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Poker Legislation & PPA Discussion hosted by Rich Muny Discussions of various poker-related laws and steps players can take to push for better laws.

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Old 04-17-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
John Pappas - PPA
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The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

Players --

These are undoubtedly difficult times for the poker community. Whether you are full time grinder or a recreational player we have all been adversely affected by the DoJ’s actions that have effectively shut down our game. Rest assured that the PPA is doing all we can to lessen the impact of all this and while change won’t happen immediately we are on the case. Tomorrow, all PPA members will be getting an email letting them know what they can do to fight back. Next week will be very important for us to get our message and frustrations heard.

Starting today, the PPA would like to begin cataloging the stories of poker players who are affected by the DoJ prosecution. We are asking 2+2 forum members to post their stories in this thread. The media is already clamoring to learn about how this impacts Americans. We want to direct them to this thread and to other places so they can get a flavor of the good and honest Americans who have been trampled on by our government. Please post your story here.

Also, if you would be interested in serving as a player surrogate to speak to the media please email us at with your contact info. We may be able to use your story with targeted media.
Thanks for supporting this small effort to tell our story. Again, PPA members will be getting more info on ways to take action tomorrow!

Proud to play,

John A. Pappas
Executive Director, PPA


Mod note:
This isn't a debate thread. This is a thread on personal stories. Anyone who wants to post their feelings concerning the merits of playing online poker for a living or of beliefs that online poker is somehow rigged needs to take those comments elsewhere.

Last edited by Rich Muny; 04-21-2011 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

Besides working for the PPA, and before I ever worked a day fighting for poker, I played poker. I learned to play on PartyPoker in 2001, and was able to supplement my scholarship in college with poker winnings. I was caught up in the Neteller meltdown, and had almost $8,000 frozen and thought gone. At 23, that might have well be a million bucks, I thought I would never recover. Now after April 15th 2011, I am sitting here just so bummed out. My hobby, my recreation, my place to vent out my frustrations through intense competition has been taken from me, not to mention a secondary income that I surely enjoyed. While I now have a similar amount of money caught up online, its no longer as dire to me financially as it was then. I will be ok. But I wont be happy about. Something I cared about was taken from me. I will not stop fighting until I get it back.

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Old 04-17-2011, 06:02 PM   #3
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 28 year old professional poker player. I have been playing professionally since August of 2008 after I quit my job as a structural engineer in Las Vegas - a job that it would be unlikely I'd still have today due to the economy in the US. The office where I worked now has seven people working there which is down from approximately 65 when I chose to leave in 2008.

I've been playing online poker for the last three years exclusively on Full Tilt Poker. I chose the site because of their reputation and because they did not offer any other types of casino games such as blackjack or Keno. I knew that poker is a game of skill and I knew of the UIGEA and I did not want to play on a site that offered games of chance that would increase the chances that the site would be prosecuted by the government.

I'm married and my wife and I were looking to move away from Las Vegas so that we could be closer to her family, help them out (family illness I'm not going to discuss) and also start a family of our own soon. Online poker provided me the opportunity to live wherever we wanted and still make a good income. It also provided us the freedom to have my wife work part time since I could work from home and provide a better life for the children we planned to have.

We found our dream house, put in an offer and are currently in escrow right now. It was really a perfect situation for us. Since I pay my taxes, online poker has given me the chance to prove to mortgage lenders that I'm the type of person that they want to lend money to, even in this horrible economy.

On April 15th, I found out that apparently our dreams are going to have to wait. The government decided that instead of regulating online poker and providing consumer safeguards, they were going to indict the owners of the sites and shut down online poker. I have dozens of friends who play for a living, pay taxes, support families and have done so for years because online poker was available to them. If my small cross section of friends has that many people who this was so devastating to, I cannot imagine how many more people across the country are in a similar spot.

Not only did they do so with no warning, but they did so right after all of us have just paid our taxes on our income which is derived from online poker. We have done everything that we are supposed to do and we are being punished. I personally have more than 50% of my net worth sitting on Full Tilt Poker because that's where it's supposed to be. My tax return lists my profession as "professional card player" and my bankroll is right where it needs to be, yet now I'm worried that the DOJ might decide to keep it.

