There's now a gaping hole in an economy once very active... What implications could a huge increase in volume in the online poker market have on bitcoin?
$5M for the poker economy is nothing. Say just initially 10,000 US players start up with $100 in BTC to play. That's a 20% of the bitcoins in circulation today needed JUST for poker. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. 50,000 players and you have to have all of the bitcoins (or have half the bitcoins and double the price). It does not take much to go up by a lot.
But a few steps need to happen before that can happen. There needs to be easier ways to get bitcoins for decent sums automatically or at least with a little effort. I could see poker sites taking on this task since it's in their interest to make it easy. Plus it ensures the transaction costs they eat would be recovered by putting it directly into a player account. Next, the software needs to be written. This requires significant investment. Betco.in exists, but there's no way it could support that kind of user base right now. The software is much flakier than anything I've ever played for real money, but it's at least a start and a proof of concept.
So we are looking probably 1 year away unless someone with some serious resources goes after this market sooner. I could be wrong on this estimate, but things will start out with some clunky and poor sites with low traffic initially, then the bigger players enter. Pretty much like 2000 all over again.