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.)


wingnprayer said...

Agree 100%, Greed and Stupidity is not an excuse for illegal actions, and for certain some foresaw what was coming (ex. multi entry tourneys, rush poker, )

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Well said, Blood. In general I also think the poker media really gave full tilt a pass for the past couple of months as nobody would accept that these guys we all know and watch on tv were going to fuck us after having stolen from us for months and months already. People should have been up in full tilt's mug about this right from the getgo, but even among our group of bloggers it was probably about 10% concern and the other 90% have been all "Don't worry it'll work out." Guess not.

KenP said...

A gambling operation with the player's interest at heart or even on the table.

Interesting concept.

Bufo said...

Weird that you want to blame the pros for so much - but didn't you take money from FTP to promote them as well?

I think you are just justifiably angry, and looking for someone to poke about it all, since the real villains are invisible.

BadBlood said...

Bufo - you have a valid point. However, the ad money I did accept for promoting them was based on contacts with people I've met and respected for a long time.

I had no direct contact with people making executive decisions on a company wide basis. I suppose I'm holding the FTP Pros to a higher standard based both on the size of their monetary compensation and their assumed direct contact with the owners.

Maybe that's a bad assumption, but I'd hold Tiger Woods to a higher standard if similarly bad things happened with Nike. At some point, when you're a highly paid representative, you do bear some responsibility for the actions of your employer.

But, as I said, your point has merit.

Gordon said...

Now if you substitute the name "Goldman Sachs" for Full Tilt you have written perfectly about the global financial crisis and collapse of the housing industry.

Unknown said...

Yes, i do remember the black Friday in poker games. I am a poker lovel and reading this have become sad because I am a poker accessories supplier in Australia

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Jessica said...

Nice post, I am very angry with FTP too, having $20k stuck/lost. Since they've probably used up the cash already I consider them lost rather than stuck. It shouldn't be possible for such a big company to get away with this. Jail time!!


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Gordon said...

This blog has sucked for a full month.

Unknown said...

I love playing the poker game but have little time for talking about it so I will have plenty of time to play, but still enjoying poker games with poker chips while I have time to play.

vijaysaw said...

Great post

Interesting concept and ideas.keep sharing

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Vikram Singh said...

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sahil said...

yes agree, There are many platform that do fraud. But poker is good just like stocks if you are good with poker you can earn good money while play poker online

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