The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (2023)

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (1)
  • On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UB
  • All formerly eligible US players
  • Only PokerStars cooperated with US authorities and escaped unscathed
  • Several American poker rooms have replaced the "Big 3"
  • The US market is in a pretty stable state and hasn't been in the headlines for several years.

American online poker players will probably be the first to tell you:

Black Friday shows that no one can stop the US Department of Justice from shutting down an online gambling site... even if it means expanding the law to do so.

A typical example:

April 15, 2011. Black Friday.The three biggest poker sites that offer gambling to Americans have been removed from the Internet. What followed was one of the craziest stories of an industry that had seen a lot of it.

Let's see how this seemingly normal day would turn into one of the most devastating and life-changing days in poker history.

The stage: April 15, 2011

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (2)

Probably the most important day in the history of online pokerApril 15, 2011it is now colloquially referred to as a "poker game".Black Friday”because of the industry-destroying measures taken by theUnited States Department of Justice(DOJ).

To paraphrase a term often used to describe financial crises, natural disasters and massacres, the poker community was shocked by the events of April 15th, when the DOJ brought a relatively stable market to a standstill within hours.

Conquer the domains of the “Big 3”.

He knewindictmentComing from the typically overzealous Southern District of New York, the DOJ targeted the three largest remaining poker networks open to US players:PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker e Absolute Poker/UB (estes “grande 3“).

Incredibly, on Black Friday of poker, the DOJ managed to grab the Big 3 domain names, taking advantage of the fact that .com domains technically originate in the United States through ICANN.

This rarely used tactic is usually reserved for removal from sites that allow it.clearly criminal activitysuch as identity theft or credit card fraud.

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (3)

On Black Friday, visitors to the Big 3 sites were welcomed with aDOJ seizure notice. Within hours, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker/UB banned US citizens from playing for real money once the charges against their owners and affiliates were dropped.

Black Friday sets a dangerous precedent

Black Friday in online poker may have been more devastating for the industry than the advent of Black Friday.UIGEA Final of 2006due to the specific goals of the poker room.

Although the UIGEA has imposed threatening directives on US banksOffer a game to US citizensUltimately, that was in the hands of each poker room.

Seizure of licensed companies where they do business

The Black Friday accusations set a terrible precedent, showing that the US Department of Justice can succeed in banning independent companies, even if online poker rooms are licensed and regulated in the countries where they operate.Activity blocking in the US.

The end result of Black Friday in poker is a small and uncertain marketUSA-Online Pokerwho will feel the effects of that eventful day for years to come.

What really caused Black Friday?

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (4)

The UIGEA has been in place since 2006 but has never really affected anything related to online poker in the US other than some banks turning down deals with poker sites.

However,In 2011 everything changedsuddenly and it's fair to say that no one really saw this coming. What caused Black Friday and its unpleasant consequences?

Perhaps no one explains it all better than Professor I. Nelson Rose, one of the world's leading experts on gambling law.

The timing of Black Friday coincided perfectly with efforts by several US states to legislate online poker. This clearly meant that competition was no longer welcome.

It is interesting to note that the Federal Public Ministry did thisThere is no reason to choose online poker as such. Under the Wire Act, the only legislation they could use to cover these costs, online poker was not covered.

Surprisingly, the low cost had nothing to do with online gambling.

There were some state laws that the Fed could take advantage of, but they weren't enough because some state laws don't extend across state lines. Eventually, they took action against the Big Three based on New York gambling laws.

They realized that they were walking on very slippery ground, not knowing for sure if and if these statues could be used in this case.Online poker really came into beingThrough the “gambling” requirement in these laws, the prosecution sought to include the “fraud” part as much as possible.

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (5)

Black Friday claims were actually based on 'fraud'

This “scam” would cover the part where banks were “tricked” into allowing online gambling.

The problem is that there were no significant frauds. The banks involved, at least most of them, were not deceived and, even if they were, they would not have lost anything with this “fraud”.

The Justice Department did its best to address these scary as possibleand, even if their ground was shaky at best.

