Posts Tagged ‘tilt’

Full Tilt Poker Claims Process Appears to be Done

 Full Tilt Poker Claims Process Appears to be Done

According to Flushdraw.net, the remissions process for those who had poker funds frozen in the Full Tilt Poker Black Friday scandal is effectively complete. According to the Garden City Group (GCG) the Full Tilt Claims administrator appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice, every petition for reimbursement submitted by players has been processed.

There have been nine waves of payments to former U.S.-based Full Tilt customers, the first of which occurred in February 2014, nearly three years after player deposits were frozen or disappeared. That initial batch of payments was by far the largest, but the GCG had much more work after that, as more petitions came streaming in, incomplete records had to be fixed, and changes had to made to policies about who could and could not get their money back. Per Flushdraw, the dollar amounts and numbers of payments for each round were as follows:

February 2014: $ 76 million, 27,500 accounts
April 2014: $ 5 million, 2,200 accounts
June 2014: $ 14 million, 3,200 accounts
September 2014: $ 1.8 million, 600 accounts
March 2015: $ 2.8 million, 3,500 accounts
June 2015: $ 4 million, 4,000 accounts
November 2015: $ 5.7 million, 2,000 accounts
March 2016: $ 2.6 million, 1,180 accounts
November 2016: $ 2.6 million, 1,000 accounts

All told, that’s 45,180 U.S. player accounts (including mine!) and $ 114.5 million. Full Tilt actually owed $ 160 million to United States players, so the DoJ and GCG are going to split a nice bonus check on this deal. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the GCG just isn’t paying out $ 45.5 million because screw the players; there are likely thousands of former players who never submitted a claim. At the same time, though, that sizable group of players also probably didn’t have that much money at stake, so there are almost certainly tens of millions of dollars left over that will never find their way home through no fault of the players.

There were also 1,635 denied petitions, 1,500 announced in May and 135 from GCG’s latest update. No reasons were given publically for denials, though it would not be surprising if incomplete or incorrect information never got reconciled.

Many of the denials may have involved accounts that were extremely complicated. One of the more touchy situations involved sponsored pros and affiliates. Both of these groups usually earned two types of income from Full Tilt: money from playing poker like the rest of us and income from their business relationships with Full Tilt. Income from the latter category was usually deposited in the players’ poker accounts and because the GCG denied claims from people who received business-related income from Full Tilt, those people found that they weren’t getting anything at all back. The Poker Players Alliance talked with the GCG and helped the company understand the difference between poker playing income and business income. Thus, the GCG reversed course and allowed sponsored pros and affiliates to receive their refunds, but only for money earned through actual poker play.

Though the remission process is now closed and the entire five and a half year ordeal is essentially done, the GCG did say in October that it “will continue to work with the Department of Justice to evaluate appeals, and any previously denied Petitions that are determined to be payable will be included in an upcoming distribution.”

Poker News Daily

Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

 Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

In mid-May, PokerStars absorbed Full Tilt’s liquidity, ending the checkered existence of the once high-flying poker room, leaving behind just the carcass of the Full Tilt brand. On Friday, eGaming Review reported that Amaya, owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, was eliminating “dozens” of jobs in its London office, the assumption being that these positions were related to Full Tilt operations.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When two similar operations merge, there are bound to be employee casualties because of job redundancy. That was especially the case here, since Full Tilt’s poker software wasn’t going to be used anymore; Full Tilt is now just a skin of PokerStars, using the PokerStars platform.

When the “merger” of PokerStars and Full Tilt was initially announced in February, Amaya said:

This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements. For instance, rather than splitting resources developing Full Tilt Jackpot Sit & Go and PokerStars Spin & Go features independently, teams will be able to work together on delivering the best possible product on one platform.

Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars, acknowledged that the job cuts were, in fact, happening, saying that they would be balanced out by “a few dozen new roles in several offices.”

He added that the company was making efforts to place employees whose jobs were eliminated in other roles within the company – perhaps at other offices – in order to avoid laying them off altogether.

Related, Joss Wood at OnlinePokerReport.com made an interesting observation on the decision of Amaya to keep the Full Tilt brand intact, even though the poker room as we knew it was eliminated. As readers will remember, and as Wood reminds us, not long after Rational Group brought Full Tilt back from the dead, the company made it so that players could transfer money between their own accounts on PokerStars and Full Tilt. The resulting information that Rational (and eventually Amaya) was able to gather on how many players remained active on both sites, how many moved money one way or the other, how many closed one account, etc., was likely quite useful when the decision was being made on how whether to shut Full Tilt down completely or keep it alive as a skin of PokerStars.

