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Showing posts with label full tilt poker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label full tilt poker. 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

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"

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.

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!

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Subject: Poker Reports That the Cake is a Lie! (And Ray Bitar Didn’t Get His Account Unfrozen)

doj_largeAround the 27th of May reports that the Department of Justice had unfrozen one of Ray Bitar’s accounts worth around 60 million.  This money would presumable be used to pay back the 150 million dollars owed to US players from Full Tilt.  However it appears that the DoJ did not unfreeze the account (as reported today by Subject: Poker):

 

 

 

The Public Information Office of the US Attorney's Office has informed Subject: Poker that NO deal has been struck with Full Tilt Poker to release or unfreeze any funds. eGaming Review Magazine reported Friday that an Irish bank account containing "more than a third of the US$100m to $150m still owed to US players" had been released to FTP. They cited an unnamed FTP source as having provided the information. The false story was widely reported on other gaming news sites, on social media, and on various poker forums. The rumor also lead to widespread speculation that Full Tilt's Monday announcement would include a timeline for the return of US player funds. It did not. The USAO representative made clear that funds had not been released and that any such action...

Subject: Poker

The other possibility is that one part of the DoJ is not talking to the other part of the DoJ.  The idea that they release a press release whenever they unfreeze a bank account sounds ridiculous on its face so another day or so will reveal the truth here.  In the mean time enjoy the chaos brought to you by the United States Department of Justice (Motto: we do what we must because we can?)

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.

It’s Saturday So What the Heck Is Going On In the Poker World?

USA Catches Its Breath from DoJ Attacks

Justice Department DOJThe original DoJ indictments targeted four cardrooms: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. Of those cardrooms they have temporarily returned the .com domain names to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for the purposes of paying US players.  They also have an agreement with UltimateBet/Absolute Poker that those cardrooms will be allowed and able to return US player funds however the DoJ did not return their domain names.  Players can access them now at ubpoker.eu and absolutepoker.eu.
As far as returning funds goes only PokerStars has stepped up and actually accomplished this task so far.  It seems as though Full Tilt, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are short on cash and looking to raise it either from the rake or (rumor has it for Full Tilt) by selling off part of the company.  In any case paying the funds owed to US players is a top priority for all these sites because they will lose the players in the rest of the world if they show they do not honor their player obligations.  There are other rumors and predictions that at least the beginning of a Full Tilt payoff for US players will happen by the start of the 2011 WSOP (that’s in just a few days so we will see).full-tilt-poker
This situation has also brought to light that Full Tilt (and possibly other cardrooms) does not segregate player funds from their operating capitol.  In the future having funds segregated until the cardroom actually “earns” the money through rake will be a must and hopefully a regulatory requirement which will eliminate these player payment issues.

Poker News Sites are Taking Advantage

I’ve seen several examples of poker news sites and blogs posting false news stories to make it look like their product is the one true cardroom and then blatantly post their affiliate link to this place at the end of their story.  Even news sites as large as www.cardplayer.com have been caught doing this with sites as lame as webcam poker or cardrooms on the Merge gaming network (which still serves US players).
I certainly understand the panic these places must feel in terms of paying their bills.  Right now almost 100% of all poker advertising income has ceased for the low limit poker sites that I own.  The big three cardrooms aren’t paying affiliates (yet) and once they do the player base won’t include US players which will reduce the amount of income for most US-based affiliates by anywhere from 75% to 95%.  I am  literally having trouble paying rent at the moment, but even so let’s have a little dignity and not mislead the very poker players we’ve always tried to help.  Ok?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Relentless Defense Writes “U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tilt”

us dept of justiceThe lawyers from the Relentless Defense website write an excellent article regarding the DoJ action against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and UltimateBet on April 15, 2011 debunking many charges and clarifying the legal situation and parallel the thoughts of I. Nelson Rose, an expert on Gambling and the Law (read his articles on www.gamblingandthelaw.com).

United States v. Scheinberg, et. al.

It has long been axiomatic that criminal statutes should be written in such a manner that there remains no ambiguity regarding the prohibited conduct.[1] After all, a person has a right to know exactly what conduct he may engage in without running afoul of power hungry prosecutors. While it has never been quite enough, it is this maxim that has occasionally restrained Federal prosecutors from using the strong-arm tactics of a Mafia Don. But not today.