Anyway, thatOnline poker all-out attackworked in the United States.

The Big Three, the main targets of these attacks, were expelled, paving the way for what would come next. It turns out that the plan, whatever it may be, wasn't very well thought out, because even now, in 2016, the steps towards legalizing and taxing online poker in the United States have been small.

The poker industry's response

Each of the listed poker rooms (Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and AP/UB) responded to Black Friday in significantly different ways, ranging from professional and responsible to downright incompetent.

poker stars

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (6)

Inevitably, Poker Stars showed extreme composure in handling the situationconstantlyAmerican gamejust hours after your domain name was seized.

In the days and weeks that followed, they successfully worked with the Department of Justice to resume operations outside the US, pay US players and recover their domain names.

It's strange to imagine, but Poker Stars had a direct dialogue with US authorities after Black Friday in pokergave in to their demandsto maintain its extensive and profitable operations outside the United States.

While it can be frustrating for US players to be banned from real money gambling, they ultimately benefited from Poker Stars' cooperation in receiving it.punctual paymentsthe player's balance.

Definitely poker and UB

At the other end of the spectrum is Absolute Poker/UB, which has demonstrated negligence, incompetence and the way things are theft of player funds.

When the allegations were made public on Poker's Black Friday, the company appeared to be operating under normal conditions, allowing processing of US players and what appeared to be US payments.

(Video) Where Was Daniel Negreanu on Poker's Black Friday?

When it became clear that American players no longer played and demanded their mass withdrawals, the AP/UB management immediately fired most of the operational staff, suspended all gaming activities and…refused to process withdrawals.

An abandoned company with player credit never came back

Several years after Black Friday in poker, no payments have been made, seized domains have been forgotten, and no games have been hosted.

However, it can be said with certainty:playerFor example, Absolute Poker or UB will someday withdraw their money if the previous administration disappears, most likely using funds stolen from players.

There was no dialogue with authorities or former stakeholders to reach an agreement.

Full Tilt Poker

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (7)

Somewhere in the middle is Full Tilt Poker, which quickly withdrew US access to real money tables shortly after the allegations were revealed.

After Black Friday in poker, Full Tilt Poker made aFailed attempt to continue its activities outside the USwhile American players and their balances were left in purgatory.

An interesting development is that the DOJ has filed an additional complaint about thisFull Tilt Pokerin September 2011, claiming that top executives likeChris 'Jesus' FergusonEmHoward Ledererhas becameOutrageous Paid Numbersdespite Full Tilt Poker not having enough money to pay all of its players.

Unprepared for the consequences

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (8)

Full Tilt Poker did not set aside player funds or prepare for the inevitable bank run that followed the Black Friday poker allegations.

Its international gaming license was eventually revoked and players, even non-US residents, are still not paid.

Fortunately, there may be some hope of payouts to players, as Full Tilt Poker was bought by a team of investors hoping to revive operations outside the US.

After Black Friday and their incredibly irresponsible money management, the new owners of Full Tilt Poker can't get themselves crazy enough to believe that players would trust them enough to re-deposit without paying every penny of the player's money in full.

Almost All US Players Have Finally Been Paid

Until now, the majority of American Full Tilt Poker players are ex-Americanspay, several years after the first Black Friday.

It is a woeful testament to the failure of Full Tilt Poker and the US government to separate player funds.holding possible payout funds hostage for several years.

Perspectives after Black Friday

It's a Redux from 2006

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (9)

As devastating as the events of Black Friday were in poker, I feel a strong sense of déjà vu after seeing the UIGEA 2006 event first hand.

Although Black Friday had a disruptive effect on targeted poker roomsThe impact on the rest of the sector was relatively small..

Poker rooms that did not yet serve the US were clearly not affected, and those that did but were not seized reached their own conclusions, similar to those in 2006.

Fortune has favored the brave in recent years

While Bodog and Merge went out of businessBetOnlinetook a bold step in opening up to the US, which has paid off well so far.

