Sept. 30, 2010, will be a day to remember in the poker industry in the United States. For the first time, an online site is preventing players from a specific state from accessing their real-money poker environments. PokerStars announced on Thursday that players from Washington would no longer be allowed to play on PokerStars because of a recent ruling in the state's Supreme Court.
A post on their website explains their rationale for this decision:
"To date, PokerStars has operated in Washington on the basis of legal opinions where the central advice was that the state could not constitutionally regulate Internet poker, or at least could not discriminate in favor of local cardrooms and against online sites. Last week, however, the Washington Supreme Court for the first time rejected that position and upheld the state's Internet gaming prohibition.
"In light of this decision, following extensive consultation with our legal advisors, we believe that the right course of action is to now block real money play by Washington residents on the PokerStars.com site. This policy will remain in effect until the law changes or subsequent legal challenges succeed.... We regret this decision, which will no doubt disappoint our customers in Washington State. However, in all of the jurisdictions where we operate, we are committed to making responsible decisions that are based on a full and considered understanding of the most up-to-date legal advice."
Players from the state of Washington will have access to their accounts, and money can be withdrawn or transferred to another player. The play-for-free offering, PokerStars.net, will remain open to Washington residents. The site continues to operate with hopes of eventual legalization and regulation, and in its statement the site said it will continue to stand behind legislation that will remedy the issue.
It's a tough blow to the poker industry, and the Poker Players Alliance is asking its members for support with hopes of overturning the court ruling that created this situation.
"By no means is the fight over," PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato said. "The PPA will pursue other legal and legislative efforts to overturn this law and will continue to work with lawmakers in Washington state and Washington, D.C., to pass legislation to license and regulate online poker and protect the rights of poker players to enjoy the game they love wherever they chose to play it."
Players are in the money at the record-setting 848-player field at EPT London. The £5,000 buy-in event has become one of the most popular tour stops over the past few years, and with this year's turnout it became the largest live poker tournament in British history. The lucky individual who is able to bring home the title will earn £900,000, more than the champion of the WSOP Europe main event, a £10,000 buy-in.
In an event like this, PokerStars brings out its full roster, and if you look at the leaderboard it's basically a list of Team PokerStars Pros. Among the top chip leaders are Thomas Bichon, JP Kelly, Alex Kravchenko, Joe Hachem and Greg Raymer. It isn't all about PokerStars, however. Mixed among those names are notables John Juanda, Sam Stein, Phil Ivey and Jamie Brown.
Day 3 will kick off with David Vamplew leading the remaining 128 players, who have each earned themselves a minimum payday of £7,500. Action will conclude in this event at the final table on Monday and the £20,000 buy-in, high roller event will begin on Tuesday.
Small blinds: Liv Boeree became a free agent a few months ago, but it didn't take long before she found a new site to call home. The EPT San Remo champion signed with PokerStars this week. ... Annette Obrestad won the heads-up event at EPT London for £120,000. ... Recent EPT Vilamoura champion Toby Lewis won the £1,000 buy-in, side event at EPT London. ... "POTTERPOKER" won the $5,200 buy-in, WCOOP main event for $2.2 million. ... In other WCOOP news, Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo won his third WCOOP event and is the only player to have accomplished that feat. ... All WSOP Hall of Fame ballots were due Friday, Oct. 1. We'll find out shortly who gets the nod for induction. ...