I was getting ready to go upstairs and go to bed when I decided to take a quick look at PokerStars the online poker site. They’re in the midst of their Spring Championship of Online Poker which means a bunch of higher stakes tournaments are running.
Call me crazy but I can’t figure out who buys into a tournament with a $10,000 + $300 entry fee? That’s a lot of trust when the casino is somewhere in the ether and its decisions aren’t answerable to American courts. Most of the players probably won their way in through lower cost satellite tournaments, so the $10,300 figure is a little misleading. Still, there were 615 entrants representing a cumulative $6,150,000 to be distributed to winners! Mind boggling.
I’ve never heard of anyone being burned by the larger online casinos, but they’re not exactly FDIC insured.
They’ve been playing that tournament for 10:30 hours now. 65 players are left. The next person out doubles their money with a little over $20,000. The big winner will get $1,162,350.
I’ve been following a smaller tournament more closely. There are only three players left so a little more tension. The original buy-in 12:33 ago was $50 + $5. 6,542 started this tournament. Top prize is $40,200.
Like the $10k event the $55 buy-in is more trust than I’d comfortably bestow a business I can’t find in the phonebook.
While I was just typing the tournament went to two players. The guy who busted out walks away unhappy though up $18,331.20. A poker tournament payout table isn’t linear. The difference between first and third is immense. Even winners are unhappy in poker when they’re not the big winner.
A while ago when there were four players three tried to fashion a deal to split the cash. One player (based on his reported locale) seemed to be Russian and probably didn’t understand. Play on!
Online poker exists is some sort of nearly legal state. As I understand it what the players are doing is legal. It’s just getting money to the online casino that’s problematic. The games themselves aren’t regulated by anyone within the United States. That much I know for sure. It’s possible collusion or other cheating goes on, but that probably happens in brick-and-mortar casinos too.
People are playing. Lots of them are here in the states probably playing in pajamas. Laws only work when people want them to.