shipitfish: (poker-not-crime)
[personal profile] shipitfish

Excellently insightful as always, Ed Miller posted an excellent piece on the Neteller situation and the danger that has always been inherent with online poker that many don't see. I recall distinctly when I started playing on Pokerroom in 2001, and then again Pacific a year or so later, that it was extremely important for me to be playing not on my preexisting bankroll, but with a new bankroll won on that site. I still try to follow this rule, whereby I attempt to cashout my initial investment as quickly as possible. In this way, I can view any collapse or inability to pay as merely wasted time, not wasted bankroll.

I've modified that somewhat since buying in became difficult; I'm keeping more in online poker accounts than I used to, due to fear that I can't buy in again if it falls. That is probably a mistake, because the trustworthiness of online balances is actually most in question. Miller's right that an online version of the proverbial 1929 “run on the bank” could cause a serious collapse due to cashflow problems.

The most important thing for all of us to do — particularly those of us that receive a serious portion of our real income from online poker — is, in the words of Douglas Adams: Don't Panic. Keep playing your usual games. Do your usual cashouts. We all know we'll see a steady slowdown in the action, and eventually the games will move towards empty as the USA players disappear. But, online poker isn't changing much outside the USA. I hope my non-USA friends can comment, but I bet the feeling outside the USA is these silly USAmericans, always with their morality-oriented legislation. We'll keep doing what we're doing and forget them and their idiot president. If that's the sentiment, which I hope it is, that's the right one. The USA is an important market, but it's not the center of the universe.

I expect I have lots of online poker in my immediate future, and lots of live poker in my medium-term future, which just can't get the EV pumping the way my current online work can. But, I'm happy to let the online scene wind down gracefully around me, and then make my decisions based on what the post-UIGEA and post-Neteller-arrests world looks like. I hope everyone else will do the same. Keep your heads cool; let's all put our chips in, take a flop, and see how this hand plays out.

Update: I forgot to put this link into the slashdot story on the Neteller arrests. Like all slashdot, there are a very few excellent comments and lots of useless ones. Here's a particularly interesting one from a former Neteller employee.


Date: 2007-01-19 21:31 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
hi, nice blog. this is stefan from england.
its so sad what's happening in the US.
over here we are playing the same i think. i switched to full tilt cos pacific didn't allow US players and i wanted more opponents. except for that, we are playing just the same.
does the legislation mean that full tilt and other american sites will not allow US players soon?

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-19 23:21 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thanks for commenting! As we understand the situation (which is complicated and difficult to figure out), the law, called UIGEA, puts the onus on banks and financial institutions to prohibit transactions between any gambling site, and it's clear from the definition this includes online poker.

So, USA players will be allowed to play as long as Full Tilt and other sites let them, sometime in the next 171 days, everyone's bank will have to stop accepting cash-in and cash-outs.

Meanwhile, the Neteller arrests are for another, older law, which likely these fellow were violating (why they came through USA in the first place, who knows?). That law prohibits certain types of over-the-wire money transaction, and some of Neteller's traffic surely fits the definition from the law.

As Lou Kriger points out, the play here by our government officials is chilling effect. They want to shake up the market and scare people from using the online poker system and its default payment processors.

It's hard to know how it will all end up. As I said in the post, the most important thing for all of us to do is: don't panic.

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-21 01:37 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Americans are, of course, silly. We knew that. As a population you're silly - you let Dubya be in charge again. As a government, I'm not sure what the best word is - are the politicians honest, in that they stay bought?

How did you come to this? As I may have said before, we'll miss you. That's "we" as in the Rest of the World. We'll try to remember to send a card or something.

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-22 20:07 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I can't apologize enough for the stupidity of my country. I'm sorry. I swear I vote for good candidates; my entire life I've never voted for the winning candidate. (Or, in most cases, even the runner up — man do I hate the two-party system. You lucky parliamentarians!)

When people talk about what their “vices” are, I always list “USA citizenship” as my worst one. We are a mismanaged empire that bullies the rest of the world (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), and I'm just mortified when I think about it. Yet, I keep living here, gaining the benefits of the corrupt regime.

I suppose not being allowed to play online poker will be a fitting punishment to this vice of mine. I don't know if I have enough of an expatriate's ascetic to leave, so I suppose I won't. Anyway, thanks for that occasional card, and I again apologize for the actions of my government!

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-22 23:42 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Apology graciously accepted - try not to do it again)

You lucky parliamentarians!

Well, it's a two-party race for Government every time. I have, I think, voted for #3 since I was 20. Our current lot's peculiar tolerance for gambling (most unlike them) is a rare positive. We have the second most complex tax system in history, measured by pages of tax regulations, behind only India. We so seem to be heading for independence from Scotland, if not Wales and Northern Ireland. I don't know how I feel about that - if they want it that bad, then they should have it I guess. I wonder how our Scots soon-to-be Prime Minister plans to deal with running a foreign country. I suppose he could be President-For-Life back home if he were the one behind the dissolution of the Union.

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-23 02:05 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It's important to note that America's problems lie in its governing system as much, or more, than with its people. After all, the popular vote was for Gore in '00. And the majority was super slim vs Kerry in '04. Further, the anti-gambling was pushed through primarily by a single Senator (Frist) months before he left office.

I think it's interesting to watch the same officials (Bush included) who signed the Port Security bill that included the anti-gambling are frequently using poker and gambling lingo in their discussion of the Iraq war.

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-23 21:39 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, poker is "America's game", is it not? As long as you don't play it online, that is...

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-23 22:11 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or in a home game (there have been busts around the country). Or at a local club (it's illegal in most states). Basically, use the casino industry and pay their rake, or don't play.

Re: re

Date: 2007-01-24 17:10 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
the anti-gambling was pushed through primarily by a single Senator (Frist) months before he left office

Contrary to public perception, Bill Frist was not solely responsible for the SAFE Port Act. He was responsible for the parliamentary maneuvers necessary to attach it to an unrelated piece of legislation. But the online gambling prohibition enjoyed widespread support among Congressional Republicans, notably Jon Kyl in the Senate, and Jim Leach, John Boehner, and Spencer Bachus in the House. The House leadership would have done just the same as Frist if they had the votes. Don't let the rest of them off the hook so easily.


Re: re

Date: 2007-01-24 19:06 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Indeed, well put. Furthermore, don't forget who paid for it. The land-based casino lobby, particularly the Indian nations, are largely responsible for the efforts to convince the senators to pay attention to the issue. Real World casinos haven't realized that online playing is in their best interest because of the interest it generates generally in their product.

Date: 2010-09-20 12:55 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm playing on the CarbonPoker site and I have to say most of the players are from US so I think they managed to go around these rules somehow; maybe the legislation refers mostly to the online casinos and not to the players.
Casino Niagara (

It's Different in Australia

Date: 2010-09-27 07:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Online pokies has been around as long as online casino has been booming. In Australia, it is undeniable that pokies ( are famous among the gaming fanatics.

Date: 2011-02-03 14:27 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i don't understand the reason for which the online casino games ( are out of law. if you are smart enough you won't fall prey to the scams on the net, and if you aren't so smart, you shouldn't play online casino. it is so simple.


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