On April 19, four days after the U.S. Department of Justice seized the three major online poker rooms, Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Phil Galfond turned to Twitter to try and calm the storm. The two poker superstars each guaranteed $1 million from their own pockets if PokerStars and Full Tilt didn’t pay back players, and the poker community felt a little more at ease with a dire situation that was entirely out of their control.
More than three months later, poker players are still looking for answers. While PokerStars made a deal with the DOJ to return funds (and paid out more than $120 million to U.S. players), Full Tilt has returned nothing and the future of the site is still left hanging in the balance. The company had its license suspended Alderney Gambling Control Commission last month and, despite rumors of European investors swooping in to buy the world’s second largest poker brand, nothing has come to fruition as of yet.
Naturally, people have not forgotten about the hefty promise made by the two young poker pros.
Players have relentlessly bombarded Dwan’s Twitter account with questions about their frozen FTP funds and whether he’s going to pay up. Dwan has stayed mostly quiet about Full Tilt’s status since April, but he addressed the issue on Twitter late Saturday night: “Lotsa ppl pming me n messaging on twitter w/o having read up on what I said. If worst case happens I’ll pay in a fair way, and that won’t involve paying individuals jus b/c they messaged me a lot. Timeline was late 2012 I think (or anytime I’m >90%ish of ftp not paying out).
“That said let’s hope everything gets resolved n I can keep my $$s to spend on some goofy stuff that I’ll think up later.”
The actual date was Hanukkah 2012, set by Galfond in his original Twitter post. That leaves a lot of time for players to wait anxiously for an end result. But if Full Tilt Poker folds and players are left empty-handed, what happens then? That’s been a popular discussion on the forums since April.
“Seeing as how FTP owes so many people a lot of money how are Phil and Tom going to decide who to pay?” one TwoPlusTwo member asked this month. “Who’s to stop them from just giving it out as an interest free loan to their buddies?”
“Anyone who thinks they will give money to random people is crazy,” another TwoPlusTwo member said. “There’s no way they (phil and tom) will have any idea who and how much people have tied up online. And how would they pay out if they did? Send out thousands of checks to people they never met. No way they are paying anyone.”
Others have come to Dwan’s defense. One player writes, “I think it’s retarded how many people are harassing Tom about his money. He’s the only guy that’s even offered to give back money so stop worrying about him stiffing you when he really doesn’t owe anyone anything. I think it’s absolutely correct for him to wait it out, why send out a million and then if full tilt reimburses people, there’s no way he’s going to be reimbursed by all the players.
“Even if he pays out his 1 million, with 150 million of American funds, it’s likely a lot of people still won’t get anything. Give the guy a break.”
Full Tilt Poker is set to meet with the Alderney Gaming Commission in London on July 26 in a hearing that could ultimately decide the company’s fate. With their reputations and checkbooks on the line, you can be sure Dwan and Galfond will be watching.