It has been said often that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. That might be true, but no one was prepared for the Black Friday shutdown of three of online poker’s largest sites, at least in terms of their US player bases. In effect, the seizure of domain names for Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker means that at least for the time being, all US players are suspended from playing at those sites. That means that the games at every level will be less available than they were before, with the nosebleed games likely taking a noticeable downswing as some of the biggest players won’t be able to sit at the table. It is bad news for US players for sure, but the bad news for US players was of relatively little concern to Gus Hansen, though, as he still managed to log about 5,000 hands AND finish a $700K winner for the weekend.
It is worth noting that in the week ending on April 17th, Hansen is actually a winner to the tune of just under $1.6 million, and even more surprising is that half of that came after the market was closed to US players. Most of his profits came in 300/600 Pot Limit Omaha, where Patrik Antonius and harington25 contributed the majority of the profits. The nosebleed games changed dramatically over the weekend, as players like Matt Hawrilenko and Josh Arieh started out strong but then disappeared after Full Tilt suspended play for US players. Even that did not deter Hansen and his seemingly unstoppable heater that has thus far lasted for almost all of 2011.
Online poker as a whole has a rather cloudy and uncertain future, and the future income that might be available to Top non-US pros is largely in question, as well. But as long as the game is going somewhere, it’s probably a safe bet that high rollers like Hansen will be involved. What is less clear is the future of online players that have built six and seven figure bankrolls while based in the US. It is likely that they’ll be able to play again sometime, somewhere, but until they can get into a game, the action will most likely remain somewhat slow for Hansen, Antonius, and others. Maybe they’ll play each other, maybe they’ll get in some more ultra-high-stakes golf matches, but one thing is for sure — they won’t be playing online with their US counterparts anytime soon.
Stay tuned to FlopTurnRiver for updates on all of the best high stakes action online, and wherever you are playing poker these days, Good Luck at the Tables!