They have made such a drastic change to the lives of thousands of honest and hard working Americans and we are suffering, despite committing no crime. They have taken the jobs of people for almost no reason at all, when the economy in our country is worse than it has been since the 1930's. It all seems so backwards.

Now because of the DOJ's actions, we will likely not be able to move. Our dream home will slip through our hands and back onto the market. My wife's family who needs our help will also have to wait. We are now stuck in Las Vegas because there are no jobs for me to get near my wife's family. We will also have to wait to start a family because we do not want to raise a child in Las Vegas. I know other people have far more dire situations than my own, but it is a pretty depressing time right now in our lives because of what our government has decided to do. I really wish that my hard earned money hadn't gone to paying taxes for a government that would do this to its people.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

Over the last two years I have worked to build a profitable side business playing poker and teaching others how to play as well. Currently I derive a significant portion of my taxable income from playing and coaching. I pay my taxes. I am a good citizen.

I feel that in an economic climate where maximizing tax revenue is of the utmost importance, and finding a job is difficult, putting someone out of business, and making them unable to pay the taxes is backwards. I would happily have paid for the right to continue to operate my business. However the DOJ's actions in shutting down my right to play poker is completely contrary to my inalienable right to freedom that this country once represented.

I hope that I can continue to keep paying my mortgage. I hope that I can continue to buy my two year old daughter food. I hope that I can still spend money helping the health of the economy. I hope that the government restores my right to pursue a venture that is unquestionably skill based and legal. I find it hard to believe that the government condones gambling through the lottery which preys on the economically downtrodden and refuses to acknowledge that poker is not gambling, it is a skill game.

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Old 04-17-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

edit- Ah looks like someone was trolling
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:07 PM   #6
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

Thanks AcidKnight.

Stories like yours not only will be useful in the media, they are what motivates me to continue to fight on.


Last edited by Skallagrim; 04-17-2011 at 06:21 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'd recommend mods get control of this thread and delete posts, hand out bans liberally or you aren't going to get all the stories you want.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:13 PM   #8
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!


I recently graduated with two B.S. degrees, one in Microbiology and one in Molecular Genetics. Currently looking for a full time job, but have been unsuccessful so far. I do work 15 hrs/wk part time, but the pay is poor and the job is not fun. I also have about 14k in government student loans that I must begin making payments on in September of this year.

I play online poker for extra income on the side, and typically make 3-4 times more per hour than I do at my part time job. The money made from online poker was going to go towards my monthly living expenses and student loans while searching for a full time job. After graduating, I've worked really hard on improving my game (finally have some free time!), and am positive I would have been able to pay off the entire balance of my student loans in one fell swoop - a personal goal of mine.

However, with the recent shenanigans by the DOJ I am unsure if I will ever get my 5,000$ of hard earned cash back that comprises my online bankroll. They have yet to make it clear what they will do with my money now that it has been seized. Their actions are preventing me from participating in my favorite hobby, earning money, challenging my brain with the math/logic/psychology inherent in this game, and socializing with other poker players from around the world.

If my employment situation does not improve soon, several months from now I will have but only a small paycheck coming in every other week to live off of, and the funds I currently have saved in my bank account will be gone.

Definitely not a tragic sob story, but it's still an unpleasant situation to be in.

Looking forward to hearing stories from other posters. Good idea for a thread.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:14 PM   #9
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

Originally Posted by Skallagrim View Post
Thanks AcidKnight.

Stories like yours not only will be useful in the media, they are what motivates me to continue to fight on.


Feel free to do whatever you'd like with it and if there's anything that I can do to be more helpful to the cause here, please don't hesitate to send me a PM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:18 PM   #10
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 22 year old professional poker player. I turn 23 in July. I've played professionally for about a year now. I play nl 100 and 200 on full tilt. I started playing poker for money when I was 16 years old.

When I was younger I went to school and realized college wasn't for me. I did a lot of self exploring over the next couple of years and got into pretty rough times with drugs and a lot of other illegal activity. Luckily I didn't end up in prison, but I did end up in the hospital because of my problems. I was able to get sober from the hard stuff about two years ago and I haven't touched anything besides marijuana and alcohol since then.

