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Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars Rumors -- Major Hurdle

by Matt Glantz |  Published: Jul 17, '12

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There would be few things better for the poker community than a successful closure to the disaster that was once known as Full Tilt. A finale that would include the players getting all of their money back would not only be a large infusion of funds back into the player pool, but it would also bring a much more delightful atmosphere in poker rooms across our country. All of us in the poker world are of course cheering for some magic resolution of the Full Tilt Saga currently involving a PokerStars buyout of the company. Unfortunately I see one major hurdle that stops this idea from happening in the current political environment.

One can assume that there are two major reasons PokerStars would be interested in coming to a deal with the DOJ. First to avoid U.S. prosecution in any way and secondly to be allowed to operate legally in the U.S. There is a major problem I see with the latter.

The DOJ has no power in who or what the states allow in their online world. The DOJ can cut any deal they want with PokerStars to free them and their principals from federal prosecution. They can agree not to block PokerStars from coming back into the U.S. in the future. But the problem lies in that the DOJ has no power over the states. How do they insist that the states allow PokerStars to operate in each jurisdiction? The current situation is that each of our ‘gambling’ states is one of a major political presence that is mostly controlled by Caesars (Harrahs). I am not knocking Caesars in any way. I am just stating the reality of it all. It would only make smart business sense for Caesars to do whatever it can to block PokerStars at all costs from getting back in the states. They don’t want that formidable competition in the inevitable multi-billion dollar online gaming industry that will happen in the U.S. Caesars is obviously prepared for this future and they can plainly see the difference between a PokerStars involved U.S. online market and a non-PokerStars U.S. online market. One is which Caesars would surely dominate.

Although I would like to believe this deal will get done to repay the players I have considerable doubts that this will actually happen from this current deal. These latest rumors and ‘almost’ press releases have been bombarding us for months now.

It is unfortunate that the poker playing public with funds tied up in the FTP accounts has been fed these continually ongoing false hopes. The Full Tilt representatives that have been telling everyone since Black Friday that everything will be fine. They are working on deals to get the players paid and there have always been all these ‘potential suitors’. Thinking back from day one they all look like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. From telling us they had a deal worked out originally until Ivey’s lawsuit ‘ruined’ that endeavor; to Tapie is going to buy all of the assets and pay back the players (I had discussed how ludicrous this was at the time) ; to now PokerStars wants to buy the FTP assets at any costs. I got a ton of backlash when I wrote that article about Tapie/Full Tilt back in February.

I discussed what a joke this company Tapie was. How their actions in the recent months before February were not the actions of a true acquirer. More the actions of some sort of dog and pony show trying to pull a fast one on the DOJ and the players. Some FTP shareholders told me “to keep your mouth shut; you don’t know what you are talking about; you are bad for poker; Tapie is the real thing – it’s a done deal.” Well, several weeks later, as expected, the Tapie illusion began to unravel publicly.

The reality of the matter is that none of the Full Tilt guys have any control over what is going on now. It is strictly in the hands of the DOJ. They make all the decisions now. I find it laughable when any of the shareholders tells me anything they “know” about the situation anymore.

I try to deal in reality and common sense, not hopes and dreams. At the time of me writing this one major shareholder has specifically told me to my face, “It is a done deal with PokerStars and was supposed to be completed last week but had to be pushed pack for …. blah blah blah.”. I hope he is correct. But unfortunately in my mind it is only hope and nothing else.

BTW – Just like last time, I really hope I am wrong and this latest rumored deal goes through.

Poker pro Matt Glantz has demonstrated high-stakes versatility by becoming the World Series’ most consistent performer in big money mixed-game tournaments. Since 2008, he has made four WSOP final tables in mixed-game events with buy-ins of $10,000 to $50,000. He has also earned a reputation as one of the top mixed-game cash game players.

Glantz is answering Card Player reader questions about mixed-game poker strategy. Readers can email Matt questions direct to matt.glantz@cardplayer.com and also should check out his website www.mattglantzpoker.com for more strategy and updates from the tournament trail.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

notCIA
almost 7 years ago

If you can't name names, who cares what you think.
Part of the problem is no one in the poker community calls out the scumbags except Daniel. No one calls out the cheats, no one calls out the liars. Seems to me you were one of the people crying for respectability in the poker world, yet you won't reveal names. Sorry, but as far as I am concerned, you have no credibility.

 
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clunker
almost 7 years ago

Reality and common sense. If Pokerstars some how settles with DOJ and pays 100's of millions in fines why would they then buy FTP and take on or even consider paying and additional 440 million owed by FTP. See Sears Co and Sears Holding Co. Sears Co had 100's of millions of shares declared bankruptcy. Renamed co. Sears Holding Co. declared Sears Co stock worthless and reissued 100's of millions of shares as Sears Holding Co. That's how big business does business they don't buy businesses to pay off there debts. Good luck with the dream though.

 
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notCIA
almost 7 years ago

Hey Matt,
In all your high level discussions with "Full Tilt shareholders," did you ever think to ask what Full Tilt assets anyone would consider buying and how they would be valued?
What a joke! All these rumors and people pretending they know something except we can't name names and we can't tell you anything Full Tilt possesses of value.
BTW, FTP lied from day 1, saying our deposits were safe. No one admitted for months that the money was gone. Did you ever ask your "Full Tilt Shareholders" about that?

 
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galego
almost 7 years ago

Is that Bill Chen in the picture? He looks upset.

