After being included in a class-action lawsuit filed against Full Tilt Poker last month, Phil Gordon immediately went to work to clear his name from any illegal activity involving the embattled company. He hired Maurice Suh of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher of Los Angeles to press a civil suit filed by a group of poker players seeking the return of $150 million in funds frozen in U.S. players’ accounts on the site.
This week, Gordon was dismissed with prejudice as a defendant in the case after his legal representatives argued that Gordon “never participated in any management decisions or operational roles at Full Tilt.” Gordon was cleared of any fraud and money laundering allegations.
“I have always held myself to the highest standards of conduct,” Gordon said in a statement. “As part of that, I have repeatedly emphasized that Full Tilt should repay the U.S. players as quickly as possible.”
Plaintiffs Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, and Todd Terry filed the lawsuit against the online poker site on June 30, seeking the return of U.S. player funds and for damages under the RICO statute. They claimed that U.S. players have been wrongfully denied access to an estimated $150 million in funds they deposited on the site and that Full Tilt Poker has misled players into thinking their funds are safe.
According to the firm, Gordon is the only individual to have been dismissed from the suit, as the case against Team Full Tilt members Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen, John Juanda, Patrik Antonius and Erick Lindgren is still ongoing. Indicted Full Tilt founders Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick and multiple “John Does” are also mentioned in the suit.
“No money changed hands as part of this dismissal,” Suh said on behalf of his client. “The allegations about Mr. Gordon in the lawsuit were completely wrong, and I am glad that the plaintiffs agreed with us on that score early in the lawsuit. Mr. Gordon believes that Full Tilt’s top priority should be the repayment of all players.”
Following the ruling, the plaintiffs “moved to impose a constructive trust on Full Tilt,” according to a report by eGaming Review, meaning “Full Tilt’s funds could be held under court supervision during the pendency of the case.”
Gordon, like Lederer and Ferguson, was noticeably absent for much of the World Series of Poker this summer. Although he has cut down his time at the felt in recent years and focused more of his attention on his Bad Beat on Cancer Foundation, Gordon skipped the majority of the events in Las Vegas — including the Main Event, where he finished fourth in 2001 for $400,000. That remains his biggest cash to date.
Gordon’s last cash on the tournament circuit came at the NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship in March where he took ninth for $30,000. In total, Gordon has more than $1.4 million in tournament earnings, including a victory at the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star event for $360,000 in 2004.