My path as a professional poker player started when I went back to school yet again after becoming sober and again realized it wasn't for me. School and regular jobs are not suited for everybody. I am very independent and I don't do well taking orders from anybody. My plan for my future is not so much to be a professional poker player for the rest of my working career, but to raise capital to start investing in businesses, real estate, and the stock market. The best way to accomplish this end has been to play poker online.

Currently I am working on starting a record label, recording studio, and artist management company. With my income from online poker all of this would have been relatively easy to start up over the next 5-6 months. I had everything budgeted out so I could open up the studio/office at the end up September. This doesn't only effect me at this point. There are a few friends I have that live in the ghetto that this company could have helped get out of their circumstances. Not only that, but this business would help to stimulate the economy, so now it effects everybody.

Luckily I live in South Florida, so I can play live, but playing live 1-2 is like taking a 60-80% pay cut (I have no idea how much I'm going to make live but from my research in the past I think it's something like $15/hr at 1-2 or something like that). I told myself last year I'd never work for anybody else again and now I'm going to have to take a job very far from my home. I don't have a car because I haven't needed one working from home, and it didn't really make sense spending on a car I don't need when I have a business to save for.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:18 PM   #11
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm 35 with a full time job and play poker part time as a fun hobby and supplemental income. I have around $10k on Stars and $5k on Full Tilt plus I have about $4k of FPP's I want to cash in on Stars and was planning on getting another $4k this year on bonuses and about $10k at the tables. So, I have $15k of liquid cash tied up. I have $4k of bonuses tied and about $14k of future earnings this year I can't make because of this.

Needless to say, I'm not a happy camper, but my only debt is my house and I hope to pay it off within the next few years and I still have may day job. I'm also hopeful I'll get my poker money eventually. I'm just really disappointed I can't apply my skills anymore and have to look to play more live now.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am a 27 year old poker player. I have played professionally relying solely on my online poker income for the past 4 years. I’m married and we just bought a house in California six months ago. The DOJ’s actions have put a sudden halt to my ability to make a living and support my family. It’s possible we could lose our house and everything we own because of the DOJ’s decision. Nothing I ever did was illegal and I paid all of my taxes. In fact, because poor the timing of the indictments fell right after I paid a large portion of my liquid cash to taxes and most of my net worth is frozen online, I have been put in a very difficult position that will not be easy to resolve.

I pray that our federal government will realize the way they’ve treated online poker is unfair and backwards. As an American I like to think the freedoms I was thought this country stood for actually existed. The problem is not Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, but the system that was created from them to run in.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:23 PM   #13
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am in the minority of the pro poker player group in that I am middle age.

I am 44 years old and have been an online professional for 7 years now.

I have a wife and five (yes 5) children. Two are now adults and the other three live at home.

I quit a very solid job 7 years ago because I made more part time playing poker. Without getting into too many specifics I consistently make (and report) 6 figures to the IRS. If I were to return to the work force now it would be disastrous for my family. I would be forced to accept a 30-40K a year job if I could even find one after 7 idle years. I do have 15 years experience but being out of the loop for a long time has consequences. My wife has not worked since our 7 year old was born. She has experience as well but has also been idle for years. At our ages, we understand we are less desirable hires considering our absence for so long.

As a result of this, I am forced to consider leaving the country and either a) relocating my entire family or b) leaving them here and visiting when I can. Neither option is acceptable.

I do not have much money in the bank. As you can imagine with a family my size it isn't easy to set aside money. My expenses are extreme. In the absence of a resolution or alternate plan immediately, my life will change and change for the worse VERY quickly.

I am not located in a state where land-based casions exist so grinding live is not really a viable option either.

The bottom line is I have no good options....

I appreciate everything the PPA is doing for me and my family and hope my details can help in the understanding of the plight of many. I am not a young kid. I am not a degenerate. I am a father, a husband and a family man. I will do whatever is necessary to take care of my family. I just feel that I have the right to do whatever I please within a legal framework. That right has been taken away from me by the country I love.

