Archive for December, 2012

Howard Lederer Settles with DOJ, Admits No Wrongdoing

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Howard Lederer’s troubles with the U.S. government in the wake of Full Tilt Poker’s collapse following Black Friday appear to be behind him. The former director of Full Tilt reached a settlement yesterday with the Department of Justice through which he forfeited an unspecified dollar amount but admitted to no wrongdoing in the case.

In September, the DOJ filed a civil suit against Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar and Rafe Furst seeking a combined $137 million in damages from the men on the basis of their responsibility behind the Full Tilt “Ponzi scheme”. Lederer was sought personally for $42.5 million. He agreed to turn over two bank accounts of unknown value to the U.S. as well as a vintage sports car and two Las Vegas properties with a combined estimated value of $975,000. Additionally, Lederer agreed to a civil money laundering penalty of $1.25 million; he has been given the next 36 months to pay that debt in two installments.

Rafe Furst settled with the DOJ four weeks ago in a similar fashion to Lederer, by forfeiting an undisclosed sum and admitting no wrongdoing. Bitar and Ferguson’s civil cases remain pending.

In the Howard Lederer settlement with DOJ court document, ‘The Professor’ maintains that Full Tilt Poker “was a legitimate business providing services to its customers within the bounds of the law.” As part of the settlement, Lederer also agreed to have no part of any business that derives money from online gambling in the United States until he obtains the appropriate authorization from all relevant government authorities.

Former U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker remain without word from the government as to how they can process a claim on the money they are entitled to following the PokerStars buyout of Full Tilt Poker.

Next Few Months Hold Potential For US Poker Legislation

Friday, December 14th, 2012

The good thing about the state of US online poker is that it really can’t get any worse. Sure, there is the bright spot of Nevada online poker, which should be coming online in the next few months. But Nevada is less than 1% of the total US population. Getting excited about just poker in Nevada is like getting excited about legalized online poker in Finland.

There’s a few potential big developments coming soon that could really help the industry.

Federal

The grandaddy of them all has some potential. Two key Republican senators, Senator Kyl (the original anti-online gambling crusader turned ‘poker is okay if we crack down on the others guy) and Senator Heller (from Nevada), confirmed that they believe they have enough Republican senate votes to get pro-online poker legislation passed if it is attached on to something else. Of course, there needs to be something to attach it to, like the UIGEA was attached to the SAFE Ports Act. The PPA has been quoted that they aren’t terribly optimistic that there is a piece of legislation that can work (any sort of fiscal cliff bill is likely off limits) and the partisan divide is so tough that getting anything through seems to be a stretch.

But hey, there’s two ways to look at that. One is that since the PPA is always optimistic, the fact that they’re pessimistic means we shouldn’t really hold out much hope for anything soon. The other way to look at it is that since the PPA is generally wrong, maybe they’re wrong about being pessimistic and something actually will happen.

California

A bill legalizing poker in California will be introduced next week. This bill has a very good shot at getting through since the pesky Indian tribes that have slowed things down in the past seem to not be a problem anymore. California already has legal brick and mortar poker, a major budget deficit, a huge population base,  and a general liberal stance towards the Internet and poker. If we get legal online poker in California, then that will be huge.

Not only is the raw size of California important for the poker world, it’s likely other states will copy what California does. Nevada is viewed as some degenerate gambling state by most, so just because they pass something, it doesn’t mean other states will copy. On the other hand, California is often a model. After all, everything ‘cool’ seems to start out in California whether conservatives like it or not. If this can get passed, even if the federal bill fails, this will be huge for the poker industry in my opinion.

New Jersey

New Jersey acted like they were going to get legal online poker done before Nevada. They didn’t. But now they’re going to try again anyways.

A bill recently passed in the New Jersey committee and should see both New Jersey House and Senate action by Christmas. It remains to be seen whether Chris Christie would veto this bill or not. He may have his sights set on the GOP nomination for presidency and may wish to cater to the base, but look at what catering to the base ultimately did to Romney’s presidential bid. Sort-of-but-not-really close, definitely no cigar in the general election.

New Jersey is somewhere in between Nevada and California in terms of importance. It’s bigger than Nevada but still has that ‘gambling degenerate’ state label as viewed by other states. PokerStars seems to think New Jersey is important enough that they may buy a land based casino there so they’ll be eligible to offer online poker in the state.

Mobile App Replaces Deck of Cards

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Don’t have a deck of cards laying around? No worries, there’s an app for that. As long as you have $1.99 and an iPhone or iPad for every player in the game, playing cards are officially obsolete.

Bold Poker replaces a deck of cards with iPhones. Have a look at their promotional video to see how it works:

The Bold Poker app requires an iOS-based device for every player in the game plus one to be used for the community cards. So a five-player poker home game played with the Bold Poker app would require six iOS devices, such as five iPhones and an iPad or some other combination, plus the $1.99 app download.

It’s a lot of electronic equipment and set-up needed to circumvent a good ol’ fashioned deck of playing cards. But no longer will anyone be able to claim your poker game is anything less than state-of-the-art. However, Bold Poker currently is yet to support other features like keeping track of bets and chip counts.

One of your home game players prefers the Android platform? Screw him. Apple users only is Bold Poker’s philosophy as their product is currently available only in the iTunes store. Visit Bold Poker for more.

Danish Poker Pro Shot During Home Robbery

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Danish news magazine Ekstra Bladet is reporting that three masked men invaded the home of poker pro Theo Jorgensen and shot him in the leg three times during the robbery. Jorgensen’s injuries are not expected to be life-threatening.

The attack occurred last evening in Jorgensen’s home some 20 kilometers outside of Copenhagen. Three masked men robbed Jorgensen of the U.S. dollars and Euros he had in his home and shot him in the leg three times while his wife looked on. Jorgensen is recovering in a Denmark hospital and is listed in stable condition.

Jorgensen is ranked third on the all-time Denmark poker winnings list behind Gus Hansen and Peter Eastgate. Roughly a quarter of his career gross poker tournament winnings came from a victory in the WPT Grand Prix de Paris in 2010 for $850,000.

Today, Jorgensen made a brief statement on his Facebook page in the Danish language. When translated, it reads:

Dear all,

It is important to me to emphasize that I am a careful man. I was prepared mentally and practically that this situation could happen, to protect myself and my family against people from the outside. I know that people can have a misconception about how much cash I have in my home. I have alarms, always as little cash as possible and generally take my precautions. Unfortunately, that was not enough.

Under the circumstances I am fine and want to focus on taking care of my family so we can get through this.

Theo

Our thoughts are with Theo and his family as they recover from this shocking and unfortunate incident.