There are more twists in this tale than in a Hollywood thriller and the suspense is mounting. Unfortunately there seems to be no happy ending in sight for the thousands of poker players who are owed money by the currently defunct poker site Full Tilt Poker.
Poker players are used to the upswings and downswings in fortune in the course of a high stakes game, but the FTP saga is packing more intrigue than any edge of the seat game. When the Department of Justice cracked down on online poker sites and shut some of them – including FTP – down on Black Friday, April 15 last year, thousands of players who had credit in their accounts on the FTP site thought that they would have to kiss their money goodbye. Later, they saw a glimmer of hope when the Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) was named as a potential buyer for the gaming site and reports trickled in that a deal was being hammered out between the DoJ and GBT which would result in the players eventually getting their money back.
Details of the agreement hinted at a complicated series of steps including the payment of $80 million by GBT to the DoJ for the site’s assets and the latter assuming responsibility for paying back players from the USA.
Now, a new dimension has been introduced by the Groupe Bernard Tapie which has claimed, through its attorney Behn Dyanim, that a group of professional poker players who played regularly on the erstwhile site collectively owed a whopping $16.5 million to Full Tilt Poker. The names cited include several well-known pros including Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, David Benyamine and Barry Greenstein. Expectedly, there have been a slew of denials and counter claims from some of the pros which have added to the confusion rather than clearing the air.
Matusow used Twitter to deny that he owed any money to FTP. Greenstein for his part claimed that he was concerned about paying money to the Groupe Bernard Tapie since they would not be the ones repaying players from the USA.
Meanwhile GBT has claimed that the finances of FTP were in a worse state than they had initially estimated and that they would not be in a position to assume these additional liabilities which include monies owed by the pros.
It is now anybody’s guess how this story will turn out, but one thing is for sure – there will be a lot more intrigue before the suspense ends and the players get to see the color of their money.