Poker News

Full Tilt Poker Saga

Published by on September 28, 2011

This Full Tilt poker story is something that a Hollywood writer couldn’t have come up with. But believe me, there will be at least one movie about this in the future.

Let’s get you quickly up to date with the poker news from Full Tilt Poker over the past year:

This all started about a year ago when the payment processors that Full Tilt was using started getting stopped from accepting player deposits because of actions of the banks and US government. Instead of waiting for another way to get the money from the players’ bank accounts, Full Tilt opted to accept the deposit attempts and give the poker players the money in their Full Tilt account even though they couldn’t get the money.

Some players caught on to the game early. They found out that their bank accounts weren’t being charged and made the deposits to get the free chips. In some cases, the players were able to cash out without ever making an actual deposit. This made it highly likely that Full Tilt poker would have failed even if there was no government intervention on April 15th this year.

I like this quote from Bodog’s founder Calvin Ayre: “The FTP board should all be fitted with extra large dunce caps” for allowing players to deposit money into an account on the site without having the ability to withdraw the players’ money.

On April 15th, the US government decided to “sweep the leg” and confiscated Full Tilt’s domain along with PokerStars. They did not give the domain names back until they agreed to stop accepting American players. PokerStars has not had any problems since. They were able to pay their players back and they are still one of the largest poker sites in the world.

Full Tilt poker has not been so lucky. They found out that they would be about $150 million short of what there should have been in the cumulative players account. Therefore, they went into bankruptcy in July.

Last week, news came out that the Government was adding Ponzi scheme charges to the case against Full Tilt. This is because of the massive shortfall of cash and not being able to pay their players back. In this case, the government is using the “Ponzi scheme” annotation to catch headlines, because everyone in the financial world knows what this means and can form an opinion against online poker.

This isn’t a Ponzi scheme, named after Charles Ponzi who first perpetrated this kind of financial crime, but it’s close and they don’t have a word for doing something this stupid yet.

However, Full Tilt describes a poker player that is ready to make bad decisions and bust out. Maybe it can be called a Full Tilt when a company doesn’t take the money from investors but gives them credit for giving them the money.

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