The US is moving at a snail’s pace in changing their online poker laws, but it appears as though change is coming to the country. If, and when, that change occurs, there also could be a shift in the power rankings of the top players in the world.
Phil Ivey has been considered by many to be the best player in the game over the past five years. A look at the September top ten rankings on ESPN, however, has Ivey off the list. It is the first time in a long time that the popular pro is not on the list, but it could be a sign of what is to come.
“Online players have invaded the poker world at the professional level, and if the US changes their laws, the number of online pros will only increase,” said Poker Analyst Marc Goobsey. “It is a change at the top that could be always in flux due to how may players are now turning pro.”
Back in the old days, it was the same fifty or one hundred players that dominated the cash games and the tournaments. The Internet poker age, however, has brought thousands of players to the tables, many of which have made a living playing the game, and some have actually become millionaires through the game. The future of the industry and the rankings hangs in the hands of US lawmakers.
Several bills are on the table that would regulate online poker at a national level. Once that law is changed, and by all indications, the day is coming when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is reversed, then a new wave of players will enter the poker scene. These players have been playing on the down low for several years, and are waiting to emerge once the laws change.
“The days of ten or twenty players dominating the sport are over,” said Goobsey. “I wouldn’t be surprised if once the laws changed, we saw the entire industry shift to being Internet based, and at that point, players from small towns all across the country are going to make a name for themselves.”