Black Friday was always going to have an effect not just on online poker, but across live tournaments as well.
At first it was feared live tournaments in the USA would slump drastically in numbers due to players being scared off from poker altogether.
Throw into the mix as well the fact many players no longer had the usual qualification avenues to win their way into the big tournaments.
In reality though the actual participation at many live tournaments across the country have remained relatively unchanged.
There’s the usual fluctuations up and down but on the whole there are no drastic differences between now and this time last year.
Sam Trickett is an English professional who’s played on the WSOP for four years.
The 25 year old is a specialist when it comes to live play no limit hold’em and this year he’s already notched up around $3 million.
He says there’s a noticeable difference in the tournaments this year, it’s not in the actual numbers but more the type of people that are there.
He says there’s plenty of people coughing up their own cash to get into the games either because they can’t play online or because they’ve already made the switch to live play.
“A lot of people did choose to take a shot and play off their own bankroll and only get staked if it didn’t go well,” Trickett said.
“It was good to see all these online players turning up who maybe aren’t as strong at certain elements of the game, and the fields were still big weren’t they?
“On a personal level I entered a few tournaments where I knew I wasn’t a favourite over the field, just to get experience and try to win a bracelet.”
Indeed there’s been a flood of new poker players in 2011 with names many people have never heard of making big inroads in some of the top tournaments.
Making it even harder to separate the pack is the fact the usual sponsors logo’s and patches are either different or no existent altogether.
Pokerstar’s patches, once a mainstream, are now rare and Fulltilt patches barely exist at all.
Not all online poker websites have disappeared though, in fact Trickett himself still sports the insignia of Titan Poker, a website we personally promote as one of the safest and best.
“It’s obviously a sign that the whole online poker market isn’t just Full Tilt and Pokerstars, even though that was the majority,” he says.
“Full Tilt flooded their pro market in the past and I can’t see how what they did is profitable, whereas the likes of Titan having smaller teams with well-respected players works well. Hopefully the Italian market opening up for cash games will help with sponsorship by improving liquidity for sites.”
He said that smaller teams such as Titan Poker could grow though with many European based players now left in limbo after Black Friday.
He says many have been offered new sponsorships but there may not be a big enough share to go around.
“I’m not sure how much that can offer you in the long-term,” he says, “[but] It’s probably a good idea to get on TV as much as possible at the moment.
“Still, we relied a lot on the patch deals before, so I’m not sure what direction we’re going to go with that now. Even though the industry isn’t dependent on Full Tilt to stay alive it is quite a big thing if they end up folding.”
For Trickett on the playing front the next big test will come in the Epic Poker League in Las Vegas.
He says this is a good example of an event where non-poker related companies are starting to come on board with financial backing.
He says it’s a trend that will only continue as the popularity of poker continues to blossom.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before non poker-related businesses get involved in poker, whether its energy drinks or sunglasses who start investing in sponsorships. Considering how big poker’s got, with thousands of people still playing online, it’s beginning to look like a good way for people to advertise.”
He says investment of this nature can only be a good thing for himself and poker in general as it will open it up to an even wider audience and in turn create further marketing and advertising opportunities.
That’s not completely discounting the importance of online poker websites though, Trickett says their survival is still directly tied to the growth of the game.
“The last thing you want to see is companies folding and not paying out players, as that will lead to players becoming paranoid and concerned that other companies might start folding as well,” he said.
“It doesn’t look good, in general, if Full Tilt ends up not paying its players does it?”
There is one way you can make sure you don’t get caught up in the same mess as Fulltilt and still play poker online.
Simply join Trickett at Titan Poker, they are safe, secure and as you can see home to some of the world’s best players.
In little more than half a year Trickett has already earned $3 million, so why not start yourself on the same journey, join Titan Poker today!