Online Poker raid to change Valley gambling habits

FRESNO, Calif.

The FBI said the owners of three gaming sites laundered real money through fake accounts. Friday's bust has forced Central Valley poker players to ante up somewhere else.

Cards were still being dealt Friday at Fresno State. Casino night was played with fake money, but players like Joel Hernandez prefer to make real bets online.

"It's so convenient, you can play for however much money you want, whenever you want," Hernandez said. "There's so many variations."

Hernandez told Action News he has only gambled online for a few months, but he's made some good money. "At one time I started with $10 and I made it up to $200," he said.

"A lot of players play online and a lot of people sometimes make their careers from online," said Brandon Zapata, a Freshman at CSU Fresno.

Zapata is one of those who would like to turn the card game into a career. "I love the game really, it's a passion," he said.

Zapata has been gambling online for a while, he said the recent virtual raid on his favorite poker website is disappointing. "It could change a lot of poker lives," Zapata said.

Zapata, like many others in the Valley, will have to play poker with real cards in a real casino.

This raid is potentially good news for Valley casinos as well. The owner of the 500 Club in Clovis told Acton News he's expecting a lot more business as a result of those illegal online gambling charges.

Those charged in the case also face a civil lawsuit from the Department of Justice which is looking for $3 billion in penalties.

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