 
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bparmalee
almost 7 years ago

There were lots of companies that passed on operating during that period because they wanted to wait until internet gaming was actually legal... not just Caesars. We all remember when Party Poker pulled and paid a bunch of fines. All of these companies will line up against Poker Stars ever coming back into the US market. Not to mention that the casino lobby is completely dug into the political system already. Full Tilt has no value. If Poker Stars pays 80 million to buy...plus 200-300 million to pay back Full Tilt debts it is a terrible business decision. I still can't imagine this has any shot. No one gives away 280-400 million dollars with no tangible benefit.

 
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dare2
almost 7 years ago

The DOJ is currently trying to find and examine all of Full Tilt's books but since they're mostly over seas there's little chance of that ever happening.Victimized players may eventually get some small percentage of their money back but it will depend on many variables.First, there must be a conclusion to ALL litigation which could take years.Secondly, the amount returned will be dependent on the amount of funds actually seized and ordered repaid by the courts.Thirdly, it will need to be in compliance with "other procedures" established for the return of forfeited funds to victims by the DOJ.(whatever THAT means.)
The bottom line is, at some point in the distant future, if all goes according to plan, the victims may or may not get a small percentage of their funds returned providing the DOJ cannot only find the funds but somehow determine an equitable method to disperse those funds.We're all gamblers but would you really take those odds?

 
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xizal
almost 7 years ago

It'll be a good deal for Pokerstars if they can buy the assets of Full Tilt while agreeing to pay the outstanding player debt considering how valuable Rush Poker is to the industry.

The Rush Poker patents are potentially worth a lot more than Full Tilt's outstanding player debt?

Many poker rooms now offer Rush Poker style tables and Pokerstars could generate substantial revenue by licencing it to those poker rooms.

 
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Dave112
over 6 years ago

Anybody ever heard of implied odds? Of course Pokerstars would never buy the debt of Full Tilt, because what poker company would want to spend money ADVERTISING itself as a power house savior of the poker world, that would just be a silly waist of advertising money and make people look down upon that company for such a non-greedy acquisition.

 
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lvdaveyboy
over 6 years ago

Considering the potential market pool of a US facing site comprised of the former Coke and Pepsi of the online poker world, I believe the Pokerstars purchase of the Full Tilt assets would be shored up by the sheer fact that there are values remaining in the software, customer list, patents pending on Rush and future earnings potential given by each. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that online gaming legalization at the state level is gaining popularity amid the current economic climate at the state levels.

This said, it should be pointed out that Pokerstars had earnings of approximately $1.4B USD in 2009 & 2010. Essentially they are forfeiting 6 mos earnings while absorbing the assets, customer lists and software from a company that clearly did not know how to execute a successful business model and value customer brand loyalty.

The business model of Pokerstars clearly adheres to these tenets. They have had a huge marketing budget from which this expense could be trimmed over time by merely gaining the customer list. DOJ ends up with the money taken from the victims. Pokerstars is now Coke and Pepsi. They have control over both brands and we have all been able to observe how the brands have been treated by the respective owners.

It is only my opinion but this "remove" the taint associated with Full Tilt because those who originally chose(as is their right) to play on Full Tilt did so because of the differences in the player community there as well as the overall feel of the software. I too am a victim of Full Tilt, but I would gladly play there tomorrow under Pokerstars financial stewardship.

Similar to the differences in taste of colas. I'll bet given the opportunity, the Cola companies would devour each other given the chance. This is Pokerstars opportunity to take the biggest gamble given their past successes in providing a well managed operation to the two most popular brands in the business.

A Stars/Tilt merged community would indeed present some immediate competition to the Caesar's Brand (WSOP). More will be revealed I guess............

 
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clunker
over 6 years ago

Even if Pokerstars settles with the DOJ and at some future time is allowed to operate in the US[which is not certain] what do they gain by buying FTP. They get a worthless shell of a company. Pokerstars player list more then likely covers 95% of FTP's players list if not 100% [0 gain]. Rush poker patents are worth a 1/2 Billion $'s? Would be a lot cheaper to hire programmers and create fast poker or what ever. More likely scenerio is Pokerstars pays couple hundred million in fines and then sells it's self to a US casino to front for them.

 
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xizal
over 6 years ago

You are missing the point about the rush poker patents.

Other poker rooms providing rush poker style gameplay are effectively stealing the patented ideas behind it. Whoever owns the patents can charge a licence fee and the other poker rooms wishing to provide the rush poker gameplay must pay otherwise they are likely to end up in court.

Pokerstars could even keep it to themselves meaning other poker rooms wouldn't be able to offer rush poker style gameplay.

 
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notCIA
over 6 years ago

@xizal: Why do you think FTP owns the rush poker patents? I can't find anything that supports that conclusion and Matt forgot to ask his FTP shareholder buddies.

 
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maxima191
over 6 years ago

Same old hash different year just more of the same useless dripple

 
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clunker
over 6 years ago

It is not clear who owns Rush Poker patents or if there are any. Some claim FTP was paying for the use of Rush Poker and InstaPoker claims there are no patents at all. PokerStars has already rolled out Zoom Poker. Like I said before why pay 1/2 billion for a game you can have programmers create for pennies?

 
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Michael21
over 6 years ago

Here's the official statement about where Full Tilt Poker 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 funds. 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.

 
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clunker
over 6 years ago

Okay Rip Van Winkle what's the date on this statement Apr. 14th,2011? Are you that out of touch with reality or just been sleeping for the last year.

 
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