Sportsbook Poker also decided to stay the course in the US and was the only other stable US network left until Merge and Carbon Poker returned in October.

Unfortunately, due to serious payment errors, I can no longer recommend Merge.

DespiteDecline of US online poker marketWhile the industry has apparently been held together by toothpicks and duct tape since Black Friday, it still exists. This is an incredibly resilient industry. US players can still play poker online, though no one can say for sure how long that will take.

It's possible, but unlikely, that sites like thisBetOnlineEmBovadait will only service the US market indefinitely. Since 2006, online poker in the US has only gotten smaller and there's not much left to do.

Long-term outlook for US locations

The long-term path that online poker in the US appears to be on is legislation strongly supported by Harrah's and the major casinos in Las Vegas. As retarded as it may seem, these mega-corporations support all promotions, including Black Friday in poker, against the current form of online poker.

When the government shuts down existing poker rooms, it just saves them the trouble of eliminating the competition. This is a factLas Vegas Casinos are a Big Contributorto politicians who proposed favorable legislation as a matter of convenience.

On the surface, all forms of online poker have thisUS licensethat would be great, but I'm not sure how many of us trust something that involves politicians, big casinos, and the US government.

Also for the latest newsUSA-Online PokerI set up my own page.

The Current State of Online Poker in the US


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(Video) Poker's "Black Friday" - 10 Years Later

BetOnline na Black Friday

BetOnline may have emerged as one of the industry's biggest winners during poker's Black Friday and has become one of the bestfavorite travel destinationsfor displaced American players.

With their experience in the sports and casino industry, they are excellent in processing and offering payments.Nearly 100% success rate for US credit cards. Player traffic is also busy and looser than average.

Their 200% bonus is also the biggest online along with the $135 free bets. It's amazing that anyone can be a 'winner' after Black Friday, but BetOnline was just that.


Internet site:
Accepted US Players:Em
Bonus:100% immediately
Traffic:Number 1 in the US market
In operation since:2000 (under the Bodog brand)


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Bovadasinds Black Friday

If I were to rank the poker rooms that are likely to serve American players in five years, it would probably be Bovada.

They successfully conquered the UIGEA in 2006 and now Black Friday in 2011. For some of them theyBest credit card success ratesand the fastest payments in the US market.

They also have the highest online traffic in the US and a recently added 50% instant bonus. You can hardly go wrong with Bovada.

America's Game Room

Name:America's Game Room
Internet site:
Accepted US Players:Em
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Traffic:#2-3 in the US market
In operation since:2001
Full review:America's Cardroom Review


  • 20 days of free jackpot poker tournaments
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America's Cardroom comes to Black Friday

Surprisingly, even if it's not a name, you've heard of America's Cardroomis of the biggest networksin the US to rescue former competitors like Doyle's Room and True Poker.

Payments and ease of movement stand out, with minimum checks being delivered in about 10 days. tournament trafficI am Americas CardroomSometimes they are way ahead of the American competition.$1 million guarantee.

Pick up where others left off after Black Friday

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (13)

With the 3 big online poker roomsstolenFor American players, there was a hole in the market and an opportunity for a remnant or brand new American poker room to take over.

Unfortunately, Merge, the largest surviving US poker network, dropped the ball and decided to shut down new US poker sign-ups a few months after the events of Black Friday.

Merger management tacitly claimed this would be a problemtemporary relocationDesigned to ease support and payment processing.

However, after several months of unfulfilled promises of a return to the US market, the poker community has become increasingly skeptical about whether a return would ever happen.

Surprisingly, the Merge returned to the US market in October 2011. How long they'll be there this time around is unclear.

Other player favorites such asBovada(full review), formerly known as Bodog, actively discouraged registration in the US, but has now done soback on the market in full force.

BetOnline's growth since Black Friday

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (14)

This might be the smartest Black Friday move in pokerBetOnline(full review), an old name in other areas of online gaming, has launched a new independent real money poker room with access to US players.

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BetOnline totally goes against the downward trend of online poker in the US and seizes the opportunity to do socollect the fragmentsleft behind by the suspects' quarters and the voluntary closures of Merge and Bodog.

