The poker landscape in the U.S. has changed forever. Monday morning, when all of the online poker pros wake up from their weekend drinking binges, the reality of the new poker world will hit them. What is the new poker world?
Unlike what many people think I think this is a detriment to brick and mortar poker. Part of the reason why poker boomed is because of Chris Moneymaker’s World Series of Poker win from playing an online satellite at PokerStars. Players saw on national television that a nobody could invest $40 and parlay it into a multi million dollar tournament win. Since online poker is basically dead in the U.S. players will not be winning online satellites, a source of many of the entrants to the Main Event. Since the fields will be smaller the coverage will shrink due to the lack of footage and lack of online poker rooms to advertise during the World Series of Poker coverage.
Not only will big tournaments draw fewer there will be less buzz. Many of the sponsored pros will likely cut down the number of events they play. There will also be fewer perks for players. Players that make it deep into major events will not be offered large amounts of money to wear logos of the poker rooms. They may be offered something but nothing like we have seen in the past. This does not even begin to address shows like Poker After Dark that will likely disappear without the support of Full Tilt Poker.
With little or no online poker advertising and less television coverage of poker shows poker will become more and more out of sight for the casual players. It will also become less accessible. Sure, there will be the ones that will have that urge to play poker and go out of their way to get to a poker room but for many poker will become a former hobby.
Cash games could really go to crap. With fewer casual players exposed to poker fewer will play. For the true action junkies brick and mortar will be too slow to suffer through which will keep the biggest action fish away from the brick and mortar tables. While there will be fewer casual players the grinders that used to 24 table PokerStars will start to infest local poker rooms, at least until they realize that they cannot set mine and make a living. I predict lots of hoodies and earphones at the poker tables in the near future.
The biggest losers will be the 18-20 crowd that do not live anywhere close to an 18+ poker room. These players will completely disappear from the poker ecosystem and many may never come back as they will pursue other hobbies or go back to school.
This is all opinion. I could be completely wrong but I do not see how many positive things will come out of this for brick and mortar poker rooms.