GBT Takes Some "Flack"
March 2, 2012, Posted by Submission
So the February 29th deadline for Groupe Bernant Tapie to close on their purchase of Full Tilt has been extended for a few weeks, which is sort of surprising. It turns out that an intricate $80 million dollar transaction involving a discredited offshore internet company and the U.S. Department of Justice is more complicated than say, your typical Ebay sale.
I'm not privy to the reason for the holdup; I just know what I read on the internet. And what I read is that a few professional poker players apparently owe Full Tilt $18 million. These players include successful respected pros like Phil Ivey, David Benyamine and Erick Lindgren. Mike Matusow and Layne Flack also owe.
Most people don't spend a lot of time worrying about the personal finances of guys like David Benyamine. However in this case, his finances affect theirs. Players can't cash out of Full Tilt until a sale, and a sale can't occur until debts are paid. GBT's lawyer, Ben Dayanim told pokerstrategy.com this about the pro's outstanding debts: "If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal."
And why wouldn't it? When we're talking about a $80 million dollar transaction, an accounts receivable figure of $18 million dollars is not an insignificant sum. Yet some in the poker community are livid with GBT. "Why are they bringing this up now?" they ask.
Well why do dogs lick themselves in inappropriate places? Because they can.
News flash: Buyers aren't lining up to clean up Howard and company's mess. GBT is the only game in town, and their efforts into shaming debtors to pony up is pretty brilliant - certainly more brilliant than the brain trust that ran Full Tilt.
According to CardPlayer, the previous regime at Full Tilt lent Mike Matasow $700,000. Let me reiterate: they loaned Mike Matasow $700,000. The man who came up with the idea of New Coke thinks this is a stupid business idea.
Someone else who reportedly still owes is Layne Flack, to the tune of $2 million.
Does that number surprise you? Because it shocks the hell out of me. Out of curiosity, I checked to see what the Hendon Mob database has to say about Layne's recent tournament results. You'll be happy to know that in 2010, Flack won the exact same amount of money in tournament poker as did Winston Churchill ($0).
Still, he somehow managed to get $2 million from Full Tilt. Real quick, let's see a show of hands. How many of you have a Full Tilt account? I see. Most of you. Now, how many of you were able to email the Full Tilt cashier and request $2,000,000 be credited to your account? Nobody? Good, at least I'm not the only one.
I don't mean to pick on Layne Flack. He seems like a decent cat. He does charity work, and has made speaking appearances for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (The audience was full of poker players, making a wish that they'd get their bankrolls back.)
It's just that most of us posses at least a small about of shame, and we'd be embarrassed about this debt. We'd work diligently to repay what we owe. Flack seems above such triviality, based on his actual Twitter postings:
- 8/29/11: "After 6 holes at shadow. Match with @ Phil_Helmuth. All square." (Shadow Creek is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world.)
- 10/11/11: "At dinner with Rock patel and 2 hedge fund managers for Morgan Stanley..." (Note to self, do NOT invest with Morgan Stanley.)
- 10/22/11 "Just landed in New Orleans. Bethany is treating me to the Saints - Colts game vacation."
- 12/11/11: "Nice invite from @ phil_hellmuth. Great seats at UFC fights"
Golf, vacations, nice dinners out with hedge fund managers. Meanwhile, thousands of grinders, particularly American players with no other options, have been forced to take low-paying jobs and suffer financial hardships, all directly because of Full Tilt, and indirectly because of the money owed to Full Tilt by these "professionals."
Flack Tweeted on February 9th of this year: "Almost 70 degrees out today and I could not find a golf game to get myself into. That's tough to do."
We feel bad for you Layne. We really do.