With a long history of player trust, licensing and strong support, along with a significant player base integrated from other gaming platforms, this site could become one of the few Black Friday winners in poker.

One of the keys to success in today's US poker landscape is the ease and speed with which BetOnline has been able to process payments.

They currently offer US players credit card and checking account deposit options, which are probably the two fastest and most ubiquitous deposit methods out there.

What drew underprivileged gamers here after Black Friday?

Largely due to its easy deposits and built-in sports clientele, BetOnline has become a magnet for its customers.extremely loose player base. They also acquired and relaunched SportsBetting Poker, which offers the same deposit and loose table benefits as on the same network.

Since the UIGEA throttled deposits in 2006 and the huge number of new losers has virtually disappeared, there have only been a few flexible table poker rooms in the US.

BetOnline appears, at least temporarily, to be a throwback to the early days of online poker, when flop percentages at all tables were above 30-40%. in totalPlayer traffic has really increasedEssentially since the beginning, with dozens of active tables now up to the $5/10 NL level and at least 5-10 per limit up to the $1/2 NL level.

Sports betting poker and fusion with a rough history since 2011 (no longer open to new players)

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (15)

update: meI don't recommend anymoreany poker site on the fusion network.

The only other poker room I can recommend without hesitation issports betting poker, which did not change its poker policy after Black Friday.

Sports betting still accepts all US players with real money.

Although payment processing was slow and paper checks took at least four to six weeks to process, each withdrawal was eventually processed.

This site has always been a bit under the radar, but it has quietly provided an overall solid experience that has excelled at cash games in particular.

With a significant player base outside of the US, Sportsbook continues to boast loose cash tables and enough player traffic to allow for full multi-tables at any limit down to a $1/2 NL level.

As a player, this poker room after Black Friday Poker did nothing to make me feel any less comfortable than I've always felt with them. They haveremained uncontroversialand quietly continued to deliver an above average experience.

Other networks have unsuccessfully tried to exploit this opportunity.

There are a few small networks left in the US market after Black Friday poker that I cannot recommend at this time. Both have liquidity problems,extremely low trafficor were subject to seizures by the Ministry of Justice.

The current US online poker market is small but stable and fragmented into a market that accepts new registrations and a market that tries to make do with existing players. there was notbig turnswithin a few months, allowing US players to catch their breath after Black Friday.

New to the poker rooms mentioned in this sectionamerican playerhave at least a few solid options that have held steady despite the turbulent events surrounding them.

  • On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UB
  • All formerly eligible US players
  • Only PokerStars cooperated with US authorities and escaped unscathed
  • Several American poker rooms have replaced the "Big 3"
  • The US market is in a pretty stable state and hasn't been in the headlines for several years.

The real madness behind Black Friday in poker ([year]) (16)

S H(Owner and Chief Editor)

A longtime poker player who went online in 2004, Josh founded Beat The Fish in 2005 to help online poker players make more informed decisions about where to play and how to win once they get there. With objective analysis and relevant resources, he wants to combat rampant dishonesty in online gaming media. Technological nostalgia. He likes to think of the soup avatar in Doyle's Room.

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What was the Black Friday poker scandal? ›

In the poker world, Black Friday refers to April 15th, 2011, when poker players throughout the United States woke up to this image on the front page of their favorite online poker sites. The sites could not process withdrawals because the DOJ had also seized their bank accounts.

What is the Black Friday in poker? ›

Black Friday is a term given by the poker community to the events of April 15, 2011, when the United States Department of Justice issued an indictment against the three largest online poker websites in in the country: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker.

What day was Black Friday in poker? ›

After the indictment was unsealed on April 15, 2011, a date quickly dubbed Black Friday by the online poker community, PokerStars and Full Tilt stopped offering real money play to their United States customers.

Why did PokerStars get shut down? ›

On April 15, 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York seized and shut down and several of its competitors' sites, alleging that the sites were violating federal bank fraud and money laundering laws.

