US activity halted but legal advice being taken

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Lagging behind its competitors in responding to federal indictments opened against it last Friday, the operators of Absolute Poker have made a statement. The statement notes that Absolute has retained Blank Rome LLP as United States counsel to provide legal advice in relation to the civil and criminal matters filed against the company.

It goes on to acknowledge the domain-use deals offered by the Department of Justice on April 20 to get players paid, but it reserves the right to first complete a legal review before participating.

“At this time, Absolute Poker’s top priority is, and must be, the refund of balances to its and UB’s US players," the statement continues. "However, given the far-reaching consequences of the US Attorney’s actions for Absolute Poker and for the entire poker community, Absolute Poker believes that the responsible course of action is to review with its attorneys the relevant court filings before taking any action."

The statement emphasises the importance of getting players paid, describing this imperative as "an immediate and pressing concern", and makes it clear that Absolute Poker wants to work cooperatively with the US Attorney to safely and efficiently return its players’ funds.

"To that end, Absolute Poker’s counsel has initiated communications with the US Attorney’s office and plans to continue proactively advancing those discussions," the statement concludes.

Pokerstars has published a "US Players FAQ" page designed to keep US customers up to date on developments at, assuring that players will be paid and that tournament tickets can be converted into cash and withdrawn.

In related news, a viral video posted by the Poker Players Alliance in late 2008 is experiencing a new lease of life as a result of Black Friday, with viewership climbing over the 161,000 mark.

The video makes the point that a disproportionate enforcement effort is being devoted to the destruction of online poker in the United States, and features a psyched-up police Swat team carrying out raids that overlook drugs production and caches of lethal weapons but focuses on the violent arrest of a lone man quietly playing poker on his computer in his own home.

The video can be viewed here:

Staying with the entertainment theme, it has also been reported that Game Show Network (GSN) has reduced its television coverage of poker to one night a week, and will now only screen High Stakes Poker on Saturday nights. A statement from the company reads:

“As a result of the indictments and by mutual agreement, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have withdrawn their presenting sponsorships, brand integrations and ads from GSN’s poker programming. Beginning this weekend (April 23-24) our poker schedule will incorporate those and other changes, and we will evaluate additional adjustments to our schedule as warranted.”

In other news from GSN, a spokesman has revealed that the recently prepared new series of the Pokerstars Big Game will not be available for US screening, although these will be shown internationally and on the web through Pokerstars.

EGR has also reported on matters television with a story on a UK production house that halted filming of a television program titled The Poker Lounge after there was a payment glitch with sponsor Full Tilt Poker. The issue has since been sorted out amicably and production is being reorganised for May 2011.

The show's producer said that his company had no problem with the integrity of Full Tilt, but that " considering what happened (on Black Friday) we had to be careful in ensuring we would get funding."

The latest post-Black Friday Pokerscout stats on the three companies named in the federal indictments show:

PokerStars -6885 (down 24%)

Full Tilt Poker -8528 (down 48%)

Cereus Network -1076 (down 53%)

Source: InfoPowa News