Tom Dwan, Phil Galfond Guarantee Payouts from PokerStars and Full Tilt
Poker players all over the U.S. are searching for answers regarding the millions of dollars frozen in the four online poker rooms that had their domains seized on April 15. While they wait for more details from PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB.com, many have turned to high-profile online pros for advice about when and how they’ll retrieve their money.
Twitter has been abuzz since “Black Friday,” with the poker community voicing their concerns and disgust toward the sudden exclusion of American players from the four aforementioned sites. Several poker pros have used social networking sites to voice their opinion, including Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, who has tried to stay optimistic since the news broke on Friday.
“Everyone is panicking too much (tho I understand),” wrote Galfond over the weekend. “We are extremely likely to be paid our $. I’ll guarantee $1M in payouts from FTP/Stars. If they somehow don’t pay, I’ll figure out a fair way to disperse it, and send out all the gelt over Hanukah 2012.”
“However I think we can’t expect to get paid right away,” he continued. “It’ll take a few months at least. Focus your worry/energy on planning around that.”
Galfond’s friend Tom “durrrr” Dwan, who is one of the most familiar faces associated with Full Tilt Poker, was equally confident that the online sites would return money to players. He agreed to match Galfond’s $1 million offer, and added, “Odds are way lower than 10% of FTP not paying. Would strongly assume Stars is the same.”
Another player who has been vocal about the cashout issues is Kathy Liebert. She Tweeted indirectly to Full Tilt Poker’s Howard Lederer on Monday, “We need our money back before WSOP. Howard? Don’t screw all your pros.”
Full Tilt founders Nelson Burtnick and Ray Bitar were indicted on Friday for alleged fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling.
Liebert Tweeted again on Tuesday, “We want our money back.”
Full Tilt Poker’s latest announcement regarding cashouts stated the following: “Players located within the United States will temporarily be restricted from withdrawing. We would like to assure you that your funds are safe and secure. Unused Tournament Tickets or Tournament Dollars (T$) can be converted into real money.” Bank transfers have been unavailable to Full Tilt Players since March and many players who received checks since then have had them bounce.
American players at PokerStars are in the same boat. The site announced on Twitter that all player balances are safe, but customers are currently unable to cash out. The Cereus Network sites UB.com and Absolute Poker blocked U.S players from real money games on Monday and are not allowing cashouts.
For now, the outlook looks grim. The FBI seized 76 bank accounts in 14 countries that processed online poker transactions for players in the U.S. and until those funds are released, it is assumed that the online sites won’t be able to write checks or send wire transfers to players. That leaves many in a state of limbo; some poker pros have admitted to having up to $60,000 frozen in their online poker accounts and it is believed that some of the nosebleed cash game players could be out six- or even seven-figures.
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