Why is Poker’s Black Friday a Potential Catastrophe for Me?

Loyal long-time blog reader Sohail asks about Poker’s Black Friday:

I don’t understand the issue for you. I thought most of your customers are outside the US anyway? If so, the online poker sites switch to different domains and life goes on. Maybe a blog post on exactly why online poker is really affected would be useful.

First, roughly 50% of my customers are in the US, give or take 10%. Losing half of your revenue at once is a big hit for any business.

Second, It’s sort of like this: an earthquake in Indonesia in 2004 caused a tidal wave that devastated Sri Lanka some 4,500 kilometres away.

Less cryptically, an anecdote: I met with a German friend of mine yesterday who plays poker online. She is intelligent and a computer professional. Full Tilt Poker stopped working for her a few days ago. Full Tilt’s software wanted to auto-update, but the update mechanism was broken. She went to http://fulltiltpoker.com/ and saw that nasty FBI/DOJ notice. So she assumed Full Tilt Poker has been taken down for everybody. She wasn’t aware that the company is based in Ireland and can be accessed fully from http://www.fulltiltpoker.co.uk/. She had no reason to be aware of this, as she doesn’t spend her spare time scouring online poker forums.

Many other Germans are scared to keep their money in Full Tilt Poker. Maybe, they wonder, the whole operation will be closed down. Maybe the company will go bankrupt, they worry.

Additionally, a lot of the worldwide poker publicity and advertising originates from the US. This publicity has just had its funding cut off.

What I describe is a worst-case scenario. It could be that online poker bounces back strongly and quickly. However I just don’t know.