The 5 poker moments that shaped 2012: Stars vs. DOJ

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 02, 2013 Posted in Online Poker News | No Comments »

dojThere were a number of highlights (as well as a few lowlights) in the poker world this past year, but let’s face it, events like Greg Merson’s WSOP win, the emergence of poker in Asia, the hacking and subsequent lengthy hiatus for the 2+2 poker forum, or Greg Raymer’s four HPT titles aren’t going down in the poker history books. That being said, there were a handful of occurrences in 2012 that may find themselves written into the next history of the game, and in this series I’ll detail each of the poker moments that shaped poker in 2012.

Here is a look at the five stories that shaped poker during 2012, and will have some type of lasting effect on poker:

* Story #1: The Epic Poker League

* Story #2: The Relaunch of Full Tilt Poker

* Story #3: Phil Hellmuth’s 2013 tournament successes

* Story #4: PokerStars settles with the DOJ and purchases Full Tilt Poker

* Story #5: The Big One for One Drop

I have listed the events by how many lines I would give them if I were writing a comprehensive history of the game, and in Part 4 we are up to the paragraph that will describe the settlement between PokerStars and the US Department of Justice.

PokerStars comes to terms with the DOJ

The buildup to the deal that saw PokerStars settle with the US Department of Justice was palpable to begin with, but when the sale of Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars was added to the mix it became the biggest positive event of the last few years for poker players.

There are several reasons that the brokered deal is such a pivotal moment in the history of poker, as it allowed both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars the opportunity to reenter the US market in areas where online poker is legalized, but even more importantly it rescued the $330 million of frozen player funds that were sitting in Full Tilt Poker accounts. Without a deal the poker world would have gone from a recession to a depression.

While US players are still waiting for the DOJ to begin the remission process that will finally see the $150 million or so that was frozen on Black Friday to hit their bank accounts, the rest of the world has essentially put Black Friday behind them and moved on to the next chapter of poker. If 2003-2006 was the Poker Boom, and 2007-2010 was the UIGEA era, then 2011 and 2012 will be known as the Black Friday era of poker, and the deal is the end of that abysmal period of time.

The deal itself was costly in terms of dollars for PokerStars, but the company has a seemingly endless supply of funds. Despite paying over three-quarters of a billion (with a B) dollars, PokerStars is still churning out new sponsored pros, promotions, and even entering grand bargains with a number of Brick and Mortar casinos liked the Hippodrome, the Gran Madrid Casino, and a reported deal that would see the online site take over the Atlantic Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey should that state’s governor sign the online poker bill sitting on his desk.

Thanks to the deal Full Tilt Poker is now back up and running, Rest-of-World players have been repaid the $180 million that was frozen in their Full Tilt Poker accounts, and as stated above, US players are now in a wait and see mode, but their money is in the hands of the US DOJ.

You can read more on the deal at the following links:


#1 – Epic Fail

#2 — FTP Relaunch

#3 — Hellmuth

#4 — Stars vs DOJ

#5 – One Drop

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