Pokerfarm News Round Up

Feb. 3, 2012, Posted by Pokerfarm

Pokerfarm News Round Up

Former FTP pros owe a significant amount of money

Although the purchase of Full Tilt Poker seemed like a done deal, Groupe Bernard Tapie attorney warns of more shady business.

Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), a French company that reached an agreement with the US DOJ to acquire FTP for a sum of $80M seems to be on its toes. While collecting all possible data about the FTP company and its subsidiaries, they were very optimistic and stated the deal would soon go through. However, recent developments in the FTP story are worse than they thought.

As things stand, the company is owed a sum around $20M by their former pros. Here is the statement from Behn Dayanim, GBT’s attorney:

‘GBT doesn't want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erick Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount.

If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn't the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won't end on any one issue - but this is a substantial item.’

It’s surely a rocky road for the buyers, but it’s also disastrous news for players owed money by FTP.

Barry Greenstein responds to FTP debt allegations

The only pro who responded to GBT allegations was Barry Greenstein – the so called Robin Hoody of poker.

The news of Barry owing money to Full Tilt was bizarre since he was always a Pokerstars icon, so he was asked by multiple websites to explain the situation. Barry decided to share his thoughts via the TwoPlusTwo forums.

‘I borrowed $400,000 to play on Full Tilt a few years ago, before PokerStars had high stakes games. I didn’t pay it back, hoping that some people who owed me and had money on Full Tilt would pay me there so I could use that against the debt. (I'm only owed about $150,000 now). I have assumed when this case is resolved, the DOJ will allow methods for dealing with debt to FTP.

Tapie Group contacted me last week and asked if I would pay them directly. Their attorney offered me the opportunity to pay in installments so I could have a chance to use money owed to me. He even offered me the opportunity to discount my debt if the US players don’t get paid in full. I told him that I have never paid less than I owe on any debt and I would rather wait until the DOJ establishes a fund for the US players.

I don't believe my debt has any impact on the sale to the Tapie group as they have alleged. I was concerned about taking money due to US players and giving it to the Tapie Group because it is understood that the Tapie Group won't be the one paying the US players. On the other 
hand, I realize that the total debt counting other players is substantial, especially because I would include in that tally any money taken from FTP once it had become insolvent.

Here is an excerpt from the letter I sent to their attorney:

‘The consensus in the poker community is that all money owed to Full Tilt or taken by investors after the company became insolvent should be used to pay back player’s funds. If I were to make a deal with you it would look like I had turned my back on the best interests of the American players.

Even though the terms are easier for me if I deal with you and it will fulfill my legal obligation, I have to see how things work out with the DOJ and try to make good on my moral obligation to the US players. I assume at some time in the future the DOJ will establish a pool of funds from Full Tilt’s assets that will be used to pay off some percentage of the player balances that are owed.’

Greenstein is the only player to comment on the situation thus far.

Brazil certifies poker as a game of skill

After all the bad publicity the game of poker received in recent times, there is some promising news coming from South America.

It seems like the Brazilian Ministry of Sport has recognized poker as a game of skill! An agreement was supposedly reached behind closed doors and it seems that the Brazilian Texas Hold’em Confederation (biggest poker advocacy group in Brazil) had great success with their promotion of the game.

The Ministry of Sport’s website now states that ‘poker is a competitive practice in which the participant requires intelligence, ability and intellectual and behavioral skills to succeed.’ Will it pave the way for other countries? Maybe the American legislators could learn something from the Brazilian government.

The most epic cooler ever

Today we go back in time and remind you of a truly gross cooler that happened in the 2008 World Series of Poker. How does it feel to lose with quad aces in the biggest tournament on the planet? Unfortunately, this gentleman knows.

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