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May 23, 2011

Live Poker Wins from the Online Poker Fallout

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Written by: Chris Wilcox
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Some poker players prefer to play their game in cyberspace, while others would rather size up their opponents face-to-face at a live poker table.

Right now, the latter is the only option.

“It’s either that, or find a new career,” poker pro Antonio Esfandiari said Saturday at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino before taking part in the Jennifer Harman Poker Throw Down. “A lot of these online guys never left home, never came out of the woodwork. Now, they are going to have to be popping up.”

Perhaps the biggest winners from the April 15 arrests of 11 online poker executives and shutdown of their services to U.S.-based customers “” dubbed Black Friday in poker circles “” are brick-and-mortar casino owners who offer live poker games.

American players who made their living at online poker have just two options for the time being: move out of the country to a destination where online poker is still legal, or take to the felt to keep a job.

Peppermill poker room manager Mike Gainey said he has noticed a significant increase in business.

“We’ve already seen quite a bump. New faces come in because they can’t play online anymore and they want to get their poker fix,” Gainey said. “They don’t stand out, but you can tell who the online players are because they are nervous … more nervous than the average guy.”

Seasoned pros such as Men “The Master” Nguyen said they are taking advantage of the indefinite suspension of online poker to beat up on their lesser-experienced opponents at the tables.

“They have to play with real people now, they can’t just do a click-click (with a computer mouse),” Nguyen said. “They can’t keep up with players who have done this all their lives. At a table, I can look at you. There are skills like reading players and betting patterns that come with experience. It’s good for pros like me … I can earn some more money.”

 

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