2013: Year in Review
With 2013 coming to a close, let's review some of the top stories in the poker world for the past year.
Online Poker is Back in the US...Sort Of
Online poker is officially legal and playable again in the United States. The catch is only about 1/30 of the population has access to it since it is only accessible for residents of Nevada and New Jersey right now.
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Online poker has a long way to go still in the United States. More states need to legalize it, and states need to agree to share player pools with each other so the games and tournaments are larger. I'm optimistic this will happen eventually, but it will take a few years.
Full Tilt Poker Begins Repayment of US Players...Sort Of
American players that were owed money by Full Tilt Poker were able to petition to receive their funds. The window is now closed to do this, so hopefully you entered your information if you owed money. It's still not clear yet when players will receive their funds, but it is expected to be completed by March 31, 2014.
All told, about 41,000 players submitted claims. Some players were upset since Full Tilt Poker points and other awards were not withdrawable as cash since the DOJ just viewed them as marketing gimmicks. Nevertheless, those with 5 and 6 figure balances that took the time to file a claim must be breathing a sigh of relief that they will get their money back soon!
Party Poker Continues to Slip, 888 Poker Rises, and PokerStars Continues to Dominate
In terms of which poker room liquidity, it has been pretty much the same old story. PokerStars is still the clear #1 poker room, and it is nearly 10 times the size of the nearest competitor. 888 Poker is now the #2 poker room, slightly ahead of the iPoker network.
It was expected that Full Tilt Poker would quickly reclaim the #2 spot, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's slightly behind 888 Poker/iPoker but is slight ahead of the once mighty Party Poker, which has fallen to fifth place. Ever since the Party/Bwin merger, the former #1 poker site has continued to slip and is trying to rebrand the site as catering to recreational players.
However, this may change with rise of online poker in the United States. So far, PokerStars has been shut out of the US since it accepted players after the UIGEA was passed, and Party Poker now operates the largest, legal site with US players through their cooperation with Borgata.
Cab Driver Returns $300k that Poker Player Left in Cab
A poker player that is trying to remain anonymous recently left $300,000 in a brown, paper bag after taking a cab trip from The Cosmopolitan to the Palms Place tower.
The cab driver noticed the bag and inspected it, assuming it was just chocolates or something minor. When seeing the massive sum of money, he brought it into the cab company's office and they notified the police. With the help of the Cosmopolitan, they were able to return the money to the player.
The grateful and likely incredibly embarrassed poker player left the cab driver $10,000 as a sign of appreciation for his honesty and hard work in getting the money returned.