I have been following Twitter and the poker forums for the latest news and rumors. I will try my best to follow these closely. Full Tilt Poker released this statement late today:
Full Tilt Poker Supports Poker Players And Its Chief Executive
Dublin Ireland (April 15, 2011) - Full Tilt Poker is saddened by today’s charges against its CEO Raymond Bitar and offers its full support to Mr. Bitar and Nelson Burtnick. Online poker is a game of skill enjoyed by tens of millions of people in the United States and across the world. And, Full Tilt Poker remains as committed as ever to preserving the rights of those players to play the game they love online. Mr. Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal – a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States.
Full Tilt Poker is, and has always been committed to preserving the integrity of the game and abidingby the law. “I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr. Burtnick’s and my exoneration,” said Mr. Bitar.
Unfortunately, as a result of this action, Full Tilt Poker has decided that it must suspend “real money” play in the United States until this case is resolved. However, Full Tilt Poker will continue to provide peer-to-peer online poker services outside of the United States.
This press release can be found on a number of reliable portals. I think it is safe to assume this is legitimate. Note that no time frame has been given for the time that they will pull out of the U.S. If you have any tournament tokens or have been saving up FTP Points now is a good time to spend them.
PokerStars stated today that they moved their website to pokerstars.eu and that their new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . They also noted that as expected email volume is very high and that their response times will be slower than normal.
According to Poker News Daily Absolute Poker and UB.com will stay in the U.S. market even though some rumors on Twitter contradict that statement.
Wynn Resorts and PokerStars have parted ways. According to Forbes Wynn backed out of the partnership.
LAS VEGAS, April 15, 2011—Wynn Resorts, Limited announced today that it terminated its alliance with PokerStars, the online poker company. The decision was reached as a result of the indictment unsealed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
It seems the partnership between Full Tilt Poker and the Fertitta’s is through as well. The Fertitta’s have been quoted as saying that their partnership relied on federal regulations and Full Tilt’s ability to get a gaming license. The online version of the Wall Street Journal is reporting the deal between the Fertitta’s and Full Tilt Poker is dead.
In other news PokerStars fell below Full Tilt Poker’s cash game players for the first time ever. According to Pokerscout.com, at 10pm PT Full Tilt Poker had 12,232 real money cash game players. PokerStars had 11,815 real money cash game players.
I have a feeling that the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event will also feel this. Considering the number of players that won satellites over the years I think it is safe to say the number of players will fall drastically, especially if funds are held for longer than expected.
I will continue to follow this story closely. It will certainly develop over the weekend.