What a day last Friday was for the poker world! As you probably already know, the online poker realm was rocked when the FBI suddenly seized popular .com sites PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker in a crackdown of what they feel are "illegal gambling rings." Although there is no shortage of people who disagree with that assessment, the Department of Justice is nevertheless pursuing charges of fraud against the owners of the sites.
The poker world reacted the the news on Friday with a mix of shock, fear and snarkiness. Many poker pros lamented the move as bad for the game of poker while others took the opportunity to rib online players for never anteing up at a real table. As the Twitterverse filled up with chatter, a few hashtags became popular : #blackfriday #pokerpanic #pokerpocalypse
In the early moments of the breaking news, some players tried to settle the masses by reminding them that freaking out was probably not the best response:
I don't know any more than you guys do. I suggest following people like @ESPN_Poker and @GaryWise1 for news updates. Try not to freak out..
Pro Vanessa Selbst suggested an alternative to freaking out...activism. She tweeted a link to Tweet For Poker, an initiative from the Poker Players Alliance that asks people to tweet their support for online poker to their representatives in Congress. On the site you can also see tweets rolling in on a real-time map from around the country.
Support for the online poker community came in heartfelt, genuine statements as well as more humorous ones:
Can't seem to get rid of the pit in my stomach. My ♥ goes out to all the online pros......
It's my right 2 smoke a blunt, abort a baby, marry a girl & play online poker. Quit telling me what 2 do with my $ or body. FU
if the owners of Tilt go to prison, they should be able to beat the poker games. They'll all clean up.
Of course, some poker pros have always looked on online players with derision because many of them fail to have live poker experience. The Twitter response included plenty of these types of comments, coming from lesser known pros as well as Big Papa Mr. 10-2 himself, Doyle Brunson:
it appears that most former online pros have been forced into finding a new profession, drinking.
Now maybe we will see if these online "superstars" can play real poker. Ante up suckers!
A bunch of unabashed, unshaven, unkempt, undateable 22-year-olds who haven’t been outside in 4½ years just showed up at my local poker room.
On Saturday, the official PokerStars Twitter account attempted to reassure players that their money was both still present and safe:
2) Please be assured, players balances are safe, there is no cause for concern
3) For players outside the US, its business as usual
Finally, perhaps my favorite Black Friday Poker Apocalypse tweet comes from the purveyor of many of my favorite tweets, Steve Martin:
Illegal online tweet Poker: I have a King, a Six, an Ace, a Club and a Jack of deuces. I bet a dollar.
How do you feel about "Poker's Black Friday?" What were some of your favorite reactions? Let us know