Senti treads water after online poker shutdown

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2011 - 11:40 PM

Like most American online poker players, St. Louis Park pro Jason Senti is waiting to see what happens next.

hide

Online poker pays the bills for Jason Senti, or at least it did before the FBI stopped the action on the three largest websites.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jason Senti was at work Friday when he got the equivalent of a termination notice. For Senti, work is earning a living primarily playing online poker from an elaborate Twin Cities home office. His seventh-place finish at last year's World Series of Poker Texas Hold 'em main event was worth more than $1 million, but his day job is still grinding away at several tables at a time online.

On Friday, however, the three largest sites -- including Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, the two Senti uses regularly -- were shut down as part of a massive sweep that included the indictments of the sites' founders. The domain names of the sites were seized by the FBI.

"All the sudden people started calling me and saying it was shut down," Senti said. "I was like, 'I don't know what you're talking about. I'm playing right now.' "

But when he tried to join a new table, Senti found he couldn't. Now he and millions of poker players are left in a strange limbo state. The Poker Players Alliance, an advocacy group with more than 1 million members, issued a statement that included this: "Not only are the over 10 million online poker players left without a place to play the game they enjoy, and from which many earn their livelihood, but they also have concerns over the availability of their funds."

Senti fits those descriptions. Friday was a triple-whammy: The sites he plays on were shut down, the money he had banked on the sites was frozen ... and he made the final payment on his 2010 taxes.

"It's kind of like losing your job and having a reverse severance package," Senti said.

What happens next remains to be seen. The legality and regulation of online gambling in the United States are nebulous areas. Senti, who quit his job as an engineer a few years back to become a full-time poker player, had it in the back of his mind that a day like Friday could come.

"Two years ago I was more worried about it than I was on Thursday. But there's nothing explicitly making online poker illegal in the U.S.," Senti said. "I knew it was possible that some organization could come after poker in the U.S. But I really thought that likelihood was going way down. I didn't think anyone was going to come kicking down the door."

The only "silver lining," he said, is that this shakeup could lead to regulation of the industry in the United States. In the short term, however, the impact is more personal for Senti and others like him.

"It's definitely going to impact my day-to-day," he said. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it yet, but I still plan to play poker for a living."

  • related content

  • What they might be doing ...

    Sunday April 17, 2011

    Jason Kubel might be the one guy on the Twins you want to see at the plate right now (two homers), or on the basepaths (stolen base Saturday), or in...

  • 04.18.11 The game plan

    Sunday April 17, 2011

    THE BUZZ The Twins' one-victory-per-series pace is not ideal, but given what happened in the first three games at Tampa Bay, at least they held on in Sunday's finale.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - WP: S. Carroll 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 2
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 11 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 6
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: V. Black 5
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 3
Minnesota - WP: K. Correia 9 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 10
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
Washington - WP: R. Detwiler 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Wilson 6 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 5
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 5 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 2
San Diego - LP: K. Quackenbush 0 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Jansen 1
Oakland - LP: J. Chavez 2 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 6
Colorado 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Houston 2 FINAL
Toronto FC 4
Columbus 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 1 FINAL
New England 0
Sporting Kansas City 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
Chivas USA 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Real Salt Lake 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 26 FINAL
Saskatchewan 13
Atlanta 93 FINAL
Indiana 74
Washington 91 FINAL
Tulsa 74

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close