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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Scott Matusow Predicts Full Tilt Will Return… To the US… No, I’m no Drunk, Why Do You Ask?

The Lynchpin will be Jack Binion buying out Ray Bitar’s Stake and getting Bitar out of the company.

From www.scottmatusow.com

As most of you know, FTP had their europe license pretty much suspended until a hearing set for July 26th can clear this issue up. However, Jack Binion has expressed a real interest in coming in and buying out Ray Bitar’s shares of FTP. The Gaming license has been primarily suspended because of Ray’s pending indictment. Take note as well, Ivey has withdrawn his statement from his website concerning his pending lawsuit against FTP. I have heard Jack wants to bring FTP back to The USA market, and if he steps in, that will happen once the pending regulation legislation is passed in Congress.
Sources tell me that it will pass, and as well, the bills will be amended to allow credit card deposits. This equates to FTP paying all of The USA customers and entering back into the USA Market. Remember, the indictments are not against FTP, but against Ray and the other guy there (forget his name atm). Once they are gone, FTP is “clean”. There is more I cannot say at this time. I would like to, but know this; You all will get paid, and Jack Binion will likey buy the controlling interest of FTP to make this happen.

Holy Crap, Full Tilt Poker Shut Down by Alderney Gaming Commission

holy freakin … magoly

Gambling911 reports that the Alderney Gaming Commission has shut down Full Tilt Poker:  They will now have a hearing about the current situation take additional steps like permanently revoking their gambling license.

What does this mean for all the unpaid US players?  Well for one thing it means they all just peed themselves.

“In the matters of:-
VANTAGE LIMITED OXALIC LIMITED FILCO LIMITED And ORINIC LIMITED
Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has today issued Hearing Notices under Regulation 46 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 to the above named companies who collectively trade as FULL TILT POKER.

In addition, AGCC has issued Suspension Notices under Regulation 47 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 to the above named companies requiring them to immediately suspend operations.

The above named companies must, until the Suspension Notices are cancelled or the Commissioners of AGCC have reached a determination at the conclusion of the hearing convened in accordance with Regulation 46 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 cease to exercise their eGambling licenses, which means that these licensees must from today cease to:-

Register new customers;
Accept deposits from existing customers; 
Allow existing customers to withdraw funds that are held in their accounts; and
Permit customers to participate in any form of poker game play or gambling
transaction.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission will hear the matters contained in the Hearing Notices at a Regulatory Hearing which will commence at 10.00am on Tuesday 26th July, 2011 at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EQ. In the event that there is a change to these details this notice will be amended.

André Wilsenach (Executive Director) Alderney Gambling Control Commission Alderney, Channel Islands"

The PPA Sends Out a Notice to Support the Barton Bill for Online Poker

What’s in the bill?  Why should I support it?  Hey look over there it’s a shiny object!

moneyIn what has recently and especially since BLACK FRIDAY been typical PPA fashion, the PPA has released an email to members asking them to support the Joe Barton bill (H.R. 2366 The Online Poker Act of 2011) saying “The bill will restore your online poker rights by allowing licensed companies to offer Internet poker with real money play to U.S. residents”

  1. Really?  First, the idea that my rights will be “restored” implies I had some rights in the past, lost them, and now I have them again.  Did I used to have rights?  The DoJ says no.  Logic says yes.  If I did have rights before then they never went away did they?  No, they were just trampled on by villains…
  2. This bill does not NEED your help.  It is a pre-ordained second footfall from the legislation that has already passed in Nevada to let the huge US land casinos take control of the online poker industry in the US for the next 3 years which is 2 freaking years past the Mayan end of the world.

The specifics that I am interested in are the following:

  1. Will we be limited to play against only other US players or will these newly licensed cardrooms be opened to the rest of the world? (hint to US “rest of world” is the correct answer).
  2. Will there be limitations on the financial tracking the US can do for US players?  Yes there’s going to be some sort of tax component (although the majority of that should be a tax the CASINOS pay not just enforcement of US income tax.  For US income tax purposes the information the govt. gets should not be in detail form but some sort of summary annual number and hopefully a net number (total won-total lost for example) like they do on W2 forms for regular employees.

