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    Full Tilt poker, Quadjacks was right, but it’s not that simple….

    Posted by Quad Jacks June 9, 2011

    Firstly, I appear to owe Marco, Zak and the rest of the Wombats an apology. It seems that FTP doesn’t have the funds to pay out its player base. The statement made on the 30th from FTP Doug has finally made it clear that FTP does not have the required funds to pay out the US players, let alone the whole player base.

    Before I go into that statement, let’s take a step backwards, and explain what was officially known before this statement was made.

    FTP had been indicted by the DoJ for “Illegal Online Gambling, Money Laundering and Bank fraud.” As part of this indictment, several large bank accounts belonging to FTP and its owners were seized.

    FTP had been encountering “Accounting Issues” for the previous 6 months, resulting to an estimated $60 million hole in the books.

    FTP’s Licence with Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) requires them to hold player funds, only allowing them to be used for Player Bets. These funds were not required to be segregated, but were meant to be Audit Tagged for this purpose.

    An FTP account had been released by the DoJ with about $50 million in it. This would have to be player funds, the DoJ wouldn’t release any other funds at this time.

    No other information had been released officially, or from known named sources that could be determined to be reliable.

    From this information, I, and several other commentators, had come to the conclusion that FTP had the player funds, and was having to wade through 6 months + of screwed up accounting, in order to pay out the US player base. They weren’t communicating very well, but this was Full Tilt, we were used to that. AGCC was part of a proper government, and was not a “joke” organisation like The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and I for one was expecting the AGCC to actually have kept an eye on its licensee. It was a matter of “when”, not “if” players got their money back.

    I had even stated that players who were still owed money by FTP should follow the AGCC complaints procedure, and apply pressure to FTP to speed up the payment process. I thought that FTP had earned our trust over the past few years.

    Now, since FTP Doug’s post on 2+2 on Monday, this assessment of the situation has been consigned to the wastebasket of history, and all over 1 phrase:

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

    This one phrase has probably killed Full Tilt Poker as a viable business. The fact is that the players’ funds aren’t available, and the company is not liquid enough to pay out of company assets. So, FTP is trying to raise capital to pay out the players. What happened to the players’ funds? Why were they used, in breach of the AGCC licence, for things other than player bets? If player funds are still seized by the DoJ, prove it to the DoJ, and you’ll get it back. This has already happened once.

    AGCC’s reputation is starting to get tarnished by this now as well. If they want to keep their reputation as a Gaming Regulator, they need to act soon. Guilt by association is nearly as bad as collusion.

    Now, Phil Ivey has taken a stand. He’s the 1st member of Team Full Tilt to stick his head above the parapet. He’s taken a stand, and said that he will not be playing any WSOP events this year, unless FTP players are paid out in full. More importantly, he has begun a lawsuit “against TiltWare related to the unsettled player accounts.”

    This is the 1st legal avenue explored in regards to the return of player funds, and maybe it will be the most profitable one. Whatever Ivey’s reasons are behind these actions, I feel that the legal avenue needs to be explored, and Ivey certainly has enough money to do it. His actions are correct; his motivations are up for discussion.

    I don’t know where I am with FTP right now. Before Monday, I had them pegged as a basically sound business that had some account issues, and lots of PR issues. Now, I’m left with a taste in my mouth that’s not that pleasant. I defended FTP on the forums, and especially on Quadjacks. I said, let’s not make assumptions, and let’s not base our thoughts on conjecture. We need to work with the official information, and only accept information from reliable sources. Now, the rumours seem to be true. Zak (and I SO want to know who is his source is) appears to have hit the nail on the head. FTP doesn’t have the money. They are trying to raise capital to pay players. Either the owners liquidate personal assets, or outside investors will need to come in. Outside investors will want a lot of control, and based on these fuck-ups, that might be for the best. FTP has destroyed its reputation. Its place as the perennial princess to Pokerstar’s queen has gone. FTP will be whispered alongside UB/AP as places you really don’t want to play poker, you’ll never know if you can get your money back afterwards.

    I’ll leave you with one comment:

    If you have money on FTP right now, do whatever you can to get it off ASAP.

    If you are outside the US, withdraw. Get you money off, and go and play on Party Poker, Pokerstars, iPoker or any of the other reliable networks.

    If you are in the US, make some noise. Offer to join Ivey in the lawsuit; complain to the AGCC; apply as much pressure as possible. If you don’t complain, you obviously don’t need that money.

    It now appears that the account released was not by the DoJ, but had been suspended by the Bank of Ireland. This article was written on the 06/01/2011, and the situation has progressed, but I’m too lazy to rewrite this. I’ll knock something together in the near future.

    There is 1 Comment

    1. Kevin
      - June 9, 2011
        -   Reply

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

      I came to the same conclusion about this quote, which is just reinforced by the fact we are several weeks now post-black friday, and full tilt still hasn’t played it’s American customers.

      I’m Canadian, so I wasn’t directly affected, but the indirect effects are obvious. Smaller guarantees, much much smaller player numbers for North/South American ‘peak hours’. They seem to be losing 3%-7% of their numbers each and every week. They can only keep that up for so long before it has trickly down effects on everything else, and it comes crashing down.

      I took most of my money out a few weeks ago. I left a very,very small amount on FTP with the vow that if I lost it, I was done with them. I haven’t played on FTP in close to a week now. I’m playing in the Ironman freerolls this weekend to cash out the last of my medals, and if I do cash, the money is coming out right away..and likely going over to PokerStars.

      I’ve been a regular FTP player for three years, with ironman status for more then two of those years.

      If you are still there, get out while you can. This is going to the poker world, what “Enron” was to the energy sector.

    Write Your Comment

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