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Special Needs Poker Players Hurt by “Black Friday” Fallout: 50,000 Enter Jobs Market

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Apr/27/2011

ESPN.com featured an article late Wednesday on the professional poker players impacted by “Black Friday” where indictments were handed down against Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and UB.com in the US.

The fallout is even affecting those will debilitating diseases, ESPN.com noted.

Stephanie Martin, 50, suffers from lupus, a debilitating disease whose punishments include relentless joint and muscle pain along with frequently occurring seizures. Playing poker outside her own home isn't much of an option and casino personnel aren't trained to deal with her malady. Still, it's not being deprived of the game that's the most upsetting for the Florida native, for whom the anonymity of the Internet provided equality and community.

"Poker's given me a lot of good friends who would jump in, say hi, see how I was doing," Martin recalled of her poker experience. "They don't know my personal situation. They just know I'm a poker player. They didn't care that I was fat, skinny, healthy, sick … they just knew that we were like-minded individuals. There are a lot of people out there who have trouble coping in the world for whatever reason. We've been deprived of a social environment here. If what the DOJ says about money laundering and fraud is true, the sites have to be held accountable, but a lot of us are getting hurt out here."

If we are to believe the Poker Players Alliance membership numbers, some 50,000 individuals who play poker as a career are now out of work.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do,” Brian Ford told ESPN.com.  He is confined to a wheelchair. 

"I don't want to rely on other people that way," Michael admitted. "I started playing poker seriously because I wanted to achieve some measure of independence."

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

 

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