The founder of Full Tilt Poker, Howard Lederer has finally owned up to his part in the disaster that occurred in the aftermath of Black Friday in 2011 when Full Tilt players couldn’t withdraw their bankroll from the site due to unavailability of funds. Players’ money amounting to around $300 million which should have been kept aside ended up being used by the company to fund the site’s daily operations and the stakes of VIP players.
In a statement, Lederer said, “When Full Tilt Poker closed in 2011, there was a shortfall in funds, a distressed sale to recover those funds, and a long delay in repaying players. Throughout this period, there was little explanation for the delay, and no apology. Players felt lied to. They trusted the site, and they trusted me, and I didn’t live up to that trust. I take full responsibility for Full Tilt’s failure to protect player deposits leading up to Black Friday”.
Lederer acknowledged that he should have provided better oversight or ensured that the company’s management was handling operations a lot better. He said that his failure in ensuring that Full Tilt was governed properly had led to the disaster after Black Friday.
Lederer has so far never claimed responsibility for the scandal. In his previous interviews after the crisis occurred, Lederer mostly deflected the issue and didn’t apologize, angering both the poker community and former Full Tilt players. As a result of subsequent widespread ill-will, Lederer has not been seen a regular at poker events except for a few high-stakes tournaments in Las Vegas.
A possible reason for timing of this apology is that Lederer is looking to re-enter the poker scene and participate in the upcoming WSOP season. Additionally Full Tilt’s recent merger with PokerStars has brought complete closure to the issue. The apology by Howard Lederer was released on Daniel Negreanu’s blog and Negreanu also shared his views on it the Full Tilt fiasco.
Negreanu commented on Lederer ‘s statement saying that this was the kind of apology that would have been appropriate five years ago. He said that although he considers the apology to be genuine, accepting the apology would need to be left to each individual. Negreanu said that he considered the apology to be largely something that Lederer needed to do in order to move on from the fiasco.