The things I’ve seen mentioned like the draft bill containing a clause that consumers couldn’t use credit cards to finance their accounts is silly.  First because you can easily bypass that regulation by getting a cash advance and shoving it in your checking account and second because it’s already very hard to finance gambling with a major credit card in the US because of the ruling that US citizens aren’t responsible for gambling debt to the card owners so they get a one time pass on any gambling they charge to the card (of course if you invoke the rule they ban you from credit cards forever).

So What Should You Do?

Nothing!  Just sit back and relax and watch the show.  Everything will be over very soon now…

Monday, June 27, 2011

Subject: Poker is reporting that Jack Binion is Considering Investment in Full Tilt Poker

Phil Ivey lurks around the deal in Ireland and if it goes through us players could get their money soon.

2004_binionSubject: Poker says that several sources have report that Jack Binion and Full Tilt Poker are in the final stages of talks whereby Binion would make a sizeable investment in Full Tilt.  The money provided by Binion would initially be put towards paying US player’s balances. 

Obviously for US players who have balances on Full Tilt this is great news.  As one of those players I can say that so far Full Tilt hasn’t even correctly reported the amount they owe me (much less provided any information on when they might pay it to me) so if this gets the ball rolling that’s a good thing.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this story…

Friday, June 24, 2011

Joe Barton Releases Poker Bill and PPA Instantly Applauds It!

Shouldn’t we read it first?

Well Today (June 24, 2011) Joe Barton’s bill was released earlier than at least Joe Barton imagined (as early as a couple days ago he was predicting probably 2-3 weeks even though many sites have reported it would be released this week).  Pocket Fives has the bill online and you can read it here.

My first browse of the bill makes it seem fairly decent.  There are going to be issues that will be talked about, like only US players being able to play against other US players and the financial tracking the US government will now be able to do one all your poker wagers, oh and the tax collection and distribution by the licensed online poker venue itself.  Any of those could become big issues, but the truth is nothing can stop this legislation at this time the same way nothing could stop the Patriot Act when it was introduced after September 11th.  Online poker players are hungry and afraid and they’ll sign up for anything that lets them start earning money again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Online Poker to be Legalized by Tuesday! Obama Defies Gravity and Becomes Defacto Protector of Sector 2814

if there isn’t any real news we can make it up as good as everyone else!

barack-obama-green-lanternStill nothing much is actually NEW.  The excitement out on the street is that the bill co-sponsored by Texas representative Joe Barton could arrive as early as the end of this week, which the various news blogs and so on have morphed to “WILL ARRIVE THIS WEEK AND INSTANTLY REGULATE ONLINE POKER” which is not going to happen.  The fact of the matter is that the Nevada land casinos are already hard at work (don’t worry how I KNOW THAT land casinos, get back to it) on putting together the regulation infrastructure necessary for handle online poker.  If they work REALLY fast the soonest that’s going to happen is early 2012 so it really doesn’t matter much how fast the Federal legalization comes as long as it happens near the time Nevada casinos are ready to cash in on it.

Here’s the actual rundown so much as I know (and I’ve had my ear to many a door as of late):

Full Tilt Still Has Not Paid US Players: In fact, they haven’t even credited the accounts of most US players with the funds that they will eventually be paid.  An article on Subject: Poker on June 16th talks about a 60 million dollar shortfall they created by essentially giving players “loans” when the players deposited money on the site but Full Tilt didn’t have a payment processor to debit their accounts.  Since Black Friday this has sort of sealed the loss for Full Tilt and may be part of the accounting difficulties they are experiencing which of course are in addition that they just plain don’t have the money to pay US players.

