Doyleism of the Day: "If you put both your feet in your mouth, you won't have a leg to stand on."
by Doyle Brunson | Published: Feb 29, '12
The deeper you dig into the Full Tilt mess the more intriguing it becomes. I'm being accused of defending Howard Lederer because of a personal friendship in lots of places. I'm not backing down one bit from what I said or what I believe. I have the right to have my own opinion. I'm not saying Howard (and Chris Ferguson) have no guilt, but the degree of the guilt is misunderstood and that there was no intent to defraud anyone. There are four different blogs up at www.doylebrunson.com/news sharing different points of view so everyone can decide for themselves. Would I bet my life everything I say and believe is true? No, but I would bet money most of it is.
It also looks as if people are trying to say there is a feud between me and Daniel Negreanu. That's false, Daniel and I are good friends but have disagreed many times about many things. I've always admired Daniel for saying what he thinks no matter who it offends. But it seems (at least to me) that he sometimes goes over the top and says inappropriate things. Besides his written blog, Daniel has a Vblog on YouTube that is highly entertaining. He has "Daniels Weekly Rant" which is exactly that a rant. I'll watch it every week to get his explosive points of view. If you watched it this week, the dog videos to illustrate his points were really cool.
Back to FT, every reasonable person agrees there is at least a remote chance Howard and Chris knew nothing about the financial problems before Black Friday. Now the big question is why wouldn't the board of directors know? I've been told that FT was a California LLC and the board should accept the financial reports from management. The board was there as an advisory group and had nothing to do with finances except look at the reports. That is my understanding and if it isn't correct, don't all you lawyers out there hammer me about it. There was a seat open on the board that no stockholder wanted. The board could be changed by a majority vote by the stockholders but no one wanted the responsibility of being on the board. So perhaps that is another piece to the puzzle.
If in truth Ray Bitar is the culprit in this mess why is he still running the remnants of the company? Why wasn't he fired right away? Simple answer â€“ Bitar is the only one who knows all the ins and outs of the company, and the company gaming licenses were in his name. Who else knows? Bitar has his name on all of the different corporations, documents, bank accounts, etc. He is probably trying to do his best to make the best of a bad situation. Bitar undoubtedly is under the supervision of lawyers and FT representatives. I spent a couple of weekends before Black Friday playing Chinese Poker with Bitar, Lederer, and Eli Elezra while watching football games. By just listening to the conversation between Bitar and Lederer, it was obvious that Bitar has far more knowledge of FT affairs than Lederer.
Another unanswered question is why did Chris Ferguson choose to leave 40 million dollars in the hands of FT Management? Was it because he thought the company was sound and it was a safe place for his dividends? Or did he leave it because he was a "good guy" and thought it might be needed in case of emergency.
If you are looking for guilt, it for sure comes after Black Friday. To say that FT was washed up at that point and kept taking money from non US players knowing the money was not safe is ridiculous. I know for sure that there were tentative term sheets on the table that would have allowed all the US players to withdraw their money and FT stockholders would retain a small part of the company. If the sign read Jack Binion's Full Tilt Poker and the US players got their money back and FT operated outside the US, does anyone doubt the site would still be operating profitably? There were other rich people looking at acquiring FT also but when a major FT stockholder filed suit against the company, interest waned for the potential buyers. This is where guilt is. Where and when should FT have thrown up their hands and put the company in a distress sale? How do you walk away from a company making millions of dollars every month? This is where in hind sight the major error happened. Bad judgment, greed, reluctance to just give up, etc. That is the crime and to view it any other way isn't logical. So everyone make your own opinion about it.
FT could make a statement like "We are sorry about this and we are working on the best deal that is still available." What good would that do? I like What Bill Rini said in his blog, do a search on YouTube for "don't talk to cops". Ask any Federal officer and see what they say. They would love it if every suspect would give their version of a suspected crime. Another reason there hasn't been a lot of talk is that every potential buyer insists on having confidentiality agreements to prevent details from being known.
The real winners in this travesty will be the lawyers. This could drag on for years and the legal bills will be enormous. Who exactly will pay these bills? If Lederer, Ferguson, and Bitar have to go to trial, then appeals court, etc will they have to foot the expense? Will the stockholders who have been paid millions of dollars help? Most of them have lost that money gambling, living the good life, etc. I guess the answer to that is it's none of my damn business, and actually that is a very good answer.
I'm in the same boat as most FT customers. I had 28k on FT, my son Todd had 30k and my daughter Pam had 5k. So that is 63k of Brunson money that is in dire jeopardy. For those people that say that is a drop in the bucket for me should see my bank statement and look into my lock boxes and see the empty rubber bands. While I'm not going to starve to death, the economy knocked the hell out of my finances. Do I think the Tapie deal to buy FT will happen and we will get our money back? No, I don't think so but where there is life there is hope and the deal isn't completely dead yet.
I don't intend to keep talking about all the FT problems. I have probably said too much but I still feel I have the right to express my opinion. If you have different ones, fine, go write your own blog. Nothing but a confession from the accused parties will make me change my mind. But I'll try to keep an open mind.
My thanks to my Twitter followers who for the most part have been supportive of my right to give my opinion. To the forum posters who seem to be mainly a bunch of retards waiting to blast anything or anybody, please take a long walk off a short pier.
To the people who called me all those bad names and threatened me with physical violence - Caution: Don't bring a baseball bat to a gun fight!
May the flop be with you!