Rumors Of PokerStars Purchase Of Full Tilt Poker Run Rampant…Again
If you’re beginning to feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, prepare for potentially another cycle of next verse, same as the first.
Yesterday on the website of Poker Player Newspaper, esteemed poker community member Wendeen Eolis broke the news that the deal between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice has been completed. That deal, which has been rumored for at least the past three months, involves the purchase of the defunct Full Tilt Poker and payment of all players worldwide, although there could be some other caveats thrown in.
Eolis stated yesterday at www.pokerplayernewspaper.com that the negotiations have come “to an end” from what she describes as a “consistently reliable source.” A full announcement is being prepared at this moment, according to Eolis, who goes as far as to say that the shafted Full Tilt Poker players still looking for their money would see it “well in time for Christmas shopping.” Eolis also states that the story is “a thriller” when it eventually comes out.
Eolis is one of the most respected members of the poker community and definitely has some insight when it comes to matters of government action. The first woman to ever cash in the Championship Event of the World Series of Poker, Eolis has also built a notable career away from the game. A former advisor of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York governor George Pataki, she is the head of her own legal and governmental affairs consultancy. With this information in mind, Eolis’ claim of a deal between the federal government and PokerStars has to be taken with great levity.
If what Eolis states is true, it would bring to an end – for most in the poker community – the saga of Full Tilt Poker.
Through shrewd marketing and a stable of pros known throughout the poker world, Full Tilt was able to work their way into becoming one of the prominent members of the online poker world. Following the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, Full Tilt Poker joined PokerStars in continuing to serve American players with the threat of federal action always hanging over their heads.
By continuing to serve the U. S. market, Full Tilt Poker took over the number two slot in the online poker industry behind only PokerStars, a position that they enjoyed for almost five years. That threat of federal action finally fell in April 2011 with the “Black Friday” indictments that forced the major online poker rooms servicing Americans – PokerStars, Full Tilt and the CEREUS Network sites Absolute Poker and UB.com – to withdraw from the United States.
The news immediately became worse for Full Tilt following “Black Friday.” While PokerStars quickly negotiated a deal that saw the site refund U. S. players their monies, Full Tilt dragged their feet on the issue. It eventually became known that Full Tilt Poker had not segregated player money from business money and, in essence, didn’t have enough funds on hand to be able to refund American players (approximately $150 million). Additionally, they had allowed players worldwide to deposit funds on the site and credited them without actually taking said money from the player’s respective banking accounts, basically allowing players to play with “fake” funds. This led to the suspension of Full Tilt Poker’s gaming license by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and its eventual revocation.
In the fall of 2011, the U. S. Department of Justice announced further indictments on Full Tilt Poker, calling it a “Ponzi scheme” and naming former Full Tilt Board of Directors members Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst as major culprits in that scheme. At the same time, a French investment firm, Groupe Bernard Tapie, raised the hopes of players by stating they were in negotiations for the purchase of Full Tilt. Those negotiations extended well over six months before they dissolved earlier this year.
The PokerStars/DoJ rumors have been rampant since April of this year. Most had hoped that they would be completed before this year’s WSOP, which didn’t come to be, leading some to believe that the negotiations had fallen apart.
The continuing rumor across most message boards is that an announcement regarding the deal will come at some point next week and potentially as early as Monday. Poker News Daily will continue to monitor the situation and report accordingly.
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