Thursday, September 28, 2006

The biggest site you never heard of

I posted a long while back about Everest Poker, a poker site that took aim directly at poker players globally, providing native-language client software in something like 20 different languages, including most of the Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, and a bunch more I forget. I also liked that they mapped common chat phrases ("Nice hand", "Thank you", "Good game", etc) to function keys that would display in the language of the client software. So a Japanese player will see the comment in Japanese, and his response to the Frenchman who sent it will appear to him in French. Great idea. (Too bad their client software is unpleasant to look at and difficult to follow the action.)

With the World Poker Tour set to start airing in "Asia" (Singapore and Macau), hopefully we'll start to see Chinese players get interested in the game. This could be huge - I hope Everest is ready to go after that market, as I'm sure there will be some Chinese companies that fire up online poker rooms if it takes off.

I get emails from Everest to their players in Japan, letting everyone know about upcoming tournaments, Japan-only games, and freerolls for their Japanese customers. I haven't logged in in ages, so last week I reinstalled the software and fired it up to join the Wednesday night Japan-only tourney.

It was six players. Including me.

Okay, so Japan hasn't exactly bought into the whole poker boom thing.

I was distracted and played like shit, too, so was knocked out in fourth from our little Japanese STT. So I browsed the cash game tables. I was surprised to see quite a lot of games running, mostly filled with European players, with a smattering of asians, South Americans, and Africans. Nice. Everest seems to be doing well enough.

I checked on PokerSiteScout and found Everest listed in 8th place for number of cash game players, right between UltimateBet and Bodog. Not bad at all.

Then I saw the note:
Special Note: Everest Poker does not accept customers from the United States

That's right! I hadn't seen a single US player in my browsing. These guys are based in Canada and seem to be going along with US law as best they can by not accepting US players. And they still have more poker players than Bodog.

Much as I hate the idea, if the US does kill off online poker for their citizens, the game will survive. The rest of the world will still keep playing, even without the yankee masses. We'll miss you guys, but we'll get by.

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