"Green Friday" and the Arrival of FTP Payments
For American poker players April 15th 2011 (a.k.a. Black Friday) was surely a day of depression, chaos, and unanswered questions. Overnight, the Department of Justice had seized multiple online poker sites and their bank accounts... rendering players helpless and pleading for their money back. Some players were forced to go out and get a "J-O-B," and frankly, this scared many of them, considering some regular online players were making well over the average American working-class citizen's salary. Imagine having to go from playing 6-max 25/50nl, to waiting tables at a local diner; such was the case with Danielle "dmoongirl" Andersen portrayed in the recent documentary "Bet Raise Fold."
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With much of their net worth stuck online, many players like Danielle were forced to put their poker hopes and dreams on hold. With this turn of events, players could only hope that their hard earned funds would be returned in a timely manner... and more than a year went by until a glimmer of hope was seen on the horizon.
After the world learned of Fulltilt's illegal and unethical business practices, in where they had been using player account funds to fund their own business dealings, the brand's name was undoubtedly tarnished. Because of this tarnishment, it was not easy to find a buyer who was willing to not only take on the brand's damaged reputation, but its nine-figure debt, as well. Astonishingly, Pokerstars decided to step up to the plate.
In July of 2012, Pokerstars struck a deal with the DOJ to acquire Fulltilt to repay approximately $343MM to players and acquire the online gaming giant. While hope seemed just around the corner, the players had waited close to an agonizing three years for their funds to arrive.
Early Friday morning American players began tweeting about the Automatic Clearing House (ACH) deposits that were finally hitting their bank accounts. With approximately $82MM being paid out to around 30,000 players, for some, the wait is far from over ... many are still waiting for further deposits sanctioned by the Garden City Group (GCG).
While many players are ecstatic about the deposits, for some, it served as a reminder that they still will not be able to use their funds for online poker (unless they live in State of Nevada or New Jersey). After many of the payments started coming through, the poker twitter world erupted. For many players, this marked the finality of a long saga, and by the end of the day #GreenFriday could be seen all over the twitterverse. Some of the tweets were not so joyous, however, and it became clear that players were still having trouble forgiving the whole situation. Yet, most were optimistic, and ultimately viewed Pokerstars as the hero behind everything.
Though many players are still waiting on their funds to be paid out, February 28th 2014 will indeed be remembered as a glorious day for the American online poker player; as some are even calling it "Green Friday." With the second round of payments around the corner, and California seeking to legalize state-sanctioned online poker, it seems that poker in the U.S. is taking a turn for the better.
Something to Think About:
Many players went around buying up FTP account balances - having faith that the seized funds would be returned to the players eventually. It was rumored that some accounts were even trading for 40 cents on the dollar and less.
Daniel Cates was one of the notable players said to have possibly sold his account for 85 cents on the dollar by this 2+2 post written by Danny "d2themfi" Isaacson back in 2011:
"When we had dinner with Daniel 'jungleman12' Cates and Haseeb 'INTERNETPOKERS'Qureshi in Austin in late April right after Black Friday, Cates said that he had sold his Full Tilt Poker account balance (I believe for 85% but I can't remember)."
But, by the tone of jungleman12's post on twitter - he may not have sold his account balance after all. "I MUST be dreaming. I got the wire for my FT balance."
Many notable players, including Tom Dwan, were rumored to have bought up multiple FTP accounts at a discount. If this is true, himself, and other buyers, stand to make a solid profit off the transactions.