Anyone who reads this blog, probably knows the huge blow that the online poker community took when Neteller shut down, but for those who don't, here is a brief explanation: Neteller was great; they were the worldwide leader in handling deposits and withdraws to online poker sites. I used Neteller all the time, when I wanted to cash out or deposit, and I think I speak for almost all online players when I say that it was the easiest way to deal with getting money on or off a site. Sadly, Neteller was forced to stop serving U.S. customers because of legal matters I personally cannot explain. Congress passed a bill making online gambling (keyword "gambling") illegal in the US. After about a month of the passing of the bill, we are beginning to see the signs of the authorities enforcing their laws. We are seeing Neteller shut down, debit and credit cards being denied when they try to deposit that way. E*checks don't work, and other sites like CentralCoin and Firepay are already long gone. It is no longer easy for a somewhat high stakes player to get money to and from a poker site. Not only high stakes players, but NEW players. New players (fish?) will not deposit if its going to be a hassle. This leads to more regular players and tougher games... Less fish in the pond.
I have read on various forums that some players are considering going back to school, or going back to their old jobs, and I can't blame them. It is definately a scary time for anyone who depends on online poker, like myself. In my case, I didn't have a lot of funds online at the time I read that neteller closed, so I haven't been playing much poker since then. I am kind of waiting to make a deposit until I get some more news on the current. In the back of my mind I am hoping a new service comes out that will make it easy for players to deposit, but I don't see that coming any time soon. I am not saying that online poker going to die, but its not going to be the same if there isn't a solution. In my opinion, poker shouldn't even be classified as gambling, and the people who were behind passing this bill are unfair and close-minded, not to mention hypocritical.
Luckily, over the past year I have been a pro, poker has given me some great opportunities, like being able to leave college to play full time, and travelling around the world to play in live games. I have been asked what I would do if I couldn't play poker for a living, and the answer is that I would most likely go back to school and study something I am really interested in. More than anything, poker is just a game and its near soulless. Frankly, I wouldn't be too upset if I couldn't play for a living, because there are other things I would rather do. I will just take some time and see how the games evolve, and if any changes in the laws become active to legalize online poker in the US.