process as a method for reimbursing Full Tilt's non-U.S. customers the money they were owed following Black Friday. The feature also allows players to transfer funds seamlessly between their accounts at each site.
Caesars Entertainment, owners and operators of the WSOP, received an online poker license from the state of Nevada last week. The company became the twelve entity to receive approval to operate an online poker site from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Through their partnership with 888 Poker, Caesars is expected to begin hosting real-money online poker games to players within Nevada's borders in early 2013.
Online poker in Nevada has taken much longer to become a reality than estimates have suggested along the way. This time last year, it appeared real-money online poker could be available in Nevada in time for the 2012 WSOP. South Point Casino, one of the licensed Nevada online poker operators, at one time promised their games would launch in 2012. As the year is set to expire, there remains no legal, real-money online poker action in the U.S. Here's hoping that Nevada gives us something worth checking out in 2013!
2012 has been a pretty good year for bad poker ideas. Recently, we've had a doctor marketing botox for poker players looking to improve their stoic poker face. A Johnny Chan reality TV show that we're still not convinced isn't a highly-complicated troll job. Finally, there's the Bold Poker app, a $1.99 app which when synched with hundreds of dollars in electronic devices can replace your $0.99 deck of cards. We're excited to see what unthinkably bad poker ideas could be in store for 2013. Maybe someone will take another chance at creating a poker-themed energy drink!
Finally, as further evidence of the observation that "the law only applies to those who do not have the means to circumvent it", Howard Lederer settled with the U.S. government this week. In the settlement, Lederer admitted no wrongdoing and was able to assert that Full Tilt Poker was a legitimate business providing services within the bounds of the law. He surrendered an unspecified sum after having been originally sought for $42.5 million in civil liabilities. That Lederer got off so light shouldn't come as a huge surprise in a country where white collar criminals routinely receive slap-on-the-wrist penalties for their multi-million dollar transgressions. What is alarming here, however, is that Full Tilt's former U.S. customers will welcome in another new year knowing the man chiefly responsible for that company's collapse is in the free and clear while they remain without answers from the U.S. government as to when and how they can make a claim on the money they are owed.