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Old 04-17-2011, 06:31 PM   #14
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 25 year old medical student who will be graduating this May before beginning my residency on July 1st, in NJ. I am in the process of signing papers to buy a condo, the mortgage for which I will barely be able to cover, especially with the massive amount of student loans I've racked up. I was planning on playing poker on PokerStars during the month of June. While I am just a recreational player that plays small stakes and does not have much money online, earning an extra several hundred dollars would have made it much easier to manage in the beginning.

I know I don't have the saddest or most exciting story, but I wanted to show that many types of people are being affected here. I sometimes rely on online poker to keep me sane amidst the hard working hours I put in. Especially to be in a state that came so close to opening its own online casinos, it is extremely frustrating to be blocked like this.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #15
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am 37 years old and have been playing online since the Party Poker days. I quit a good job at an insurance company in 2007 to play full time. Since that time this is what I have done with income generated from poker:

- Paid 10's of thousands of dollars in taxes.
- Purchased a home.
- Opened an online clothing business that has a full time employee.

This is what those things look like without online poker:

- Pay very little in taxes.
- Lose my home.
- Lay off my employee and most likely sell off my business.

Even though it isn't surprising this day was coming, the manner and the swiftness with no warning is surprising and saddening. The fact that players had no warning or time to cash out the money we have on these sites and make alternate plans, makes me really angry. None of us have any idea when we will be seeing that money to even begin putting our lives back together.

What do I tell my employee? What do I tell the people I stake? With a big chunk of my net worth online, I have no clue how much money I will have 2 months, 6 months, 1 year from now. How do I make uninformed decisions that not only affect me but so many others? The fact that the country I love has put me into this spot and has put so many other of my friends into even worse spots, makes me sad. Just really sad.

Last edited by McNitterson; 04-17-2011 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:50 PM   #16
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 41 year old engineering consultant. I played live poker for years. For the last three years, I've played poker online for fun and for a bit of side income when it is hard to find engineering work. I'll miss the money, but the convenience and being able to spend time with friends around the world will be a bigger hit.

When I got married and we had our child, playing online provided a great way to enjoy my favorite hobby while not having to spend 3 hours in the car round trip to the nearest casinos (or hopping a plane to Vegas to play for a long weekend). For me, loss of online poker is a huge hit to convenience and will cost me time with my family if I continue by playing live. It is wonderful to be able to play a couple hours after my family goes to bed, from the convenience of my own house. Poker goes from being a zero impact hobby to one that I have to balance against time lost.

The online poker world is a great community. I talk every day to other serious recreational players and pros who are around the world. I now have friends in Europe, Israel, South Africa, and all over the US. If you want to talk about gaining understanding about the rest of the world, share a hobby with people and get to know them. The idea of losing these communities bothers me. I've met in person with poker friends from around the world, and the people involved in this game are great.

I've always known that if I had trouble finding another contract, I had poker as an option to cover my expenses. As a consultant, this backup plan allows me to be more picky about the contracts I take and represents financial freedom. In addition, my poker bankroll provided an additional cash reserve in case something unexpected came up. Given the uncertainty over seeing my online money in a reasonable period of time, the DOJ has hit me twice. First, I have to be more cautious about transition times between clients. Previously, I've had the option of looking for better clients, and bidding larger jobs that take longer to find and allow me to hire other people. Second, the potential loss of my bankroll means that my cash reserves have potentially taken a decent loss.

I'm in nowhere near as bad a shape as the pros who depend on poker for a living. However, the DOJ actions will have a negative impact on my family's finances and potentially force me to spend time away from them if I decide to try to recoup some of my lost income via playing live. Friday was a sad day for all of us.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:57 PM   #17
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am a 28 year old teacher and I play poker casually online. It is an intellectually challenging and engaging game of skill that I, not living near a casino, would otherwise would not be able to play.

