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Showing posts with label US Players. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Players. Show all posts

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Full Tilt Officially Sold to the Groupe Bernard Tapie for 80 Million: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

The on-the-surface good news is that the sale of Full Tilt Poker has been finalized and all players will (when is still unclear) be receiving the money from their player accounts.  The new agreement with the US Department of Justice prevents existing directors to hold shares in the new company, and GBT will have to relicense Full Tilt to start doing business again although that should be a very minor hurdle.

The frightening news for US players is the way the deal is structured.

What GBT and Full Tilt have done is essentially forfeited all assets of Full Tilt Poker to the US DOJ and then the DOJ is in turn selling Full Tilt back to GBT for 80M.  The player balances will be paid back by Groupe Bernard Tapie if they are outside of the US and will be paid back by the DOJ if they are inside the US.

Why is this scary?  Let me count the ways:

  1. Most significantly the US DOJ not only has a complete accounting of your player income from Full Tilt now but they will be cutting you a check.  If you are in the US, and are owed a lot of money, this may send a shiver up your spine when you consider the tax and legal ramifications. 

    You might as well consider that you are receiving a 1099 for the amount of your check when you receive it and good luck convincing the IRS that you lost a similar amount on the site earlier to offset those winnings.
  2. What standing does the DOJ have to receive forfeited property and then resell it without public access or review?  In other words if the DOJ confiscates a yacht it would normally be sold at a public auction and not to one specific buyer.  A non public process like the one that took place invites corruption in the DOJ.
  3. When last checked some player balances were not restored to their correct amounts.  It may be difficult or impossible to fix these issues when the DoJ is in control of the disbursements.

Since the deal was just announced hopefully there will be some clarification on these and other issues, but for now it might not be the time to get out the party hats.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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"

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…

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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Full Tilt Posts 5/30/2011 Status Update on 2+2 Forums

TwoPlusTwo-Poker-ForumsThis new update really doesn’t change much.  They are acknowledging a lack of funds to pay players (which I thought most people understood by now, but based on the reaction of the 2+2 forum members many did not).  Some people are overreacting but the bottom line is that Full Tilt Poker WILL make good on their obligations to US players.  Now as to whether the rumor that they will make their first payments to US players sometime this week comes true only time will tell.

Here’s the full text of their update:

 

 

 

To our customers:

We acknowledge that our lack of communication reflects poorly on us, and rightfully so. We have been too optimistic in estimating how long it would take to sort through the issues we have faced since Black Friday. And as frustrating as the delays have been for us, we recognize that it cannot compare to the frustration you have been feeling.

We further recognize that our lack of communication has led to much speculation and many unsubstantiated rumors, which have often been contradictory. With this message, we hope to clear up as much confusion as we can, while at the same time keeping in mind the constraints imposed on us as a result of the cases brought in the Southern District of New York.

The most pressing questions:

1. When will the US players be paid?

We still do not have a specific timeframe for this. There has been, and remains, no bigger priority than getting US players paid as soon as possible, and we have been working around the clock to get this done. 

2. Is FTP bankrupt?

No. FTP's worldwide business is healthy and, although we've had some short-term challenges, it is operating as normal.

From: 
http://www.gamblingcontrol.org/userf...2020110516.pdf

"The AGCC’s investigation into the affairs of it licensee Vantage Limited, trading as Full Tilt.com, is ongoing; initial investigations indicate no reason to believe that player fund transactions are fundamentally threatened by any consequence of the US authorities' actions. Delays caused by these actions are in the process of resolution, with normal service now being restored for non-US players. We understand that progress in respect of US player fund repatriation is anticipated and will be the subject of a separate statement from Full Tilt in due course. The Commission will remain engaged in this process."

3. What is the company doing to speed up payouts to the US players?

We are raising capital to ensure that the US players are paid out in full as quickly as possible.

It is important to remember that Full Tilt Poker has always paid out our players, even in the face of previous legal obstacles or factors not in our control, such as payment processor defaults and prior actions by the US government which resulted in US player funds being seized.

In all of these previous instances, Full Tilt Poker has covered these losses and intends to do the same again.

4. Why are the Full Tilt Pros remaining silent?

It is not their choice. But they are constrained by the pending legal actions. 

As a final note, we understand -- and have always understood -- the effect that our brief statements have had not only on our customers, but also on our reputation. It has not been easy to stay silent and watch the damage being done to our company brand and personal reputations, but we need to be mindful of the complicated and serious legal issues raised in the pending cases.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hot From the Rumor Mill–Full Tilt Will Start Paying Next Week

A reliable but not-to-be-quoted source tells me that Full Tilt Poker will begin paying US players starting sometime next week.  Now personally I haven’t even had funds placed in my account from a failed cashout on April 7th, and there is no claim that all people will be able to fully cash out, but there should be the start of actual cashouts which is really great news and coincides with the beginning of the WSOP.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yesterday’s PPA Protest in Washington D.C.

