Why Were the Online Poker Sites Shut Down?
In a press release, US Attorney Preet Bharara asserts
that "these defendants concocted an elaborate
criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S.
banks and effectively bribing others to assure the
continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits." Bharara
also claimed that the defendants "engaged in
massive money laundering and bank fraud."
The FBI seized five internet domain names as a result
of these charges, including fulltiltpoker.com. Players
who attempt to visit the Full Tilt website will find
an FBI logo in place of legitimate Full Tilt content.
Soon after its domains were seized, Full Tilt Poker
and Poker Stars shut down its real money games to
US-based players. Those playing real money games at
the time found themselves unable to re-join games
after exiting the poker client.
As of right now, no USA players are accepted at Full
Tilt for real money play, nor can they join Pokerstars.
When or if the two poker sites will re-open to Americans
is unknown at this time.
Can USA Players Sign Up at Full Tilt Poker
No, USA players cannot sign up for real money games
at either of the sites. Full Tilt and Pokerstars are
closed to US players, whether its sign ups, free money
games or real money games. Given the severity of the
charges against Full Tilt and the Pokerstars founders,
the site has decided to withdraw from the US market
Some US players claim they are unable to open the
poker clients following a recent software update.
This is speculated to be a move by the two sites to
prevent US players from accessing the software entirely.
Can USA Players Deposit at Either Site?
No, USA players with existing Full Tilt Poker accounts
or Pokerstars accounts will not be able to make deposits
any time soon. The FBI has essentially frozen over
75 bank accounts in 14 different countries that were
associated with Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars and its
payment processors. This means that the two poker
sites capacity to process transactions in the United
States is severely limited at this time.
Can USA Players Withdraw from Pokerstars
or Full Tilt?
It is extremely difficult to withdraw from either
poker site at this time. American players would do
well to assume that their ability to process payments
in the US is crippled, and that funds might be tied
up on the site for a while.
Online poker forums are full of reports from players
claiming that cashout attempts from Full Tilt have
been futile. Most players' withdrawal requests are
simply denied. Some players reported having approved
cashouts retroactively declined hours later. Other
players report being frozen out of the Full Tilt poker
software entirely, thus unable to access their money.
Although the online poker rooms are closed for US
players, Full Tilt and Pokerstars have released official
statements claiming that US players' funds are safe
and stored in a protected bank account. However, it
seems players will have to wait indefinitely before
these funds can be returned