My story goes no further than that; other than losing my favorite hobby, I cannot bemoan the loss of my livelihood, my dreams, or my future. Even still, my story is that of most players, those who enjoy poker for the exciting, competitive, and challenging game that it is, and who now have had that privilege ripped away from them. Poker is not a crime. It is a game of skill in which adults voluntarily agree to risk their own money, akin to the stock market, that venerable shrine to capitalism on which this country claims to rest.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:02 PM   #18
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 26 year old professional poker player. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Finance back in 2007. While I played the game throughout college, upon graduating I did things "the right way" and took a position in the corporate world. It wasn't very long before the economy went downhill and I was downsized. Trying to find work in these times was the most depressing time I hope to ever experience. Living off unemployment, applying to hundreds of jobs, miraculous to actually get a call back let alone an interview. Months stretched to over a year and you don't even want to get out of bed. So I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands.

I had played poker throughout college but was certainly a losing to break-even player. I felt if there was ever an opportunity to apply myself and take the game seriously, it was now. I had $300 in my Pokerstars account, practiced good bankroll management that I had learned, and simply went to work. I was attached to 2+2, reading anything I could to improve. I thought about the game every waking hour. By the end of 2010 I was consulting with a CPA to ensure my taxes were in order after posting a profitable year that would be tough to match with the job opportunities in my area.

I was on pace for a 6 figure 2011. My girlfriend and I were househunting. I intended to keep making money and gradually branch off into other income streams. All of that is over. I have enough money offline for about 2 months living expenses. As a result of this, and the tax day looming, I requested a wire from Pokerstars for $14k on April 7th. I haven't received it, and don't expect to. On top of that, another $21k sitting on Pokerstars. All I can do is just stare at it and wonder if it even exists. What's worse is taking on investors for the upcoming Borgata Spring Open. Foreign individuals transferring me funds on Pokerstars. I can't even give it back to them. People who shouldn't be subject to the absurdity of all this are suffering.

What the government has done is worse than actually getting laid off. On top of taking away potential income that I have devoted so much time and effort to make, they have taken away what I thought I already earned. I was fired plus "my boss" decided to take back what I already made.

Went to Barne's and Noble today. Picked up the Police Officer Examination Book. Excited to take it, except two of my friends took it over a year ago, did well, and are on the waiting list.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:07 PM   #19
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am an attorney. I've been playing poker online recreationally for about six years now. I work for the government, so I make considerably less than a private attorney would. I have a very supportive wife and a wonderful daughter. In 2010 we bought our dream house. Because the housing market was so bad we kept our other house and rented it out at a loss. Poker was a way for us to hold things together until the economy turned. We used poker winnings to pay for non-necessities.

With the downturn neither my wife nor myself has gotten a raise in about 4 years. Meanwhile, the cost of living keeps rising. We are trying to pay the mortgages on two houses because we don't want to go into foreclosure. We are also trying to provide more than a bare boned existence for our daughter. Poker is not a necessity for us financially, but it sure helps.

But more than that, poker is a way to relax and unwind. It has been my main hobby for the past ten years. It allows me to challenge myself mentally in an arena completely unrelated to my profession. I feel terribly for the people who have posted here who rely solely on online poker for their income. They have done nothing wrong here. While it is an inconvenience for me, it is ruinous for them.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:09 PM   #20
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I have been playing poker for several years now. When I graduated from a top university with a degree in finance, and lack of jobs given the current climate poker was my best option. I'm not in love with poker, but I felt the game provided me a way to make an honest living and provide for myself and family.

Unintentionally, I have probably learned more from poker in the few years I have been playing it than I have from almost 20 years of formal education. The people I have met and lessons I have learned from poker reach far beyond what I have ever learned about people or life from behind a desk.

I feel that poker is a pure and honest game. The difference with poker and other businesses/financial markets is that the motives and goals of both parties in poker is win the other players money by making better decisions. There is no politics, no hidden agendas, we are making decisions against competitors in an environment where results are provided almost immediately.
Everyone has access to equal information and the playing field is level. I cannot say this same thing about the financial markets that are held in such higher esteem than poker.

If you understand the nature and mathematics of poker, there is no conceivable way that it cannot be considered a game of skill.

Socially, most people look down upon people that play poker such as myself. I think this is likely because they don't understand the game. We are not playing against casinos, we are playing against other consenting adults in a game of decision making skill where information, motives, and results are completely transparent and fair.

