The Brian Micon story continues to change, and with the most recent guilty plea by Micon, some clarity might finally be starting to take shape. While there is still much to be determined in terms of specifics, a roadmap is at least now in place and should make it easier for players to understand what their options are a little better now.
When we wrote the story about Brian Micon a few months ago, it wasn’t clear how the story would unfold. Nothing like this had really been seen and the fact that the site used bitcoin as its currency seemed to make it even more curious, and perhaps throw some doubt as how things would proceed. Some of the answers for how things would moving going forward though seem to finally be coming to light as Brian Micon has returned to the United States and plead guilty, but what law he actually plead guilty to breaking still seems to be a bit of a mystery. In America, many times defendants will plead guilty to something for a lesser penalty, but the specifics of everything won’t be known to the public for some time, though they would be known to Micon.
The public finally found out some information about the series of events that led up to the closure of Seals with Clubs Poker. The Nevada Gaming Commission was informed by a European national that a site was functioning inside of Nevada using real money, and they believed that it was doing so illegally. Upon getting said information the Commission had one of its workers investigate the site by buying bitcoin, playing 30 hands of poker and then reporting his findings. It was decided that despite using BTC as the currency it still broke the law of operating an illegal gambling website within the state limits of Nevada and a warrant for Micon’s arrest and seizure of his property was issued.
This series of events then led Micon to move to Antigua and eventually open SWC Poker, which is the successor to Seals with Clubs. The story is interesting for a lot of reasons and raises more questions than we will likely ever know the answer to. Foremost of which: Why did someone complain to the NGC about Seals with Clubs? Considering it was a European National and not an American makes it seem even odder, but we will likely never have a good answer.
The deal will see Micon give up computers, $900 and up to 300 bitcoins he had taken from him during the seizure in February. While that may sound like a lot, it is expected that he will have his crime reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, avoid up to 10 years in jail and only have to worry about probation and a much smaller fine. These concessions will allow him to easily move back to the US with his family.
All of this news does not appear to have hurt SWC poker as games are still running and traffic has remained steady, according to PokerScout.com. The Bitcoin that was seized from Micon was done so nearly 4 months ago, so players shouldn’t worry about having their funds unavailable to them. It does raise the question though of how the site is going to function moving forward. Micon does not appear to be the chairman anymore, as he wouldn’t run the site from the US, and many times probation restricts your movement to other countries. With that being said, Micon was likely always just a figurehead and the real decisions were made by other individuals. So it’s quite possible nothing will really change. Only time will really tell with this story.
If you do want to play with bitcoin, but don’t feel like you are ready to trust SWC Poker, then there are many options available for American players. BetOnline, part of the Chico Poker Network, and Winning Poker Network are two of the best options for US-based players. What are your opinions on this story? Did it end how you thought it would? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!