Poker News

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, 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 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.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for continuing updates on this story.


  1. It only makes sense for the funds to be frozen, even for funds still controlled by the sites and not seized. Because of mass hysteria that could be anticipated due to the breaking news, in combination with the seized accounts AND loss of payment processors and methods, i can’t see how they could deal with mass cashouts. I don’t know if all the funds are supposed to be available at once or not ,normally, and I’m not saying whether it’s right or wrong, just that a “bank rush” could be difficult for the bank to deal with; i’m not saying they are banks, but using the term more liberally. Just like in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart is trying to keep everyone from cashing out of his savings and loan all at once. They just weren’t setup to deal with that unanticipated situation.

  2. also, that would be so awesome if tom dwan sent me money. i’m already a big fan, and watch poker after dark almost every night. that would make my year. tom, if you read this, i’m mitsubishiso on stars, you could guarantee my whole roll with the cash in your pocket, its only 3 digits. less than you’d bet on 36 clubs playing holdem. haha. plus i wouldn’t lose it. anyway, i don’t really know how phil and tom’s guarantee is supposed to work, but i applaud their intent. and enjoy watching them play.

    i sent my email through the poker players alliance. i hope all players will make their voice heard and that we can all band together so that we don’t lose the ability to keep playing. if you haven’t already, check out , and let me know of other things we might be able to do to help.

  3. dros1005 says:

    I know Andy and the original full tilt team will honor all of their debt. If a true gambler has anything in life…it is the honor to pay what he loses. Rest assured everyone they won’t be able to show their faces in Vegas without paying their players. When a bookie gets busted….he always pays his players…so what…they got busted…they will figure it out and move on.

    Meanwhile all poker players in the US should be e-mailing their congressman! What kills me most is that they are charging these guys with bank fraud…the banks claimed…hear no evil…speak no evil and see no evil after the crash of the housing market….now they want to claim the same thing with poker money transactions!!!LMAO

  4. Chappel says:

    Wonder if their getting worried since Full Tilt pros are all in hiding and no money has been paid back.

  5. Makes You Say Hmmmmmm says:

    Why is it that Pokerstars says that legally U.S. players MUST withdraw their funds, essentially encouraging players to withdraw immediately. In contrast Full Tilt won’t release anything… Guess where my business will go after this debacle is over?

  6. ConwayRick says:

    2:01 pm CST cannot login into FTP or open their website, something has happened.

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