The events of April 15, 2011, commonly known as the Black Friday of online poker, made headlines for several months. On April 15, the US federal government cracked down on Full Tilt Poker, UB Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars, seized their domain names, and indicted key people associated with these brands on multiple counts of money laundering, illegal gambling, and bank fraud. However, most of the industry’s attention was focused on the effects of Black Friday on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, undeniably two of the largest online poker rooms in the world.
Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, both part of the Cereus Poker Network, were almost ignored in spite of the fact that they were unable to pay back their ex players. Like Full Tilt Poker, UB and Absolute Poker did not maintain player deposits and operational funds separately, owing to which they were unable to refund their US poker players. To make matters worse, they discovered that non US players were not as interested in their online poker services and products, owing to which they declared bankruptcy in May.
Recently, the New York Southern District Court revealed that it is considering selling Cereus Network assets to Blanca Games and using the funds so raised to pay back US players who held accounts on Cereus Network. The fines slapped on certain key offenders in the Cereus case, if ever recovered, could also be used to refund US poker players.
So far, nobody knows exactly how much money can be raised by selling Cereus assets to Blanca Games, but gaming analysts say that players can expect somewhere around 15 – 20 cents on each dollar. Unfortunately, the company assets, comprising servers and computers, are not as valuable today as they once were.
To make matters worse, a group of 8 ex UB poker players, including three top professional poker players, have filed a civil case against the former owner of UB Poker, Excapsa Inc. stating that they are not happy about the settlement that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) had agreed to.
Excapsa, which has now changed its name to 6356095 Canada Inc is no longer functional, but the plaintiffs hope to grab a share of the assets from former Excapsa owners Greg Pierson, Russ Hamilton, and Jon Karl. Since the law prevents them from suing a public company that has declared bankruptcy, the plaintiffs are slapping a civil case against the individual owners.