The year in Online Poker: The good, the bad, and the ugly Part 2

Updated: December 30th, 2010 by Dev Ops

Another year of online poker is in the books, so I thought I would take a look at the top news stories from the online poker world; the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Now I’ll move on to the negative stories that marred online poker in 2010:

The Bad

  • Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars continue to squabble

For years the two most powerful poker sites were acting like the two toughest kids on the playground and pretty much avoiding each other and pretending to get along, but all that changed in 2010 and the online poker wars began between the two powers.

Rumors swirled around the two boycotting each other’s TV shows and tournaments –especially as the PokerStars brand started showing up on every major poker tour and television program—finally coming to a head with Full Tilt Poker boycotting High Stakes Poker, which was recently sponsored by PokerStars –not to mention PokerStars purchasing the entire High Stakes Poker archive of episodes.
France and Italy enact online poker legislation

It’s hard to call any online poker legislation a bad thing, but when the legislation in question splinters the online poker world it has to be seen as just that: A bad thing. Both France and Italy legalized online poker in 2010, but both countries did so with heavy stipulations, most notably that online poker companies must be located within the country’s borders and can only offer games to that country’s residents.
So now French and Italian poker players are forced to play in much smaller online poker markets, while the tens of thousands of players from these locales were also removed from the worldwide online poker market.

The Ugly

  • Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars pull out of Washington State market

As Chris Farley says in Black Sheep, “Hello Washington!” The extreme Northwest corner of the continental United States became the first state to outlaw online poker, not only banning poker sites, but going so far as to make PLAYING online poker a criminal offense!

When a judge upheld the law in court both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars were forced to leave the Washington State market altogether, fearing they would never receive a US gaming license (if it ever comes to pass) should they violate a current US law.

  • Department of Justice ramps up UIGEA

2010 could go down as the year of the slow withdrawal time and the bounced check, as payment processors felt the pinch of the fully enacted UIGEA legislation. Not only did a number of payment processors see their funds seized by the US Department of Justice, but quite a few of them were brought up on charges!

  • More online poker scandals

2010 saw its fair share of online cheating and scandals involving everything from WINNING poker bots at the $100 NLHE tables at PokerStars, to a Chinese collusion team bilking the Double or Nothing Sit & Go tournaments at the same site. Not to mention the usual multi-accounting fiascos, and so on from the big-time online poker pros (Google Nick “Stoxtrader” Grudzien).

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