What poker player got caught cheating? ›

Pro poker star Martin Kabrhel is being investigated amid claims he cheated during a World Series of Poker event which forced entrants to pay a $250,000 buy-in. Footage shows Kabrhel, 40, get called out by fellow poker star Dan Smith after he was eliminated on June 18.

What famous poker player was caught cheating? ›

Martin Kabrhel was accused by multiple pros - including Dan Smith, who had an outburst during the middle of a televised game - of trying to cheat by 'repeatedly marking cards' and attempting to look at others' hands throughout the game.

What is the unluckiest card in poker? ›

1. 2-7 offsuit. The 2-7 offsuit is considered the worst hand in Texas Hold'em and the worst poker hand to play pre-flop. You cannot make a straight with both cards and if you hit a flush you will have a very low flush.

What is the dark term in poker? ›

What is Dark in Poker? An action taken before a player has looked at his/her cards or before the dealer has dealt the next street. Example: “John checked dark and Andy, who was next to act, went all-in in the dark, before the flop even came out.”

Why do poker players check in the dark? ›

For example, right before the dealer is about to deal the flop cards, the player who is first to act says 'check in the dark'. His option will now be to check regardless of what the flop texture is. This technique is mainly used to try and confuse or 'psyche out' an opponent.

What is the biggest poker event in the world? ›

The 2023 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em main event is officially the largest ever held. With 10,043 total players, this year's world championship drew 1,270 more entries than the previous record turnout of 8,773 made in 2006, a 14.5-percent increase.

How much is black worth in poker? ›

Determining Chip Values and Stack Sizes in a Home Game
ColorValueNumber of Chips
Red$510 ($50)
Blue$1010 ($100)
Green$2510 ($250)
Black$1006 ($600)

How do you win a poker night? ›

10 Quick Poker Strategy Tips
  1. Play Fewer Hands And Play Them Aggressively.
  2. Don't Be The First Player To Limp.
  3. "Semi-Bluff" Aggressively with Your Draws.
  4. Fast-Play Your Strong Hands to Build the Pot and Make More Money.
  5. Defend Your Big Blind (with the Right Hands)
  6. Fold When You're Unsure.
May 3, 2019

Did Daniel Negreanu leave PokerStars? ›

After "Black Friday" (the 2011 US government crackdown on online poker), Negreanu moved back to Canada in order to continue playing online poker on PokerStars. On May 23, 2019, after nearly 12 years as a member of Team PokerStars, Negreanu announced he and PokerStars were parting ways.

Is poker dying out? ›

Many online poker sites are still reporting very high numbers of players and even hitting all time highs in some cases. And the World Series of Poker is about as popular as it ever has been. So much for poker being "dead." Look guys, poker is not going anywhere no matter what the naysayers will say.

Why can't Americans play on PokerStars? ›

The UIGEA - Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 - the act that effectively shut down online poker in the US - made it illegal for banks to interact with offshore online poker sites. (And you cannot legally open an on-shore poker site.)

What was the full tilt poker scandal? ›

Full Tilt Poker relied on new deposits from players to ensure its ability to fund withdrawals to players' accounts. Rather than protect player funds as promised, Full Tilt Poker distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to its owners.

What was the absolute poker cheating scandal? ›

2007 cheating incident

In September 2007, Absolute Poker began defending itself following accusations made by members of several Internet forums that the online poker room has a "superuser" account which allows one player to read the hole cards of another during a game.

What was the ultimate bet scandal? ›

In May 2008, Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, proprietors of Ultimate Bet, announced that an internal investigation found that unfair play did occur on the site from March 2006 to December 2007 with six accounts and 18 screen names being involved, among them "NioNio," "Sleepless," "NoPaddles," and "flatbroke33."

Did Full Tilt ever pay their players? ›

In 2012, the Full Tilt brand was purchased by PokerStars. One of the conditions of the purchase required that PokerStars pay back all players to whom Full Tilt still had outstanding debt. Player paybacks were a long, slow process. Beginning in April 2014, affected players began to finally receive compensation.


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