I have seen several online poker forum posters asking why players outside the U.S. are still playing on online poker rooms that still accept U.S. players. This certainly does seem odd. With so many choices why would a player outside the U.S. risk another situation like Cereus had where U.S. players were banned but non U.S. players could not get paid? There are several reasons for this.
The first reason is that most non U.S. online poker rooms often offer just two games, No Limit Texas Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha. If a player wants to play Seven Card Stud, Omaha High/Low or Fixed Limit Texas Holdem they must go to online poker rooms where these games are popular. Typically these games are most popular in the U.S. Since that is the case a European player would have to play on Merge Gaming, Cake Poker or Everleaf Gaming skins like Minted Poker that still allow U.S. players to play online poker.
Another reason is because even though the network still takes U.S. players there are still non U.S. skins on the network. For example the Cake Poker Network licenses Red Star Poker, a Russian facing Cake Poker skin, as well as Power Poker which is a big brand in Scandinavia. Everleaf Gaming has many European facing skins. In fact of all of the U.S. facing brands Everleaf Gaming has by far the highest percentage of European players. This is likely due to the fact that Everleaf Gaming is licensed in Malta which gives players on the network a tax advantage if they are in a high tax country.
There is also the case that many players outside the U.S. think that U.S. players are huge fish. This seems to be especially true right now as many winning players have their bankrolls locked up on Cereus and Full Tilt Poker. The losing players are already used to making a deposit with their disposable income. This means that there are more losing players as a percentage than there were on PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker a few months ago. Although there are still winning U.S. players on the U.S. facing online poker rooms these players are now playing more for leisure and less for profit. This is due with the uncomfortable thoughts of what poker room might be targeted next. A player that wins at high limits may not be able to drop down to micro limits and win. I know I am that way. I am a total call station when I play well below my bankroll. “It is only $1 so I will call”.
Until the U.S. gets its act together and figures out what they will do with online poker this scenario will continue. There will be non U.S. players playing on U.S. facing sites to play the fishy U.S. players at games that are not popular on other non U.S. poker rooms. Unfortunately this may be the last time U.S. players get to play online poker with players outside the U.S. It seems extremely likely that U.S. players would be ring fenced in a regulated environment. This means that U.S. players would only be able to play other players in the U.S. Ring fencing will likely be required to appease the “Online poker winnings and rake go to funding terrorism” nut jobs.