Recently, it was revealed that Phil Ivey owes millions of dollars to Full Tilt Poker. According to the professional poker player’s Full Tilt Poker account, he has been loaned around $10.2 million by the beleaguered poker site over the past 2 years. This news was broken on the Two Plus Two forums by Stephens-Davidowitz, who claimed to have investigated the issue.
When Ivey filed a lawsuit against Tiltware, the company that provided software to Full Tilt Poker, Tiltware lashed back stating Ivey’s action to be “frivolous and self-serving,” attempting “to further enrich himself at the expense of others.” In response to Ivey’s statements that he was “deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed,” Tiltware said that “Mr. Ivey has been invited – and has declined – to take actions that could assist the company in these efforts, including paying back a large sum of money he owes the site.”
According to Stephens-Davidowitz’s allegations, Ivey has been loaned $10.2 millions in installments of $1 million and $500,000 during the past 2 years, and by November 2009, he had repaid $3 million. Although Ivey continued receiving large sums of cash, he stopped making repayments after 2010 spring. If Ivey had completely repaid his loan, Tiltware might not have made any references to it while responding to his lawsuit.
The name of David Benyamine, who was also a member of Team Full Tilt with Phil Ivey, is also associated with this scandal. Benyamine had been receiving loans from Full Tilt Poker from 2008, and the online poker site had been collecting these loans by deducting Benyamine’s bonuses, winnings, paychecks, and rakebacks. Seventeen days after the events of Black Friday, when thousands of online poker players in the US were unable to withdraw funds from their frozen Full Tilt Poker accounts, Benyamine could easily withdraw $5,500. Although Benyamine earned $500k annually in 2010, he could not be considered free of debt because Full Tilt Poker was still deducting money from his account almost the same day as it was credited.
This news has greatly disappointed US poker players who are still waiting to be reimbursed. Moreover, the recent news that the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), which suspended Full Tilt Poker’s gaming licenses, has postponed hearing regarding these licenses to September 2011 has done nothing to ease the situation. Thousands of frustrated online poker players in the US can now do nothing but wait.