Monday November 5, 2012 : PROS PREFER INTERNET TO RISKY TORONTO POKER ROOMS
 
Younger poker players find the Web a safer place.
 
The Canadian publication The National Post carried an interesting feature on the safety of physical vs. internet poker rooms in Toronto over the weekend, observing that poker players relocating to the city from the legally restrictive poker environment in the United States prefer the internet.
 
Much of the article deals with the reputation and problematic safety of underground poker games, with anecdotes of players plagued by police raids or attacks by armed robbers attracted by the often large sums of money on the tables, painting a picture of a risky environment.
 
It also portrays a number of big name online and tournament players who have made large sums of money playing poker, illustrating the potential of poker for those with the skill and determination to pursue a career in the game.
 
"Every night, basements and backrooms across Toronto are packed with gamblers looking for a poker fix – and grinders looking to make the rent," The National Post notes. "Stakes are high, venues are shady and players are haunted by armed robberies and police raids alike. But while Toronto’s seedy gambling underbelly has spawned some of Canada’s greatest poker talent, its storied reign may be coming to an end."
 
That end could be precipitated by a new generation of players' preference for the internet, the piece implies.
 
In the concluding paragraphs the article quotes younger poker pros who have never set foot in an underground game and have little inclination to do so, preferring the safety of the online environment with big, well regulated internet poker sites.
 
In addition to building large bankrolls online, this new type of player sharpens skills in internet games, with many then going on to success in international and well regulated land-based tournaments.
 
"In Toronto, their ranks are swelling. In recent months the city has become an online poker haven as dozens of American “refugees” were sent north last year by a U.S. crackdown on online poker," the National Post reports, adding that among them is 24-year-old Maryland native Greg Merson, fresh from winning the $8.5-million first prize at the World Series of Poker main event .
 
One young poker pro told the publication: “All of the pros I know are like myself, in that they play primarily online, where in my opinion there is much more opportunity to earn a steadier and more substantial income, without breaking any laws.”
 
Another said: “Real pros sharpen their skills playing online, where it’s actually highly competitive and challenging.”
 
The article concludes: "Online poker players don’t have to worry about travel time or personal safety, and they can play upwards of nine tournaments at once – quickly amassing a level of experience that the pros of yesteryear could only dream of."