Despite the best efforts of some federal prosecutors in New York and Washington, the world of online poker did not come to a complete standstill after 15 April, or "Black Friday" as many called it. What is the current state of online poker?

The World Series Main Event saw its third-largest field in history, with many of the players coming from the ranks of online poker pros and skilled amateurs.

As the popularity of poker continues to increase, many influential names in both the business and political spheres are coming around to the idea of legal, regulated online poker in the US. 

Full Tilt on Life Support

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the regulatory agency that pulled its license from Full Tilt Poker after “Black Friday”, held a hearing to determine the fate of what was once the second-largest online poker site in the world. The agency declared that it would suspend judgment on the site until 15 September, when it would announce its decision. The commission suspended Full Tilt’s license on 29 June and the site has not been in operation since. 

Change of Heart?

Online PokerMeanwhile, some of the politicians who voted for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which precipitated much of the chaos seen after Black Friday, are apparently undergoing a change of heart. US Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) once compared the addictiveness of online gaming to “crack cocaine”.

Earlier this month, he stated that a bipartisan effort was underway to consider “(carving) out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill”. 

Caesars Entertainment CEO Optimistic

In an interview with the London Financial Times, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman said that he anticipated that efforts in Congress would lead to a structure for legal, taxed and regulated online poker. He mentioned “a sense of inevitability” that, given the current dire financial situation in Washington, that online poker would soon be legalized. As the largest casino gaming company in the world, Caesars Entertainment would be in a prime position to jump into a new, legal online poker market. 

Online Poker Refugees

Until then, many top US online poker pros are seeking refuge in other countries to ply their trade. A popular poker forum has established a thread where online poker players could seek out new locations to play legally. Forum members have offered to help poker players relocate to Canada and other online poker-friendly countries in Central America and Europe. The service would enable players to find a new place to stay, help with visas and give advice on moving to a new country. 

Former Microsoft Exec Joins PokerStars

PokerStars announced that former Microsoft marketing executive Alex Payne has joined the company as its Chief Marketing Officer. Payne served eleven years at the software giant, most recently as the UK marketing director for Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Payne had also worked for major advertising firms for ten years previous to his stint at Microsoft. In his new position at PokerStars, Payne will be in charge of branding, media buying and TV productions involving the world’s largest online poker site.