On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, the US online poker world entered a new era with the launch of Ultimate Poker in Nevada. This era has already begun in other locales around the globe, where regulated markets are starting to outnumber the unregulated ones, and more importantly, where sites are starting to abide by the laws of the different countries they operate in. It would appear that slowly but surely the online poker world is changing. Gone are the days of unregulated markets and a Wild West attitude towards the games, and US poker players are going to be faced with some very hard truths moving forward in the new poker environment.
In this series I’ll take a look at five truths the poker community will have to get used to in the new online poker climate. In this installment I’ll take a look at two things that will likely be enforced at legal US poker rooms, capped stakes and a ban on P2P transfers. Get the latest updates from around the poker world at our Titan Poker News page.
One of the first things I noticed about Ultimate Poker was that the company had capped its stakes at fairly low limits — $5/$10 for No Limit games and $10/$20 for Fixed Limit games. I would have said that this was done to keep their small player-pool bunched together if capped stakes weren’t taking hold at other online poker site, chief among them Party Poker.
By capping the stakes online poker sites accomplish the following:
- No loss of rake since whether the stakes are $10/$20 or $1,000/$2,000 the rake itself is capped, usually at $3.
- Like a slow restaurant removing half their tables it keeps all of the players together, giving the appearance of a busier site, and keeping tables from constantly being short-handed and breaking.
- It eliminates many of the cheating complaints and charges leveled across poker forums. If cheats can only expect to make $2,000 instead of $200,000 online poker is not as appealing to them.
- It eliminates the potential for money laundering through chip-dumping.
- It keeps player losses to a “reasonable” amount, effectively destroying the “you could log on and lose your house in an hour” argument used by gaming opponents.
Capping the stakes will only aggravate high-level pros, but they are such a small segment in the poker world this really won’t be a problem –although it will probably seem like the end of the world if you read 2+2.
Bans on P2P Transfers
The second change players will have to get used to will be a ban on Player-to-Player transfers. This shouldn’t be a big deal since it will once again be easy to move money on and off a poker site, but players –especially backers and their horses—have grown used to this method of funding a poker account over the years.
The reason P2P transfers will likely be prohibited is to appease people concerned about underage gamblers getting online, and players circumventing deposit limits. P2P transfers have historically been the cause of numerous scamming ranging from people getting rolled when exchanging money to players simply abusing the system.
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