Black Friday was a shocking day. Before the press release about the seizures hit the wire, someone tried to break into my house and got into several others around me. Once I came inside after talking to the police, I picked up the laptop and there it was, news that most people did not believe at first. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet were indicted by the feds, with tens of millions of dollars seized. In the end, only PokerStars would recover.
I am still pretty angry about the government and how corrupt this situation was on both the government’s side, as well as Full Tilt Poker’s side. I always knew Cereus was corrupt so that came as no surprise. Beyond saying that the U.S. Government needs to know that they do not own the internet, I will not go beat that dead horse. Hopefully somewhere down the road people that actually understand technology can be in charge of this country.
Before Black Friday, I played online poker full time. I left Poker Affiliate Solutions full time a few months before and decided to go back to playing the game that I love. I was crushing Carbon Poker when it was just a few hundred players. It was an unknown gold mine before Black Friday. Since so many U.S. grinders have moved there, the game quality has suffered badly. I also played Seven Card Stud High/Low sit and gos and multi table tournaments, with an occasional Omaha High/Low game on PokerStars and was doing great. That all came crashing down.
Shortly after Black Friday, Poker Affiliate Solutions brought me back on as a writer, consultant, and to help with player support. It was a good way to get back into the swing of working again. I had been writing on this blog, but had done little else. The exposure I got from PAS, and my coverage of Black Friday news on this blog, helped me land some good writing jobs.
I have written about many different gambling topics in the past year. In addition to online poker, I have also written about Las Vegas table games, sports betting, video poker, restaurants, hotels, and written dozens of legal articles covering the gaming industry. My business takes me to the Las Vegas Strip often. I have been in each Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas casino a dozen times for my business.
I have cut a lot of my poker playing out, mostly because of work. I still get to play some. I tend to play Omaha High/Low at Venetian, and Seven Card Stud High/Low at Suncoast. I do not play any No Limit Hold’em.
Black Friday Made Me an Entrepreneur Again
Beyond what Black Friday taught me about politics and government, it taught me a lot about myself. I always knew that I was an entrepreneur. Black Friday forced me to become one again without any planning. I had not owned an active business since I sold Rake Rebate Review in 2006. In one year, I have built a large customer base, as well as some websites such as this blog.
One month after Black Friday, I decided to get an office. I found one within five minutes of the house. It is 250 square feet. It is far from a professional environment. It has a recliner, a mini fridge that is usually well stocked, pictures of dogs playing poker on the wall, and a sound system hooked up the desktop. The office has one wall that is all windows facing outside. If I have the blinds open, people walking by sometimes give me odd looks as I am stretched out in the recliner watching TV. I also have a desk and office chair, but most of my creative writing is done in the office recliner. It is a great place to go and be creative, even if only for a few hours.
The office is cheap, and was perfect for giving me a place to write during my creative spurts. I am not a natural born writer. Sometimes I need some extra help and the change of scenery at the office is perfect. Sometimes I am there for 16 hours, other times I go days without going to the office at all.
Instead of letting my anger at the online poker industry and the politicians involved get in the way of my life, I made the most of a truly awful situation. I am lucky that I only have a few hundred dollars lost at Full Tilt Poker. I know that players have a total of about $400 million lost between Cereus and Full Tilt Poker, with many single players owed well into six figures, and hundreds or thousands with $10,000 or more lost.
Although several states have had serious discussions about legalizing online poker, Nevada is the only state that has actually done it. Online poker is yet to be live in Nevada though, but should be during 2012. That will be another opportunity that hopefully opens some doors. Not only will there be endless work writing about online poker in Nevada, my ultimate goal is to either contract with the online poker rooms, or become employed by one to help build it from the ground up.
A year is a long time in the online poker industry. By April 15, 2013, there will be more states with online poker. Nevada should also have several months of experience by then. There is no telling what will happen on the legal front. Considering the light sentences those who have come forward in the Black Friday cases have received, the only enforcement I predict down the road will be cash seizures. I am already looking forward to my Black Friday second anniversary post.