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Recent Poker News Dump: Full Tilt Bailout Edition

THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2011-11-20, by Ozone

There were some interesting pieces of poker news this week, much of it concerning Full Tilt Poker.

U.S. Department of Justice and Groupe Bernard Tapie Ink Deal

Players with money trapped on Full Tilt Poker came one step closer to reimbursement this week on news that the U.S. DOJ agreed to allow the acquisition of the beleaguered site by the French investment group headed by Bernard Tapie (GBT). Full Tilt's shareholders must still agree with the deal in order for it to move forward. But that process seems unlikely to be complicated. In a statement to Subject: Poker, Full Tilt said they, "will now turn to memorializing the final terms of their agreement, to bring this matter to a complete resolution as soon as possible."

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The deal, however, is not as clean-cut as a more common business transaction. If Full Tilt agrees to the deal, the DOJ will gain title to their assets. GBT will pay the DOJ $80 million to acquire the assets. GBT would be responsible for all non-US account balances. U.S. players would have to apply for reimbursement through the DOJ. The deal also includes a dismissal of all civil lawsuits against Full Tilt by the DOJ thus paving the way for GBT to re-open the site for business.

A few things here will be interesting to monitor. First, how long will it take for the deal to be completely finalized and for players to be reimbursed? Second, how will Full Tilt do when it re-opens for business under new management?

As for how long it will take to finalize the deal, it's really anyone's guess. With as much red tape as is involved in the process though, I would tend to expect it to take a while longer than most people probably think or hope.

As for Full Tilt re-opening for business, one would imagine that non-US players will be "reimbursed" by simply having access to their accounts and balances at the site again. Sure, many players will immediately cash out and stay away from the site forever, but you have to think a decent amount of action will exist at the room due to players putting their balances back in play rather than cashing them out. It will be interesting to see how good of a job GBT, which has no experience in the online poker industry, will do to revive what was once the second-largest online poker room.

Chris Ferguson Files Claims for Full Tilt Funds

Last Monday, Chris Ferguson filed four claims with the U.S. Southern District Court of New York that Full Tilt Poker has a "right, title, or interest" to the funds that were seized by the court. Ferguson, representing the various companies that make up Full Tilt, is claiming the companies are lawful owners of $98.3 million that was seized by the DOJ.

This seems like a bit of a peculiar move given that Full Tilt is supposedly on the verge of turning over the title for their company to the DOJ as part of the GBT takeover. It's also interesting that Ferguson himself filed the claims and leads one to question if he is "going rogue" and acting on behalf of the company without consulting its other owners.

Ferguson's filings could be mere standard legal procedure. But it may also be a sign that not everyone is on the same page at Full Tilt and that the process of shareholders approving the sale to GBT may not go as smoothly as players would hope.

Representative Spencer Bachus Insider Trading Details Released

Congressman Spencer Bachus, a Republican from Alabama, has long been a strong opponent of online poker. When Bachus was appointed chairman of the House Financial Services committee in 2010, it put a huge dent in poker's chances of being legalized on a federal level for however long his party is in power. But a new book by Peter Schweizer called Throw Them All Out has put the spotlight on a little online gambling Bachus did of his own in 2008.

When the world economy was teetering in 2008, Bachus sat in on a private meeting as part of the House Financial Services committee in which Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told the room that, "it's a matter of days before there is a meltdown in the global financial system."

Using his new-found info, Bachus logged onto his brokerage account and started buying options in a fund that makes money when the market drops. Bachus turned his $8,000 investment into $13,000 in just a few short days.

While this might sound like something that could land Bachus behind bars, insider trading by members of Congress is apparently completely legal. So one is now forced to ask, if online poker is the crack cocaine of gambling, as Bachus once claimed, is using insider info from the Federal Reserve chairman to place bets on an economic collapse the crystal meth or heroin of gambling?

Sam Trickett Records Third Seven-Figure Cash of 2011

Much ado has been made about the stellar year that Erik Seidel is having, but there might be someone having an even more impressive 2011. That person is Sam Trickett. A sponsored pro at Titan Poker, Tricket just won the €8,500 buy-in Partouche Poker Tour Main Event for €1,000,000. It was his third seven-figure cash of the year.

In January, Trickett won the $100,000 buy-in high rollers event at the Aussie Millions and took second (to Seidel) in the $250,000 event for scores of $1,525,000 and $1,400,000, respectively. The Nottingham, England native now has $4.2 million in combined gross winnings from live tournaments for the year.

The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.

 


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