Monday, July 18, 2011 is the biggest day for Italian games since the day Dario Minieri won a Porsche at Pokerstars, just playing online poker. As Italian players can finally play in cash games at online poker rooms. Yes finally ring games have arrived in online poker rooms in Italy, not just tournaments.
While Italy was the precursor with respect to regulating online poker and controlling operators with a strict licensing system, in the area of online gambling legalization cash games were desperately missing. Indeed online poker had only obtained approval for SNGs and tournaments in the limit of €100 buy-in.
This was a really strange situation to allow tournaments but not cash games. Very odd. It simply did not make sense. Even with an argument regarding games of skills, indeed ring games are generally believed to require more skill than tournaments. But one could say that at least they had some sort of regulation, unlike many other countries including the United States, which don’t not seem to be able to handle this business at all.
After more than four months required to wait between the announcement of the decree and its implementation, there was one final month before the official launch of these Italian cash games. The additional good news is that the maximum buy-in for tournaments is up to €250 while cash games are set at a maximum of €1,000.
As expected on July 18th there was a fury in Italy as anyone and their mother was rushing to try these ring games. The largest poker rooms got the lion’s share of the market, starting with Pokerstars. To be honest it is quite amazing that such a small country as Italy, and with all due respect not a major innovator in computer technology, managed to establish a well run and regulated online poker market, while Americans keep on debating about the question while nothing gets done. Stack up for the summer, what good timing in any case by the authorities.