That the Full Tilt brand still exists, says Wood, is evidence that enough players were brand loyal that Amaya did not want to get rid of Full Tilt altogether. Keeping it as just skin, though, still allowed the company to enjoy the cost savings made possible by folding Full Tilt’s liquidity into PokerStars’.

Poker News Daily

Final Settlements in Full Tilt Case Reached

 Final Settlements in Full Tilt Case Reached

After more than five years of travel through the courts in the United States, the final settlements regarding Full Tilt Poker were quietly reached earlier this year, ending the saga of the now-defunct twice over online poker site and putting it into the history books.

The issues that Full Tilt faced were directly related to the “Black Friday” indictments by the U. S. Department of Justice against top officials from the online poker room. Indicted directly criminally in the case was Ray Bitar, the Chief Executive Officer of TiltWare, and Nelson Burtnick, who was the Director of Payments for Full Tilt Poker. In addition to those men, a class-action civil suit was filed against Full Tilt executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson by a player consortium consisting of Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, Todd Terry and Bradley Clasen, looking to retrieve monies that were taken in by Lederer and Ferguson, rumored to be in the $ 450 million range.

There had not been tremendous action for a few years regarding the case but, in August or September of 2015, talks began in an attempt to settle grievances between the parties. The plaintiffs in the case needed to have their court costs taken care of, which could have been into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Lederer and Ferguson needed a conclusion to the case simply to get it off their docket. As a result, in late 2015 an agreement was reached and, in January 2016, the court costs were settled for the plaintiffs and each received a token $ 500 payday from those court costs.

The big thing about the settlement of the case is that it will effectively end any further actions against those in Full Tilt management. After the settlement, the case was dismissed with prejudice, basically stating that the defendants could not face legal actions regarding the same case ever in the future. This brings an end to a tragedy that became even worse when it was exposed five years ago.

2011’s “Black Firday” saw the shutdown of the three most powerful online poker operations in the United States – PokerStars, the CEREUS Network rooms Absolute Poker and UB.com and the aforementioned Full Tilt Poker – by the U. S. Department of Justice. After a few days of negotiation, PokerStars was reopened to U. S. residents to allow them to retrieve their poker balances from the site. The same deal was offered to both Full Tilt Poker and CEREUS but, as it soon would become evident, neither of those rooms were in the position to refund their customers’ money.

In the case of Full Tilt, years of payment to the principal owners of the company – the official group that made up Team Full Tilt, such as Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar and others – had left the coffers depleted, so much so that there wasn’t money on hand to pay the approximately 75% of their clientele from the U. S. that had money with the company. It was rumored that Full Tilt Poker, when the deal was offered to pay back players, had only $ 60 million in its “ready cash” fund and could not complete the deal (the CEREUS Network rooms were in even worse shape).

Full Tilt Poker would eventually lose its license for operation in the fall of 2011 and it appeared that everyone’s money went away with the site. Then, in 2012, PokerStars stepped up and bailed out the DOJ by settling their case with the feds, paying out $ 731 million and getting Full Tilt Poker in return. While PokerStars walked away with the Full Tilt property, the players got paid back – although in some cases it would take almost four years and some received nothing at all for their affiliate revenues – due to the PokerStars largesse. (To this date, the CEREUS Network has NEVER had any discussions of player refunds and, for the most part, that money is considered lost.)

Of course, the settlement of all legal issues against Lederer and Ferguson led them back to this year’s World Series of Poker. While Lederer failed to cash in the handful of events he played, Ferguson was much more visible, playing in a multitude of tournaments and cashing 10 times for almost $ 250,000, including a fourth place finish in the $ 10,000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em World Championship. Bitar, once thought to be near death when he was sentenced for his role in the Full Tilt fiasco in 2013, got married in an elaborate ceremony earlier this year and looks to be in the peak of health.

With the closure of the final legal case involving Full Tilt Poker, it may be thought that the poker community can move on. The stain left by such men as Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar and others isn’t the type that goes away easily, however.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars to Hold Promo for NJ Full Tilt Customers Who Lost Full Tilt Points after Black Friday

 PokerStars to Hold Promo for NJ Full Tilt Customers Who Lost Full Tilt Points after Black Friday

When PokerStars (or its parent company, to be exact) agreed to purchase Full Tilt Poker nearly four years ago as part of its Black Friday settlement with the Department of Justice, it also agreed to make whole all of the players whose funds had been lost or frozen when Full Tilt went down. To date, most U.S. Full Tilt players have been repaid (they should be, it has been five years since Black Friday), but PokerStars now plans to refund more than just cash that was in players’ accounts.

