So Big Brother swooped in and put the kabosh on the three largest Internet Poker Rooms on Friday, essentially shutting down Poker Stars, FullTilt Poker and Absolute Poker by indicting the principals of the popular gaming companies, arresting some of their U.S. banking friends and seizing their US-based domain names.
While the party goes on for the rest of the world and poker players around the ATL wait for the bill sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) to somehow, someway get to President Obama's desk and signed into law, all is not lost for Atlanta poker players who are looking for their fix and don't want to go to some seedy illegal backroom cash game.
There are at least three robust poker leagues around town that may make things a little better.
Interstate Poker Club boasts of dozens of locations from Suwanee to McDonough where you can win bar tabs or cash prizes in daily freerolls. They also have a monthly tournament for top performers each month.
Full House Holdem also hosts a bunch of tournaments around most of the North metro counties from Canton to Atlanta. Their big end tournament runs on a three-to-four month cycle and pays $750 to the ultimate winner. A World Series of Poker seat is also awarded to a lucky player.
Any Two Cards provides games in bars throughout Atlanta, with an emphasis on Gwinnett County. They have monthly, quarterly and yearly tournaments and give away 10 WSOP seats throughout the year.
The difference between these clubs and what you may be used to in online poker is that there is no true "buy in." And no purchase is necessary as long as you are over 18 (or 21 in other places as required by law).
However, the way most of these poker clubs work, the more food and drinks you buy from the establishment the tournaments are hosted in, the more chips you are given. And these poker clubs are great places to meet folks that love the game of poker like you do and help fill the void until the government hopefully lets you play again (and takes a cut of the profit -- let's face it -- that's what it's really all about).
I leave you with the words of Rep. Frank on the government's actions on Friday.
"Go after the people responsible for empty houses, not full houses," Frank told thehill.com. "I'm not saying violate the law, but to give this priority in law enforcement over some other things I think is a terrible idea and I think the administration is wrong on this."