Phil Ivey Returns to Tournament Poker
Former Full Tilt Pro Enters APPT Macau
Phil Ivey, widely considered poker’s best player, has returned to the live tournament scene, months after the online poker site he represented was accused of financial crimes. He entered the Asian Pacific Poker Tour Macau main event on Wednesday.
The eight-time bracelet winner has been off the poker radar since April 15’s indictments against operators of the major offshore poker companies. In May he decided to sit out the entire 2011 World Series of Poker in response to the specific allegations against Full Tilt Poker.
He also filed suit against his former employer, citing disappointment and embarrassment that players were not paid their account balances. Ivey was also seeking more than $150 million for “injunctive relief, declaratory relief and damages.”
The company soon fired back at the superstar, stating that he was only trying to help himself and he had declined to pay back a large sum owed to the site.
He later withdrew his lawsuit when rumors began circulating in June that European investors were seeking to purchase the site.
Major news outlets reported last week that a French firm reached a deal with the Justice Department to acquire the company if it is able to settle its civil case. Authorities will not confirm statements from Groupe Bernard Tapie’s attorney.
Full Tilt Poker owes about $150 million to U.S. players and about the same to its foreign base, after allegedly becoming insolvent in the operation of a Ponzi scheme.
In September, Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara accused Full Tilt Poker’s board members Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst of working with CEO Ray Bitar to defraud poker players out of more than $440 million over a four-year period.
Ivey’s name has never appeared in a Justice Department filing, and he has not been accused of a crime.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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