I have derived substantial income from poker, and paid substantial taxes as a result of it. Without online poker, there is a good chance I will go from paying money to the US gov, to needing aid from the US government.

If for some reason player funds from this debacle are taken and not will be very clear and transparent who the dishonest party is in this situation.

I pay rake to online poker sites to provide me a safe and secure platform to play a game of skill that I believe it is my right to do so. They have fulfilled their end of this deal.

I pay the US govt to provide me protection, security, and freedom. Through this shakedown my freedom has been curtailed. If my money located in poker sites is taken by them, not only have they not provided me freedom, but they have stolen from me as well. If this were to happen, not only were my rights violated, but I was also actively stolen from. It is my position that they would not be holding up their end of this deal. I would in effect be paying money to be persecuted while conducting an honest non criminal life.

Last edited by umfml; 04-17-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:13 PM   #21
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 22 year old "recreational" player who found some success at online poker. I went to college, got my degree, and work 45+ hours a week at my full-time job. I am getting married in October and depended on online poker as an additional source of income. It increased my personal income by about 70%, which gave me a lot of financial flexibility, especially as I am about to pay for a wedding, honeymoon, and house almost completely by myself.

My fiance's parents didn't pay for any of her college, and she has racked up about $50k in student loan debt, because she attended college (where we met) as an out of state student. Her parents had little saved for a wedding, so I am paying for 85-90% of that myself as well. On top of all this, we are looking for a house to move into after we get married. She has a full-time job as well, but she is currently paying as much as she can toward her student loan debt, until we get married.

I am your typical, mid-western American who simply wants to "live the American dream" of getting married, starting a family, and buying a house. The DOJ's decision has greatly impacted my lifestyle, as I was planning on continuing success in poker to help gather enough funds for a sizable down payment on our first house, while maintaining a solid "safety net" for emergencies. Now, my down payment is sitting in limbo, and I feel helpless, as I am at the mercy of a department who did not think about the repercussions of their actions. Their actions have not been made clear, as to what will happen with our bankrolls, and I think that is unacceptable. I am not a criminal, or a degenerate, as I have never played any form of true gambling like blackjack, craps, lotto, etc. (besides losing $1 at nickel slots, once). I am an American, taxpaying citizen who simply wants a better life for myself and my future family.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:24 PM   #22
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 24 year old junior studying economics, poker has been my only source of income since i was 18, I played full time for two years then decided to go back to school and finish off my degree. I have one year left, and now that poker has been banned I am obviously concerned and have started looking for employment elsewhere. This ban has completely effected my future plans drastically and I will now be moving home in order to save money while i finish up my last year of school.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:33 PM   #23
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 46 year-old former attorney. I quit practicing law in 2007. In 2009, I inadvertently backed into a new, full time job as a poker coach specializing in using poker database software to identify and plug leaks in the games of online poker players.

This indictment has left me essentially jobless. I was making a living supporting my family (my wife was recently laid off) offering a legal service to players engaging in a legal activity (and I was, of course, playing online as well). The forced departure of the major poker sites from the United States eliminated the need for my services for the roughly 90% of my customer base that reside in the United States.

I was also deriving a substantial part of my income from playing online poker, and needless to say, my ability to earn that portion of my income has been eliminated as well. Moreover, I have almost $40,000 in balances on the two major poker sites combined, and this money is now in legal limbo.

I think it is important to note that I have not deposited any money on an internet poker site since August of 2006. Every transaction I have ever made with a poker site was completely legal for both me and the poker site. Nevertheless, overnight, the Department of Justice transformed me from somebody with a year's worth of living expenses immediately available, who was proudly supporting his family with a job he loved, and who was days away from buying a new house in Las Vegas, into someone who is unemployed and cash strapped.

I'll get through it. I have funds available in tax deferred retirement accounts that I can access if worst comes to worst. It is, however, a damning statement on the perversity of our government that the same government that put me in a financial crisis by forcibly eliminating my legal job will also penalize me if I have to access those retirement accounts to weather the financial crisis it caused for me in the first place.

