Another one bites the dust.
The online poker business is an industry that sees its landscape changed more often than a newborn’s diaper, so it’s never really that much of a shock when a newcomer drops in or an old-timer drops out.
Still, it was a little bit surprising to learn that an online poker room fronted by poker pro Johnny “The Orient Express” Chan–owner of 10 World Series of Poker (WSOP) championship gold bracelets–is shutting down.
The room–Chan Poker (www.chanpoker.com)–opened in 2006.
On Tuesday of this week, a notice was posted on the Chan Poker website stating that the Chan Poker online poker room would be closing on Thursday of this week, or August 21, 2008.
The notice, dated August 19, 2008, reads in full:
“We are sad to inform you that Chan Poker will be ceasing operation effective this Thursday, August 21, 2008. Effective immediately we will no longer be accepting deposits. On August 21, our poker clients will be disabled. If you have a cash balance with us, rest assured that all withdrawal requests will be honored and promptly processed. To facilitate timely withdrawals, limits for certain withdrawal methods have been increased.
“We will make every effort to accept withdrawal requests through our website for as long as necessary–however we strongly advise submitting your request as soon as possible. To initiate a withdrawal now, please follow this link to go to your account. Please note that once final withdrawals are processed, your account will be automatically closed, no further action is necessary.
“The final $50 daily freeroll will be held Tuesday, August 19, 2008. We will not be holding any additional weekly Red Orange Freerolls. For those that wish to continue playing online poker, know that we are actively seeking a partner to provide a new home that will honor your player point balances. We will keep you informed of developments on this front.
“As always, if you have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] Warm regards, Chan Poker Customer Support.”
No further information was available on the website concerning why the room is shutting down.
However, the room did not allow U.S. residents to play for real money, in response to anti-online gambling legislation passed by the U.S. government, and that severely limited the customer base.
Another 10-time WSOP gold bracelet-winner who fronts an online poker room is still in business because he is bucking the U.S. government.
Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, who is tied for second with Chan on the career WSOP bracelet list at 10, just one behind Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth Jr. at 11, fronts the online poker room Doyle’s Room (www.doylesroom.com).
When Doyle’s Room opened a few years ago, it allowed U.S. residents to play for real money.
When the U.S. government later passed anti-online gambling legislation–the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA–Doyle’s Room banned U.S. residents from playing for real money.
But after losing much of its total business after the ban, Doyle’s Room some months later reversed itself and banned the ban, allowing U.S. residents once again to play for real dough.
After the reversal, most of the lost business returned.
Apparently, Chan Poker wasn’t willing to risk the wrath of the U.S. government.
Or perhaps Chan wasn’t.
A native of China who now lives in the U.S., Chan could have been deported back to China had he been arrested by U.S. authorities for involvement in an online poker room that services Americans.
Brunson faces no such risk–he’s from Texas.
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])