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The original article below was published by us on April 19th 201. We will leave the original article unedited here, but in the light of later events, we have added a few comments.

As it turned out, player bankrolls at Full Tilt Poker must be considered as a writeoff. It seems that the way Full Tilt was run, with player bankrolls being used to pay out huge sums to owners and pro players, it was a scam operation. The least that can be said is that it was a gross mistake not to keep player bankrolls and company profits in separate accounts.

Even if the alleged takeover by Groupe Bernard Tapie will actually happen, it remains doubtful whether any player, US or elsewhere, will be paid. The other operators like Absolute and UB had a reputation for scamming and manipulating already long before they were targeted my the DOJ, and there is zero chance anyone will be refunded their bankrolls there.

Fortunately, at least Pokerstars managed to survive the events, by pulling out of the US market and cooperating with the investigation. Also, they seem to have managed their funds better that FT, and had enough funds to continue their operation. Pokerstars thus can still be considered a safe place. Still, at the time the article below was published, it would have been prudent to cash out in time.

The consequence of the whole affair is that anyone who is not forced to choose a poker websites that offers their services to US players (read: any non-US citizen), should not deposit any money at such a site. Anyone who still does is risking a total loss of his money. Also, it would seem to be prudent to choose an operator like 888 (read our review here), who do not depend on revenues from their poker operation alone.

We would also like to point out that when we posted the original article (see below), player could still cash out at Full Tilt, so anyone who would have heeded our warning would have not lost their bankroll (at least at Full Tilt).

Original article, posted on April 19th 2011:

USA - BREAKING NEWS: FBI seizes the domains of Full Tilt, Poker Stars!

This piece of news has shocked the poker world: The FBI has seized the domains of some online poker sites (Full Tilt, Poker Stars, Absolute Bet, Ultimate Bet). These poker rooms, or better their owners, are now under indictment, because they have violated the U.S. law prohibiting money processing of deposits and cashouts  for online gambling (the law also known as UIGEA). In addition, a number of accounts with hundreds of millions of dollars of assets were frozen. Among other things, some payment processors used and owned by Full Tilt and Pokerstars seem to have used offshore companies as fronts to buy into smaller U.S. banks, in order to be able to manage players' funds through those banks. These accounts are now probably in the hands of the Justice Department.

The consequences for non-US poker players

At this stage, there is no way of telling whether the affected rooms will recover at all from this blow. In part, they have already transferred their Web sites to other domains, and the poker servers (located offshore) still work mostly. However, Poker Stars, as a consequence, already has closed access to the poker servers closed for all Americans. This will of course have a massive impact to the fish factor, since loose U.S. players have been a huge part of the player pool. It is also to be expected that the high-stakes action at Full Tilt and Pokerstars will decline.
The biggest problem though is certainly the issue of security of the poker player funds. It is questionable, giving the freezing of a large number of accounts of Poker Stars and Full Tilt, whether the bankrolls of the players are safe. There has already been a run on withdrawals, and we recommend strongly that all players should cash out their funds from the affected rooms while thy still can. It is advisable to request payments via the likes of Neteller and Moneybookers, as bank transfer or check  should be difficult for all of these rooms at present. Of course, Full Tilt and Stars have already sent emails assuring players that their funds are safe and all that will have no negative effect on non-US player. But one should not trust those statements too much. Keep in mind that the rooms have no choice but to make promises like this, because after they have now lost the entire U.S. market, they can hardly afford to lose the rest of the world as well. So leaving your money at those rooms is highly negligent at the very least!

Important Advice:
if due to a necessary software update of the poker software you cannot update via the normal login (this function in fact downloads the update from the sites that due to blocking by the FBI are no longer accessible), you should do the following:
1. Write down your user name and password
2. Go to or and download the latest version of the software
3. Start the software, enter your users data and then initiate a cash out

Other consequences for all poker players outside the U.S.

As a consequence of these events, it has to be said that it is apparently no longer safe to play at poker rooms that accept American players despite the legislation in the U.S. The arm of American justice, is very long obviously, and bank accounts holding player being grabbed by the judiciary can have fatal consequences for the players' bankroll, even if online poker is legal in their countries. Apart from that, Full Tilt and Poker Stars recently haven't exactly excelled in terms of good customer friendliness and service, which is why many poker players maliciously speak of "bad karma".

There are alternatives to these poker rooms, and in the given situation, it is understandable that the competition tries to usurp market shares. Two poker rooms in particular must be considered as prime alternatives, and those are 888 Poker and 888 Poker.

The biggest share of players disgruntled by recent developments will certainly go to 888 Poker, since the iPoker network will now most likely grow to be the World's largest provider for online poker. The safest and best room in this network is undoubtedly 888 Poker. Regarding number of players and selection of cash games, size of the tournament calendar and major tournament events with guaranteed prize money, 888 poker is currently probably the only real alternative to Poker Stars and Full Tilt. 

In view of recent developments, the solid and reliable payment processing at 888 is an important argument for many players. With years of experience in online gambling and the sports betting business, excellent service and a huge tournament program, this is just the provider, where players shocked by recent events can feel comfortable and safe. 888 has never accepted U.S. players and is therefore safe from prosecution by the U.S. authorities.
Use this link for the current bonus/download link to go to 888 Poker. The bonus code for 888 is COACH, and it is the same code no matter which bonus amount you choose.

888 Poker has recently launched a massive marketing campaign, the software has been completely renovated, and as a reaction to the situation, 888 Poker has come up with an ingenious marketing coup: For many tournaments with guaranteed prize money, the prize money is now twice the amount at 888 Poker!

Customer service at 888 always was one of the best in the industry. Only in terms of tournament choice they have limped behind a little, but this could change now. 888 Poker should soon attract a large amount of former Full Tilt and Pokerstars players, and we predict that 888 will make a giant leap forward in player numbers. Incidentally, there is still the offer of a free $ 88 bankroll, plus the regular bonus of $ 400. This bonus was always rather easy to clear, and therefore 888 is an ideal alternative to Poker Stars and Full Tilt players adhering to the lower cash game levels.
Prerequisite for the free $ 88 and the later bonus is to clear your cookies (see here for more information) before visiting the website of 888 Poker through this link. You also need to use 888 Poker coupon code 341708 when signing up and/or depositing. To get the $ 88 free bankroll, after signing send an email to us with your 888 player name 888 (click here to send - a contact form will open in new window).

We hope that you will be able to claim your Full Tilt and Pokerstars funds without problems - and we'll see you then, at 888 poker ... or 888!