In a largely ignored Two Plus Two post on Friday, PokerStars VIP Club Manager Dylan Coady, going by the screen name “PokerStars Dylan,” announced in the dedicated PokerStars New Jersey thread that Stars run a special promotion for New Jersey players to try to reward those players who had Full Tilt Points that they were never able to use.

Part of PokerStars’ deal with the DoJ, Coady explained, was to refund Full Tilt players’ cash balances. Stars was not responsible, though, for any other Full Tilt liabilities. The problem that created for former Full Tilt players, though, was that many had loads of Full Tilt Points sitting in their accounts. These points had real value and were lost forever.

But now it looks like PokerStars wants to try to help those former Full Tilt players by offering some sort of promo. No details on the promo were forthcoming; they will be e-mailed to New Jersey Full Tilt players when they are finalized, possibly in June. Of course, former Full Tilt players in other states will have to wait, as New Jersey is not only one of just three states in which online poker is legal, but it is also the only one in which PokerStars has a license. Can’t have a promotion if there is no PokerStars on which to play.

The entire post from PokerStars Dylan is below:

Hi all,

I can finally share information regarding Full Tilt Point balance for New Jersey players, as well as the situation for the rest of the U.S.

***********
When PokerStars agreed to acquire Full Tilt, one of the primary reasons was to make sure that Full Tilt players were made whole for their account balances and deposits which the previous owners had not re-paid. Our lump sum payment was more than enough to cover these balances. The agreement also made clear that PokerStars was not responsible for any of Full Tilt’s liabilities.

Despite not being our responsibility, we have sought to ensure Full Tilt players could maintain some advantages associated with their previously accumulated FTPs. In the coming months, eligible New Jersey Full Tilt account holders will be contacted via email with details of an upcoming promotion to reward previously accumulated Full Tilt Points. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to offer a promotion to U.S. players (outside New Jersey) for previously accumulated FTPs.

PokerStars is working vigorously to promote regulated online gaming across the United States. As new regulated markets open in the U.S. we will do our best to offer a promotion to previous Full Tilt players. However, we can make no guarantees at this time that such a promotion will occur.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

*************

Regarding the details for the promotion for eligible New Jersey players, I will try to get those details ASAP, but they likely won’t be available until sometime in June.

Regards,
Dylan

Poker News Daily

Full Tilt Now on the PokerStars Platform

 Full Tilt Now on the PokerStars Platform

Full Tilt Poker is dead. Long live Full Tilt.

On Tuesday, May 17th, Full Tilt was officially absorbed into PokerStars, ending the second – and likely last – era of the gaming site’s existence. Amaya Inc., the parent company of both sites, announced the merger in February, saying:

This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements. For instance, rather than splitting resources developing Full Tilt Jackpot Sit & Go and PokerStars Spin & Go features independently, teams will be able to work together on delivering the best possible product on one platform.

Full Tilt’s software was quite popular; it was attractive, colorful, easy to use, and generally ran quite smoothly. Despite this, though, the software platform will be retired. Full Tilt will technically still exist, but only as a skin of PokerStars. The login screen asks players to login to their PokerStars accounts and the lobby, aside from the presence of the Full Tilt logo and Full Tilt color scheme, looks just like PokerStars’. A few other Full Tilt remnants remain, such as The Deal, Full Tilt avatars, and the name Rush Poker instead of Zoom Poker. The table views still look very much like Full Tilt, also.

To celebrate the integration of the two sites, Amaya has launched the Jackpot Unchained promotion for Full Tilt players who continue playing on the new software. It’s not really that impressive, but here’s what Full Tilt players are being offered:

The Deal Jackpot Guarantee – for four weeks, The Deal Daily Top Up will add an extra $ 2,000 to The Deal Jackpot. On Tuesday, June 14th, the jackpot is guaranteed to be at least $ 100,000.

Weekly Upgrade Freerolls – $ 10,000 freeroll every Saturday for four weeks.

Stake $ 5 Get $ 5 – wager $ 5 on any of eight specific slot machines, get a $ 5 casino bonus.

Magnificent 7 – seven different slot machines from the above, wager $ 25 or more and get 25 free spins.

$ 25K Takeaway – earn 12 StarsCoin in a day in casino games, get put into a drawing for $ 25,000 in prizes.

50 Percent Slots Cashback – earn 60 StarsCoin in slots, get 50 percent back in net losses up to $ 350.

The merger of PokerStars and Full Tilt likely won’t make too much of a dent on the poker landscape. According to PokerScout.com, PokerStars has a seven-day average of 13,000 cash game players, far more than any other poker room. Full Tilt has just 550, most of whom probably also play on PokerStars. Because of the overlap, PokerStars’ traffic figures may go up a bit, but not all that much.

Poker News Daily