Yesterday (May 24, 2011) the Poker Player’s Alliance took Greg Raymer and dozens of other poker professionals to Washington to talk to senators, congressmen and really anyone who would listen about the issues on online poker and the recent crackdown by the Department of Justice on “Black Friday” April 15, 2011 against the three largest online poker rooms serving the United States.
The message of the PPA was one calling for regulation and taxation of online poker “now” and the message that many many Americans have been affected by the loss of either their income source or their hobby.
Did their trip have an impact?  None that is immediately apparent.  The machine that is going to license and regulate poker in the United States is already turning and at this point the PPA is like a child yelling at workers at an in-progress construction site to “keep building.”  “They will. They will.”
Forbes Blog Gets It Wrong RE: Doyle Brunson
Apparently Nathan Vardi wasn’t aware that Doyle has been distancing himself from Doyle’s Room since the April 15th action by the DoJ.  Some are saying he had inside knowledge there were going after targets closer to him but in any event he made it public he was severing ties with Doyle’s Room weeks ago.
Here’s the full Forbes Blog Entry

Monday, May 16, 2011

Full Tilt Poker Updates Status of US Player Withdrawals on Two Plus Two Forum

logo_fulltiltpokerThe short version is that they aren’t ready yet and there’s no set date for the next update. FTPDoug on the twoplustwo forum posted this update late Sunday May 15th (read the full version on twoplustwo here):

When are we getting our money back?

- Here's the official statement about where we currently stand on US withdrawals:

"Since April 15th and the days immediately following, Full Tilt Poker faced numerous challenges and hurdles to ensuring the smooth operation of its international business and the orderly return of US player funds. FTP has worked tirelessly to address these issues and has made significant progress on both fronts. 

FTP's international business operations are returning to normal while we focus on ensuring the safe and orderly return of US player deposits. We are absolutely committed to making sure that US players are refunded as soon as possible. We apologize for the delay and the fact that we underestimated the time it would take to work through these issues. We will update our US players when we have more specific information to provide."

And what's going to happen with our points?

- We will be opening up the FTP Store to US players again. All of the details haven't been worked out yet, but this is how you will be able to use your points. It's expected that everything in the store will be available for purchase except for bonuses and tickets. We will be sure to keep everyone updated when we know more, including when the store will re-open.

Where we're at in terms of reconciling US player accounts:

  • All promos have been paid out. That includes Take 2, Tournament Leaderboards, Cash Back, and the FTOPS Satellite Challenge payments.
  • T$ and Ticket conversion has started, but is a slower process and will continue through next week.
  • Pending rakeback payments should also happen next week, but only after all of the store purchases that need to be refunded have been refunded.
  • Iron Man medals have been distributed for April's play. Iron Man freeroll tickets will be converted to medals before all medals are converted to FTPs.
Other answers for US players:

1. what bout my cashout on April 15th that obviously hasn't come AND has not been put back into my account?!

- All cashouts that were never received (or checks that were received but couldn't be deposited) should be placed back into your Full Tilt account this coming week.

2. Can there be an "opt-out" for the medals/points conversions? Since it looks like there won't be a forced cash-out for relocating players, can we just keep our accounts intact?

- There is no opt-out for the medals conversion, but we won't be forcing anyone to use their points if they'd prefer waiting until they can play again to use them.

3. what about FTP store purchases made prior to April 15th, but weren't sent out yet and put on hold. Are we going to get FTPs back for those or are you going to start sending those out soon?

- We are going to cancel and give the FTPs (or medals) back for any store purchases that have not yet shipped.

4. you tell us we'll get our pending rakeback, but what about reimbursement for rakeback hits for store items that haven't and won't come?

- We will make sure any MGR hit is reversed on any store shipments that have to be cancelled. This is one of the reasons the final rakeback payments were delayed.

5. if we final tabled a FTOPS or MiniFTOPS event in the last series, will people in the United States still receive the jacket that they are supposed to get?

- Yes, these will still be sent out.

6. Posting to make sure you don't forget about PMI Doug. Also an update on that would be nice as last week you said people were still working on it.

- We have confirmed that the recurring charge will not happen again. As far as we can tell it didn't happen in April, so that's a good sign. There is still an ongoing investigation into exactly what happened and how.

7. just noticed the "my promotions" page doesn't work either. not sure how they can get the academy, iron man stuff right without these pages functioning.

- I'm looking into this.

Answers for non-US players:

8. Moneybookers?

- Moneybookers has been turned back on for some countries. Once it's confirmed everything is flowing smoothly more countries will be added.

9. CAN YOU PLEASE INCREASE THE MAX BUYIN FOR RUSH.

- There are no plans for this at the moment, sorry.

10. I think the tournament time shifts are definitely a good idea. However, you need to shift more than just a few of the majors. By shifting just these few tournaments it actually makes the tourney schedule considerably more inconvenient.

- What "normal" tournaments do you feel are missing from earlier times? Most US prime time tournaments have a Euro prime time equivalent already, so we didn't think shifting the entire schedule was necessary. If there are particular tournaments you think the Euro friendlier schedule is still missing, though, let us know and we can shift the later version or just add a new version of it at an earlier time.

11. Will this effect Iron Man freerolls as well

- Yeah, Iron Man freerolls will start a few hours earlier than they used to.

12. What’s going to happen to the Cash Back Bonus for those people who are planning to be in the US for the whole of the WSOP? Are FTP going to make a 1-time exception so we don't lose it?

- We'll figure something out to make sure you don't lose it.

13. I see the 150 seats to the WSOP has been removed. Are you planning on doing something like a 50 or 75 Gtd?

- No plans for that, no. The entire WSOP promotion has been scaled back, and that larger qualifier was one of the casualties.

14. Not sure if this has already been posted; but if you select this option [Auto-Close SNGs] & play a matrix, when 1 table closes the whole tourney shuts down?

- One of the small updates last week was to address this bug. It should work fine now, sorry about that.

15. Can you please give back some incentives for table starters

- I'll look into it again for sure.