The effect of Black Friday on PokerStars

In this article I will examine the effects that the Department of Justice and FBI crackdown on online poker in the United States has had on PokerStars and the long-term forecast for where PokerStars goes from here, as well as touch upon how I feel the site has handled the situation as a whole.

PokerStars: Past, Present and Future

PokerStars has been the sitting at the apex of the online poker pyramid since the withdrawal of Party Poker from the US market in late 2006 over UIGEA concerns, and despite now having to leave the US Market themselves, PokerStars has easily maintained its supremacy as the world’s most heavily trafficked online poker room, although not without cost.

PokerStars has seen overall traffic decrease some 26% since April 15 according to This is by far the smallest decrease of the three poker rooms that were indicted, and should be seen as a testament to PokerStars long-term outlook and global marketing campaigns over the past few years. Unlike their competitors, PokerStars has gone to great lengths to branch out from simply an online poker site coveting US players to opening new markets by creating localized poker tours, and organizing their sponsored players into teams based on their country.

It’s quite likely that PokerStars will never be allowed back into the US market in its current form, even if online poker is legalized in the US -it’s anyone’s guess what will happen if the site is sold or partners with another company in the interim-but with their global positioning in the online poker market it’s likely the site will continue to prosper, at least until the US market reopens.

PokerStars and Black Friday

Of the three affected poker sites, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute/UB Poker, PokerStars has done the best job in dealing with the situation, and is the only site that has already started refunding US players their money. Obviously as the top online poker room they were in the best position to do so, but PokerStars has always claimed they have enough cash on hand to cover all player deposits -the only poker site that has ever made this claim-and after quickly refunding players this appears to be the case.

Thus Far PokerStars has not only refunded players their funds, but has also decided on how to compensate players for their Frequent Player Points as well (once again proving why PokerStars is hands down the best run online poker site):

“PokerStars has obtained an approval from the US Department of Justice that will allow former US players to use their FPPs in the PokerStars VIP Store to purchase VIP Reward Bonuses. These VIP Reward Bonuses, once purchased, result in cash being instantly deposited into the account of the purchaser. These funds will immediately be available for cash out.”

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