The Joe Barton Poker Bill: He’s drafting it and they keep quoting him as saying online poker’s been legal but the bank funding has not, which is incorrect.  The DoJ clearly thinks that online poker is illegal (regardless of the truth) and the funding woes of all online poker sites trying to service the United States are due to the UIGEA which only applies if online poker is illegal.  So basically the DoJ is the bully which is saying they think it’s [online poker] illegal and if you’d like to try your luck funding it you might just disappear in a bleeping hole.  Obviously none of the other crimes like providing bank executive bonuses, funding player accounts with golf balls or providing hot oil massages to bank employees would be necessary at all if the banks weren’t 100% convinced by the DoJ that online poker is 100% illegal and therefore under the enforcement of the UIGEA in the first place.

Phew!  Having said that, online poker is actually legal, just no one wants to risk their life or freedom to prove that especially when state and federal bills which will effectively legalize the industry are so close.

UB.com and AbsolutePoker (Cereus Network) Payouts:  Honestly I think we’re all going to probably have to give up on this one.  The amount of business they are doing post Black Friday just isn’t going to be sufficient to generate money to pay back the US customers they owe.  Take a trip over to Poker Scout and check it out for yourself.  Maybe in the long run this is the best thing.  Cereus made some horrible decisions and they still refused to fix their infrastructure including customer support and fraud prevention.  I’m not saying they were actively cheating anyone in 2011, but they weren’t doing as much as they should have to be responsive to customers and to protecting their online interests.  Full Tilt Poker is also guilty of many of these issues especially with regard to poor customer service.  I sincerely hope that the next wave of online poker uses PokerStars as a model.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some Late Justice for Clownie Gowan

onlinecasinospro.com is reporting that clonie has won the appeal to have her day in court vs. full tilt poker

clonie-gowenClonie (onlinecasinospro.com likes to caller her Connie) allegedly agreed to join Team Full Tilt in exchange for a 1% share of the company, then in 2007 refused a payment of $250,000 which full tilt says reflected her 1% share (let’s see 250k x 100 = 25 million dollars—Ok we see her point, what a ridiculous number for the value of the second largest online poker company).

She is suing for $40 million for breach of contract by the company she says is worth at least 4 billion.  Although that value may have gone down with the recent events in the online poker world it still is well above $25 million although going by the current cashflow you could argue they arent’ worth anything since so far they haven’t been able to make good on their $150 million obligation to US players.

Go get ‘em Cycalona!

What’s New in Online Poker?

Legally speaking not much, but what news there is isn’t good news

subject-poker-logoFirst off, a big shout out to the people at Subject: Poker.  This is a new poker news source website and they are definitely going the extra mile to ask the hard questions and actually check their facts.  In fact all of the new interesting news is being broken by them and every other poker and/or gambling website is rehashing old news (like a police department getting part of the seized funds from the 2nd online poker raid that hit DoylesRoom and TruePoker.

So what is going on?

  1. Cereus is 50-60 million in the hole (to players both US and offshore and other debts) and has about 10% of that in cash.  Is this bad?  Not if you hate money.
  2. Subject: Poker did an interview with John Pappas of the PPA in two parts.  You can read Part 1 and Part 2 on their website and they are definitely worth reading.  The reporter—Noah Stephens-Davidowitz (I believe that’s a Native American name) kept asking the extra question to get John Pappas out of the comfort zone.  I both found out some terrifying things about the PPA and also found some new respect for them and for John Pappas through this interview.
  3. Nothing.  Full Tilt is still not paying US customers.  Cereus is still not talking to anyone.  Nevada is still primed to take over organized crime licensing and regulating online poker as soon as a federal law is in place.  I will keep you posted when something interesting happens!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Republican Joe Barton joins Harry Reid in Effort to License and Regulate Online Poker

Most of the time they hate each other with Joe Barton even apologizing to BP about the congressional inquiry regarding the oil spill.

joe_bartonOnline poker was crippled in the United States by a huge wake left by the US Department of Justice and the April 15th, 2011 indictments against three of the biggest online poker rooms in the world.  Those actions left at least 50,000 people without income the depended on to support themselves and their families.  I count myself among this group.

