The long-thriving underground futures market of poker is on the cusp of going mainstream with operations like YouStake.com now promising delivery of a seemingly-credible mechanism for players and fans alike to invest in the action of others, and perhaps it is merely disreputable anecdote, but as this year’s World Series of Poker gets underway, the Rio hallways seem more abuzz than ever with the gossip of economically-interested spectators looking to ogle the status of their ever-fluctuating investments.
To be sure, the concept of buying a piece of another player’s action is hardly new. Home games have long been taking up collections to send their finest to Las Vegas, household names have spent years making a habit of hedging their own performance with an interest in that of their peers, and the all-star bankroll that fluctuated wildly when a Texas banker came to town is not merely the thing of legend but, too, the setting of an epic tome. Still, much of this liquid economy – often built on foundations no stronger than handshakes – has thrived in the shadows, and with those shadows have come a well-developed list of legends and warnings.
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