Daily fantasy sports betting going down the same road as online poker

Any online poker player who has visited DraftKings will find an eery familiarity between the lobby area of the online fantasy sports site and their old favorite online poker websites. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because as popular as online poker may have been (and it was enormously popular), fantasy football is even bigger and more mainstream. Just a word of advice– Don’t keep too much money on the sites.

. Not everyone may know how to play poker, but nearly everyone watches football. You can play against how many ever opponents you want. And you can play as many times as you want. There has been the scandal questioning the integrity of the game. How about head-to-head with just one other opponent? You could even create your own tournaments with as many, or as few, players as you like.

Those who played online poker for a living know how this is going to end. A poker player can calculate the odds of a certain card hitting the table as much as any fantasy sports bettor can calculate the odds of a certain hitter getting a base hit against a certain pitcher.

So what is happening to daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings comes as no surprise to former online poker players. The government calls daily fantasy sports betting “gambling.” The accused sites argue that fantasy sports is a “game of skill” and not “gambling.” The government goes after the payment processors for the various sites.

The legal wrangling has already begun in one state. Advertising is annoyingly saturating the airwaves. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were closed for business to all American players. They generate a lot of money. It’s the same pattern. Poker is just as much a game of skill as betting on fantasy sports. ESPN and NBC couldn’t get enough poker programming. Online poker sites that once would be lucky to have 1,000 players online at any given time now had over 200,000– many of them “fish,” a term used to describe bad players. And they must sit and wonder how these sites have gotten away with this as long as they have. FanDuel and DraftKings are suing the New York Attorney General.

It was only a matter of time. Poof! Just like that. Right?

The online poker player is very familiar with these game setups. People were having fun. Mike Sexton became a household name for many. Wrong, said the United States government. Some are still waiting.

The bottom line is the government will always want a piece of the action. No one was being hurt. World Series of Poker. You want to play in a tournament against thousands of others with the chance for a huge payout? Or do you want to just “grind” out a steady profit? You could play single “games” against only fifty people, twenty, or nine– how many ever you want. They cause a lot of buzz. Basically, the New York A.G. They enjoyed the proliferation of the game into mainstream media. They witnessed the boom of poker. The two fantasy sports sites have chosen to ignore the injunction and elected to continue to take bets from New York residents. Online players were in heaven. These sites gain popularity. Money was changing hands. There are the various buy-ins, ranging from free, to a single dollar, to as much as several hundreds of dollars. Advertising for sites like PokerStars and PartyPoker were inundating the airwaves. Some, eventually, got their money back. The government will, eventually, shut down daily fantasy sports betting just like it did to online poker wagering.

Enjoy it while it lasts, friends. is banning fantasy sports betting by New York residents. The government, especially, notices they aren’t getting their piece of the action. The government has begun to take notice. Money in players’ accounts was frozen and seized. The public outcry will be huge if fantasy sports betting is deemed illegal.

Former online poker players have seen this story play out before. Poker After Dark. The New York State Attorney General sent out cease and desist letters a week ago to FanDuel and DraftKings. On April 15, 2011 — a day known as “Black Friday” among the online poker community — the United States government shut down the three big online poker sites