Since that time there has been action in Las Vegas where they have passed a state bill that will enable to well established land casinos (think Caesars and MGM Grand) to take control of licensing when and if a federal law enabling it is passed.  Well, here comes the other foot.

What seemed impossible before with several key republicans ready to block pro-gaming legislation, is now possible because of Rep. Joe Barton’s position as chairmen emeritus of the Energy and Commerce committee which is where they’ll launce their co-sponsored bill.  The trick here is giving the Commerce department the authority to license new online poker operators.  Ok so the shell is under the Commerce department cup—keep following the cups with your eyes there will be a test later.

Even though I don’t like the shenanigans that is attached to this recent round of internet poker drama I do, like so many other poker plays, want a solution for the US, so that we can once again play poker from our homes and promote poker playing opportunities to other Americans.

Someone drop an egg timer, let’s see how long it takes this bill to become a law.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Full Tilt Insists an Account that would cover 1/3 of Player Funds Owed has been Unfrozen.

It’s on again, it’s off again, doj says no accounts are unfrozen, but full tilt says this wasn’t an account frozen by the doj just one that sort of froze itself

hair pulling womanI wrote about this a few days ago in another blog post about Ray Bitar’s account being unfrozen where many news and blog sources reported that an account was unfrozen that covered a third of the $150 million dollars owed to US players since the April 15th, 2011 Department of Justice action (codename Black Mamba).

The new poker news source Subject: Poker revealed that they contacted the Department of Justice and that they said that no accounts frozen during the April 15th action have been unfrozen and that if and when any accounts were unfrozen there would be a press release.

But NOW it seems that Full Tilt is saying that this hefty account wasn’t actually frozen by the DoJ, but that it was frozen by their bank.  EGamingReview reported that “…a company source told this publication the account in question is not one of those named in the original indictment, but a separate corporate account held with the Bank of Ireland.”

No official sources, including the DoJ will confirm or deny that this is true, although if true the DoJ wouldn’t be involved so having no knowledge would be expected.

When originally reported the addition of those 50-60 million dollars to Full Tilt’s coffers gave many US players hope that they would be paid very soon.  That hope was dashed when Full Tilt released it’s May 30th update which sent many players on a tail-spin when the found out that player funds were not segregated, etc..

Kristy Arnet Sums up the WSOP 2011 So Far

She sums up the wsop and if you want more check out her snaptress blog

Visit Kristy Arnet’s Snaptress Blog where she talks about working out with insanity which is, well, insanity.

Phil Ivey Sues Full Tilt

He’s not going to play in the 2011 wsop until funds are returned to us players

phil-ivey-full-tilt-proAt 8pm in the evening on May 31st (Tuesday), Phil Ivey made a 6 part post on his Facebook page describing his lawsuit and his feelings on the current situation with Full Tilt Poker being slow to pay US players. 

Since that time most poker players and fans have shown support for Mr. Ivey while some, such as Scott Matusow have suggested that his current actions are just a case of Phil Ivey protecting himself and serving himself.  For example in the text of the lawsuit Phil Ivey only names himself as the recipient of the $150 million he is suing for.  This has led to Tiltware’s legal response (which is especially ill advised considering the lack of public support for Tiltware at the moment):

Contrary to his sanctimonious public statements, Phil Ivey’s meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player — himself.

Tiltware doubts Mr. Ivey’s frivolous and self-serving lawsuit will ever get to court. But if it does, the company looks forward to presenting facts demonstrating that Mr. Ivey is putting his own narrow financial interests ahead of the players he professes to help.

-Tiltware Response

 

Phil Ivey’s Facebook statement:

For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm.

I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.

My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.

I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.

I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.

Phil Ivey Facebook Posts 8pm May 31st, 2011

 

Ivey-Tiltware Complaint 060111