I'll get through it, as I said. I have confidence in my ability to find a new way to make a living. But I'd like someone in authority to explain to me why my government fights tooth and nail against every effort I make to earn an honest living. Mr. Bharara? Anyone?
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:39 PM   #24
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I'm a 32 year old amateur poker player, based in Austin, Texas. During six months of unemployment, I killed time by playing an offline poker video game called "Poker Night at the Inventory," primarily because it was funny.

When I got a job, I decided to try my hand at playing poker online. I deposited $100 (a reasonable amount I could easily afford) to play what are called "Micro-stakes," where you typically sit down at a table with about two dollars. I vowed that I would risk no more than $2 a day. That's cheaper and more fun than a lottery ticket!

Because I didn't have a lot of practice, of course, I started out losing money, as I expected. Poker is a game of skill, and with practice, you can improve a skill.

My online bankroll dipped to around $75 at one point, but then two things happened.

A couple of weeks before the raid, I won a "freeroll" on Full Tilt Poker. It cost me no money to enter. In these freerolls, I scored in the top 250 out of 10000 players in order to win entry into a second tournament with cash prises. I placed 42nd in that tournament, beating out 17,000 other players, and winning $12. The money wasn't the important thing of course - I wasn't playing as a career, but I felt really, really proud that I was able to improve my skill to that point.

I also switched up my game from No Limit to Limit. I found that without the complexity of some of the aspects of bet sizing, I was able to win more regularly and more often, as well as play for longer periods of time with less risk. Since switching to Limit, I have been up $18, and I consider myself a "winning" poker player, though only at the nickel-and-dime stakes that I play.

I don't have my livelihood online in Full Tilt. I do have $90 of my original $100 stake, (not including $6 in bonuses). I'd like the money back, of course, I could buy a video game or a nice dinner for my friends.

But what I've lost is significant. I've lost a way to practice my poker, and to get better at it. I've lost the fun game that I enjoy.

Living in Austin, Texas, I don't have the ability to play poker in a brick-and-mortar casino, and traveling to Vegas to play is too expensive - not just in travel expenses, but also in stakes. My $90 bankroll in Full Tilt, playing reasonably, was enough for 22 buy-ins of $4 each at $0.10/0.20. Casinos in Las Vegas - in addition to requiring $300 in airfare and $200 in hotel bills, start at $2/4. In order to buy-in, you need $80 at least. Most places start at $3/6, where you need $120. That's for a single game. It makes sense if you have the money to play higher limits, but for a beginning player like me, it's a losing proposition.

That just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I understand that if you -really like Las Vegas, you might want to make the trip, but I don't really like Las Vegas. Everything is way too expensive.

Organizing a local poker night isn't a good idea either. Mostly because everyone wants to play no-limit Holdem, which is a game I do poorly at. Even so, home games in Texas operate under the same lack of information that online poker has - I'm not even sure if they're legal and no one will give me an answer.

I'm not making money, I'm not making a living. But online poker is the only way that I can really reliably play because of my location and because I choose to be responsible with my money and not bet what I can't afford to lose.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:43 PM   #25
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Re: The PPA Wants to Know How This Impacts You -- Post Your Story in This Thread!

I am a 50 year old Partner in a global strategy consulting firm. I have played poker online for about a year. I have made a little money, but for me it is really about the intellectual and psychological exercise, I love the mental discipline and pure mathematical logic that surrounds the game. I don't really gamble and this has no relation to gambling for me. In fact the monetary aspect of it is what keeps the intellectual exercise real and doesn't exist in "play" games. I actually started on Zynga and realized that it was uninteresting because people didn't care whether they won or lost.

Politically, I am a centrist, not anti-government. For me, this is the first time I feel truly let down by my government. I often don't agree with government actions or policies but they are grounded in some rationale. This is different, this is government taking away something I enjoy for no reason at all. I am angry, and the actions are saddening.
I will spend my poker time reading or watching movies, life will go on and I am fine. But am left feeling a huge degree of cynicism that this is the act of government officials who, being too incompetent to do anything that would truly make our lives better, stumbles down a path drunkenly guided only by their own idiocy.
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