Poker News

A class action lawsuit was filed against Full Tilt Poker in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, a move that could potentially delay the return of player funds following the tentative sale of the company to European investors.

Plaintiffs Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, and Todd Terry filed the lawsuit against the embattled online poker site on Thursday, seeking the “return of U.S. player funds and for damages under the RICO statute.”

The complaint names several defendants, including Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick, who were indicted by the Department of Justice on Black Friday. Also named are Team Full Tilt members Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Phil Gordon, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen, John Juanda, Patrik Antonius and Erick Lindgren.

The complaint also lists “John Does 1-100,” meaning there could be up to 100 additional parties to the legal action that are not yet known.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiffs “represent a nation-wide class of Full Tilt account holders residing in the United States whose player account held balances on April 15, 2011. … Defendants would never have been in possession of U.S. Players’ funds, and U.S. Players would never have suffered injury, but for the Defendants’ widespread scheme to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in order to pad their own pockets.”

The Plaintiffs claim that U.S. players are “wrongfully denied access” to an estimated $150 million in funds they deposited on the site. “After deceitfully separating U.S. players from their money, Full Tilt Poker refuses to refund the U.S. Players’ deposits, to reimburse U.S. players for the dollar-value of the contents of their Player Accounts, or to permit U.S. players access to their Player Accounts,” the complain reads.

The suit also claims that Full Tilt has repeatedly misled players into thinking their funds are safe. “Full Tilt’s statements are of little comfort to U.S. players who, in some cases, have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in their inaccessible Full Tilt player accounts,” the suit reads.

Phil Ivey’s connection to Full Tilt Poker is brought up on page 12 of the 58-page filing: “Ivey is — and at all relevant times was — a shareholder and director of, and/or a participant in, Full Tilt and/or one or more Full Tilt Companies.” The suit alleges that Ivey holds at least a 5% stake in the company.

Ivey took a stand against Full Tilt by refusing to play in this summer’s World Series of Poker and filed a lawsuit against the company for damages to his reputation. Ivey withdrew his suit in Nevada state court Thursday, according to lawyer David Chesnoff, who said, “Mr. Ivey intends to dismiss his lawsuit as he believes Full Tilt is taking steps to see that the players are paid.”

The class-action lawsuit has received mixed reviews from the online poker community. The suit was filed on the same day that Full Tilt Poker had reportedly reached an agreement with a group of European investors that could allow the company to pay out as much as $150 million to U.S. players.

Now that the company faces yet another roadblock, only time will tell if the rumored investors follow through with the deal. The agreement has not yet been finalized and could take up to three weeks, according to multiple reports, as the buyers want to be sure that Full Tilt can strike a settlement with the DOJ before completing the investment.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest Full Tilt Poker updates.


  1. Anonymous says:

    is fulltilt ever going to be running again and if not what are they going to do with peoples money they have in the account if someone can get back to me plaese thank you hopefully this isnt the end of fulltilt

  2. Anoyed in TN says:

    I for one do NOT want a law suit to delay or reduce my payment. The Attorneys who have filed the suit NEED to give Full TIlt the option to pay us our money out of court without taking a cut of the players funds as payment. If they can settle while getting thier legal fees seperate from player money Thier involvement is OK. If fill tilt is willing to pay soon, I would gladly opt out of the law suit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    no money will ever be recovered by the players

  4. Anonymous says:

    the goverment created this problem and they want us to go to them to fix it? the atf gives guns to the drug cartel and when we see the murders we go to the goverment to fix a problem they started sucker

  5. Slimgoody says:

    I wish someone would take a class action law suite for us usa players against Ultimate bet. I won a badbeat jackpot and they don’t seem to want to pay either. When this all happen in april, their accounts weren’t frozen nor were they restricted from making payouts. I read that in the DOJ letter they put out themselves. It’s the sites the are not willing to pay anyone at this point. I guess screw us USA players when they can still make their over seas money.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Im from argentina, and i also cant get my money, so they screw players everywhere! Do you really believe that anyone that is having this problem now, will ever put a cent in that site? Wow!

  7. Bottomline says:

    I’m from Australia, and I tried to retrieve my money from Full Tilt month’s ago, although it was not a large amount, the bottomline line here is I doubt anyone will ever see a cent of their money back.It has been a good lesson here for all, don’t play real money poker online, as you will ultimately lose it one way or another. You simply cannot trust these sharks.

  8. joker13 says:

    I’ve got 800,000 in play chips seized. But seriously, when’s the .net coming back up? I’m glad I’m not a real poker player. I just play for fun.

  9. Annoyed says:

    Joker13: Then maybe you should just stfu!

  10. als aces says:

    now thats not a nice comment is it

  11. NooddleBoy says:

    I don’t care what u do or what u say, Please give my money back. My account had $5000. us dollars. I need my money now…

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