Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Anger Phase of Denial

It's all over the major poker news sites, but in case you hadn't heard, the Alderney Gaming Commission suspended the license agreement they had with Full Tilt Poker and as such, Full Tilt Poker is no longer operating. Whether they choose to reopen with another license or reopen without one at all is still unclear at this time.

My real reason for posting this is to ask a question. Who knew this was going to happen and when did they know it? This applies to BOTH the events of today and to those of Black Friday when the USDOJ forced Full Tilt, Pokerstars and UB/AP to close their doors to the American public.

In my opinion, there are pieces of data that when added up together, point to the conclusion that there were some people that knew in advance that there was trouble ahead.

My hypothesis is this:

Even though the documents were sealed, someone had inside knowledge up to a year in advance that the 3 major sites would eventually get shut down for US-based players. As such, several short-term money grabs were put into place for this eventuality. After all, if your long-term business model becomes unviable, then get as much out in the short-term as you can.

- Both Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth do NOT have their contracts renewed with prior to Black Friday. Coincidence? Maybe.
- Full Tilt Poker introduces Rush Poker. While certainly fun to play (I put in my hours), Rush Poker is simply an accelerated rake extraction device for the cash game players.
- Full Tilt Poker introduces Multi-Entry tournament options. The notion of having multiple accounts to enter MTT's multiple times becomes a non-issue and Full Tilt earns far more on a per tournament basis than before. Again, this is an accelerated rake extraction device.
- More subtely, but still concerning to me, the electronics section of the Full Tilt store was out of stock for months on their top-tier items. To me, this was concerning because they had no motivation or priority to renew the Apple line of iPods and MacBooks once Apple issued updates.
- After Black Friday, a user on 2+2 named Deuc3s posted the following text:
"Full Tilt will announce its to default on american payements (sic) on 29th of June. Shortly after that they are to close." This again could be coincidence, some fear monger getting lucky with a guess, but the date was exactly correct. This user claimed to be a former employee.

Nowhere in the above do I mention anything about Pokerstars. Why? Well, from what I've seen out of that organization, they've operated with the most integrity and transparency of any online poker company. They've earned my respect and trust even though I'll no longer be able to play on that site ever again.

I'm most disappointed with Full Tilt. They were literally sitting on a gold mine and managed to fuck it up. That takes a unique combination of incompetence and greed to achieve. Worse yet is to think of what all our rake went towards. Hundreds of millions of dollars in rake went to a few dozen pros and company executives who right now don't give a rat's ass what happens to their former customers.

Tom Dwan, Durrr, based on his Twitter feed seems to be the only active and reasonable voice thus far, but even he can't do much for the player base currently holding an empty bag. If it comes to light that some of the players like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson were making significant day to day policy decisions for that company, then I'll be even more angry than I am now.

My $4000 is gone and highly likely gone for good. I no longer care about that because there's nothing that I can do about it. What I want now is justice. I want these incompentent, greedy fools to do jail time. The worst thing you can do to me is take advantage of me. And that's exactly what has happened. Yes, I'm an adult and chose to play on Full Tilt while I could. I received rake back, I received advertising dollars and I willingly wore FTP branded hoodies and t-shirts. But that was because I trusted that my money was safe on the site.

Every last one of the Full Tilt Pros should be ashamed right now for associating themselves with a company who effectively scammed tens of thousands of poker players and enthusiasts who bought into their hype. They lived the high life, getting paid millions with not only the rake we willingly generated, but also with our deposits. I was stolen from and I'll never forget it.

I look forward to these cowards and thieves claiming ignorance, that they did not know the details and inner workings of the company's accounting practices. Sorry, I don't care and that's no excuse. I've held off from being angry for months, trying to give Full Tilt the benefit of the doubt.

That's the last thing I'll give them.

(I can't remove my FTP ad from here at work, but it will be the first thing I do when I get home.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Running to Metal

I signed up for the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 4th. It's a Sunday, the race is at night and it goes down the Strip. Pretty cool. Joining me will be G-Rob, Otis, Dr. Chako and Poker Peaker. It will be kick ass. Not unlike the new metal I got to download due to me signing up. It is after all, a Rock 'n Roll marathon.

My 5 free downloads were:

This riff seriously destroys:

This was Slayer's opening at Big 4:

Cool opening riff, cool video if not a little campy:

Another big 4 tune:

New In Flames coming soon:

And. And! Bonus song for the folks who need to understand the vocals. Do you hear any Blue Oyster Cult in here? I kind of do.