How is Pokerstars doing?
April 15th 2011 was to see a massive spanner thrown into the well-oiled machines of some of the biggest online poker rooms.
On what has become known as "Black Friday" the United States Department of Justice indicted several board members and senior officials of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker for breaching gambling laws, officials of several payment processors were also indicted. Aside of the indictments, domain names and funds were also seized.
Firstly they were either smart enough, or fortunate enough to have held all player funds in a separate account, thereby segregating them from company funds, though one could question whether they would have actually took this line had legislation that surrounds licencing in the Isle Of Man not insisted on that.
Secondly, they worked tirelessly with the DOJ and FBI officials, which undoubtedly had a bearing on the US giving them the green light to repay player funds, including those held by US players within eleven days of April 15th.
With PokerStars being the world's biggest online poker room since it took possession and claim to the title in 2006 from Party Poker, the later having then removed itself from any association with US players, Party and numerous others were surely rubbing their hands at the prospect of PokerStars falling by the way side and into demise.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, of course it's fair to say that they took a huge tumble, and that during that time of frozen funds, panic ensued amongst not only its US players, but their non US players too, who were wondering why they were being penalised.
PokerStars reportedly lost over 26% of their traffic very quickly, during the first week or two of this sad period for poker players across the globe, whilst the download Party reportedly clawed back 10% of traffic very quickly.
But with their quick recovery on the cash out front, following the agreements reached, a great deal of faith was restored quite quickly which resulted in PokerStars claiming a sizeable chunk of non US players from the other two rooms that had been affected during the mass crack down.
It is without doubt, that the fact they resolved the cash out balances of US players very quickly, which included tournament tickets and frequent players points being transferred into cash, and that they were encouraging US players to withdraw their entire balances, that saved PokerStars, not only as a major player, but also their reputation.
With several months now having passed since that bleak day way back in April, PokerStars continues to grow back in strength.
During September, they once again staged their world renowned WCOOP series of online poker. Now whilst the 2011 series took a definite backward step in comparison to the few year's events, they did still manage total prize pools paid out of over $45 million, more than 50% more than the $30 million that was guaranteed.
This global giant is currently building up to their tenth anniversary celebrations this coming December and they have a number of special events and massive prize pools on offer.
It seems that very little can deter PokerStars from continuing to fight back in their aim to achieve their previous levels of greatness.
Vanessa Rousso is one of the pros sponsored by Pokerstars. She also makes some extra money by endorsing selected companies like godaddy.com. And she appeared in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated. You can play poker with her at pokerstars.