There were lots of people who didn’t think online poker would recover from the event known as Black Friday. April 15, 2011 saw officials in the United States arrest the operators of major online poker sites and seize player accounts. It has taken a very long time for players, especially those in the United States to make peace with the events of that day.
Today, however, poker is starting to make a comeback in both the live and online arenas. What is encouraging about this for Counting Edge readers is that the popularity of online poker could also impact the popularity of playing blackjack online. After all, the two games have more in common than you might think.
The Online Poker Comeback
2011 was a bad year for online poker. Not only did sites like PokerStars and FullTiltPoker get shut down in the United States, it was also revealed that the owners of Full Tilt had perhaps known about cheating which occurred on its site and participated in a Ponzi scheme. One of the owners of the company was Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, a professional poker player who was a fan favorite before the cheating revelations.
Ferguson once promoted a challenge on Full Tilt, a company in which he owned a share, where he would create a $10,000 bankroll from nothing. He started in freeroll tournaments until he won enough money to participate in cash games. It took him a long time but Ferguson accomplished his goal and promised to donate the money to charity. It was a great story and one that inspired lots of players to give online poker a try.
Then came Black Friday and the resultant fallout. Ferguson and the other owners of Full Tilt were charged with basically running a Ponzi scheme in which they would use the money from one player’s account to enable payouts to another. While Ferguson never admitted any wrongdoing, he was forced to forfeit the money he made from Full Tilt poker. The sum is believed to be many millions of dollars.
Flash forward to 2017 and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Although he disappeared after the charges against him were settled, Ferguson reappeared in Las Vegas for the 2017 event and made a serious run at Player of the Year. Ferguson cashed in 17 events and currently leads the 2017 Player of the Year Standings. Many have voiced their disapproval about Ferguson’s comeback, but most were okay with it. Time heals all wounds.
The story of Chris Ferguson mirrors that of online poker in general. Time has allowed online poker to recover, and the United States is even warming up to the idea of allowing poker online for real money.
Online Poker and Blackjack Become Legal in the U.S.
While PokerStars and Full Tilt have yet to regain their U.S. footing, there have been strides to legalize online gambling in the United States. Jurisdictions like New Jersey and Nevada have made it legal for players to play casino games online. One of the most popular of these is blackjack. Pennsylvania is also in the process of legalizing online gambling.
The method in which the gambling industry made peace with the U.S. government was to allow online gambling in states where live gaming is already legal. The sites which allow online poker and online blackjack are administered by gaming companies which are licensed to operate casinos in the state. A good example is Golden Nugget Casino which provides gamers in Atlantic City a full menu of casino games that includes slots and table games like blackjack.
In Nevada, poker players can play at WSOP.com for real money. The willingness of the government to allow regulated gaming has increased the popularity of both poker and blackjack. Players seem to have more confidence in the fairness of the games because they know the games are administered by legal entities. It is not likely that a casino operator would risk their state licensing by incorporating cheating online.
So far, the results of the experiment have been positive. The revenues generated by online gambling have continued to rise and more players are signing up on a regular basis. What is interesting is that the demise of online poker in the U.S. has ultimately benefited not only poker but blackjack. Both games are soaring in online popularity.
The downside is that U.S. players must reside in one of the approved states to play the games for real money, but it appears that more states are climbing on the bandwagon. Some have predicted that online gambling could be available in almost every state by 2020. It is hard for state legislatures to avoid the economic ramifications.
Did you know that you don’t have to wait for the opportunity to play online blackjack and poker. Counting Edge recommends many online casinos, some of which are willing to accept U.S. players. You can create an account in just a few moments and play for real money on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You’ll even get a nice bonus just for signing up.