After nine years in the business, the longest-running online poker site has decided to pull the plug on its real-money offerings. Planet, long delegated to the lower tiers of online-pokerdom in recent years, nonetheless remained the first online poker site for many veteran players.
Planet sent out a brief e-mailing to its customer base, announcing the closure. It read as follows:
After 9 years in business, Planet Poker has made the difficult decision to cease real money operations. Management regrets this decision but the impact of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the U.S. leaves no reasonable alternative.
During the past several months, Planet Poker explored every reasonable option to continue real money operations. This included working with other cardrooms and ecommerce processors to find solutions to the issues existing in the industry today. Unfortunately, no viable solution surfaced.
As always, your funds are safe and secure at Planet Poker. We are pleased to announce that we have made arrangements to allow players to transfer remaining funds from Planet Poker to another cardroom. Please sign into Planet Poker and select the "Transfer Now" button to start the transfer process. Alternatively, you may elect to cashout remaining funds via the Cashier page.
Real money tables and tournaments will continue at Planet Poker through to 31 March 2007, but effective immediately you can no longer make a deposit.
Please click here for complete information regarding this announcement.
Thank you for your support during the past 9 years. We recommend that you transfer your funds to another cardroom so you can continue to play for real money.
Planet Poker will continue to offer you the best "Play for fun" poker on the internet and hope to see you frequently at our tables. We hope to return to real money operations when the legal climate is clearer.
We wish you the best of luck and hope your online poker playing continues to be enjoyable.
Planet Poker Management
Planet is cited by most sources as being the first online poker room, though a few people claim that another site, Delta Poker, was the first. In any event, Planet was damaged by revelations several years back that its RNG algorithm was not complex enough to provide a 'true' shuffle, with a sophisticated hack emerging that was able to predict cards as they came off the deck. (Today's RNGs are much more complex.) Combined with software soon surpassed by other sites, Planet was never able to reclaim its early edge.
Planet has negotiated a deal with Bodog to transfer remaining cash balances over to that site. Early reports are that Bodog is offering a complimentary 10% bonus on top of any balance transferred.