If you haven't heard, our broke government wants to get its hands on the online poker industry's potentially US$6 billion dollar annual revenue pie. They've frozen bank accounts linked with Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, and Absolute Poker and have indicted 11 founding executives of the companies. All totaled, the government wants US$3 billion in fines and restitution!
As you may know, I enjoy the game of poker. I don't think it's gambling because you are playing against opponents, not the house. This is the crux of the argument as to why the online poker industry should live or die. The government thinks poker is gambling, but online poker executives obviously think otherwise.
If poker was gambling, why is it that we always see familiar faces win big tournaments. Names such as Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson and John Juwanda are everywhere! You only win 49% of the time in gambling, but these guys win much more, that's why they are so wealthy. One interesting thing Phil Hellmuth told me at a charity event last year is that Full Tilt Poker player/shareholder Phil Ivey makes some US$2 million a month from his site!
DUMB PLAYERS ARE GAMBLERS
You either play poker recreationaly and quit after you lose a little money, or you keep playing and continuously lose a lot of money. If you follow option number two, you are a gambler, because you are an idiot.
Poker is a zero sum game. You either win, or you lose. There is nothing in between. In a recent AP article highlighting the crack down, they profile a couple players trying to make a living through online poker:
For Michael Borg, the loss of online poker has meant he's already started sending resumes for 9-to-5 jobs just three months after deciding to try to make it as a full-time pro. Like Fellner and many others, he is more frustrated with the U.S. government than the companies that hold his $3,000 bankroll.
“It's like we're collateral damage in a war,” he said. “What it comes down to is the government wants a piece of that money.”
Fellner, The 25-year-old Sacramento, Calif., community college student said he planned to use poker income to put himself through college without debt, but now he thinks he'll have to find another way.
“It's been stripped away from me,” he said. “It's actually really frustrating because I'm pretty good at it.”
The first thing that came to me was, WOW, the government has literally saved the futures of these two young chaps! Michael Borg has a whopping $3,000 bankroll, and plans to make a living off of online poker? Give me a break. I bet if Michael kept going at his pace, he'd go broke faster than I can call an all-in bet with my quad Aces! Meanwhile, this Fellner guy plans to put himself through community college with his winnings. It's more likely he'll go into massive debt and drop out because he'll go on poker credit and lose it all.
The government's crackdown is good for thousands, and perhaps millions of Americans. These aspiring poker pros who decided to skip college and shun entrepreneurship or real jobs will be forced to get an education and focus on their finances. Yes it sucks if you have a couple hundred thousand locked up in a shady account that's used as your bankroll. You'll get it back from the government, maybe. Despite all the continued carnage the government leaves behind after everything it touches, this shutdown is actually good for our future!
Related: Inside The Mind Of A Gambling Addict
Readers, any online poker players out there who have thoughts on the shutdown? Do you think poker is gambling or not?