Relying primarily on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) (31 U.S.C. §5361, et. al.) on April 15, 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Manhattan brazenly seized the websites of Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, and Absolute Poker and unsealed indictments against eleven individuals, including the founders of the poker sites and four bankers, charging them with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking at least $3 billion in “civil money laundering penalties and forfeiture” from the poker sites and the defendants. Before moving on the poker sites, the U.S. Attorney’s Office secured restraining orders against at least 75 bank accounts allegedly used by the poker sites to process their payments.

For those who operated the sites and for those who played poker at their online tables, April 15th was characterized as “Black Friday.”

A criminal indictment is no small matter. The power to indict is the power to destroy. Those targeted today by the Federal government are unable to access much of their funds, making it difficult if not impossible for them to meet their obligations.  They stagger from the blows to their reputations, watch helplessly as their friends recoil from them, and awaken every morning to the crippling fear of incarceration. In our Federal courts the presumption of innocence is meaningless, for without a single conviction, these ruthless prosecutors have taken all these men have and threaten to confiscate whatever morsel they have so far missed. Even if exonerated, the damage done to these men is severe and very likely irreversible. Given this awesome power, one would hope that these prosecutors would not arbitrarily ruin the lives of their fellow citizens unless they were sure these individuals had violated a criminal statute.  Not so.

Read the rest of the article

Friday, May 20, 2011

PPA Continues “Glue Sniffing” Approach to Protecting Poker Players Rights.

Today I received (as I’m sure most people reading this blog have) a new email message from the Poker Players Alliance.  In it they say:

ppa_logoWe are now more than one month past Black Friday and there are still many concerns among poker players. Chief among those is the return of player funds. As recently as this week the PPA has communicated with Full Tilt Poker and shared with them player concerns about payouts. [ed. Seriously?  You shared with them that poker players have concerns about not receiving money from them?  You think they didn’t KNOW that?]

As the organization representing the interest of the players, we have shared with Full Tilt Poker the frustration of the players and have urged Full Tilt Poker to fulfill their promises to allow U.S. players to cash out their account balances. We are very encouraged by our communications with them. It is clear that progress is being made and that Full Tilt Poker remains committed to playing players as soon as possible. This is a top priority and we are confident that they are working toward a solution to return player funds.  [ed. Besides “talking to them” what else are you doing?  What specifically have you said to them and what specifically have they replied?  Talking to them is 100% meaningless they already have huge pressure from the players themselves and the international community to pay the money to US players—Is your talking doing ANYTHING?  No!]

It is important to note that Full Tilt Poker has always paid out their players even in the face of similar legal obstacles or factors not in their control, such as payment processor defaults and prior actions by the US government to seize US players' funds. The PPA will continue to communicate with Full Tilt Poker until the matter is resolved. [ed. OBVIOUSLY this situation is FAR different than previous processor fund grabs from the DoJ both in scope and in them going after the founders of the big three online poker rooms directly.  Previous money grabs didn’t force them out of the US market but THIS ONE DID which is a HUGE AND ONGOING financial hit]

The  PPA similarly calls on Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet to fulfill their  promises to allow U.S. players to cash out their account balances.  The  PPA will initiate a dialogue with Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet to  convey to them the frustration of our membership. [ed. Again do you think they don’t know that poker players with Cereus balances are frustrated and/or worried?  A far bigger deal to both Full Tilt and Cereus is that if they default on their responsibility to pay US players then they will lose their international players because, after all, who is going to put their money in a cardroom that doesn’t pay?  Large scale welching will never be tolerated.]

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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

“The Motley Fool” Argues for an End to Online Poker Shutdowns

motley_foolA few weeks ago, I questioned the FBI's decision to shut down a handful of online poker websites. The FBI correctly interpreted the law -- but that law didn't make any sense. Why ban online gambling when its negative effects are demonstrably less harmful than other perfectly legal evils such as obesity, smoking, or medical bills?

More importantly, this debate is about which businesses should and shouldn't be regulated. I believe that things need regulation when they can cause widespread collateral damage on innocent bystanders. Most courts have taken that test a step further, judging the legality of a game based on whether it relies on skill or luck. Skill is good. It's capitalism. Luck is bad. It ruins people -- or so the thought goes. The current ban on online poker rests largely on this skill-vs.-luck premise.

A new paper by Thomas Miles and Steven Levitt (the latter of Freakonomics fame) challenges it. The two economists used data from the 32,000 players who participated in last year's World Series of Poker to show, convincingly, that successful poker players are indeed skillful folks.

Read the rest of the story @ the Motley Fool