Monday, May 16, 2011

Woe is Full Tilt

What the fruck is going on with Full Tilt and cashouts to U.S. players? And why aren't more people making more of a stink about it? Among our group anyways, it seems like it's basically TBA, a little bit of Josie, and then about a hundred quivering blobs of protoplasm too afraid (of something) to speak out against the site that has given us poker bloggers so much opportunity over the years to beef up our prize pools, let our group play rake-free, and even the (largely untaken) opportunity to play in the WSOP (yeah right).

Do any of you people really think that giving away a bunch of stuff to us over the years -- stuff which, believe you me, full tilt thought they were getting fair value for when they "gave it away" to us to begin with -- gives an online poker site the right to, or in any way absolves them from, commingle our U.S. player funds with the site's own funds, and now the consequent problems in giving us back our money? Can anyone really think that way? I've seen a few bloggers out there voicing that opinion, but as this cashout saga draws on and on and more and more details emerge about what is and is not happening at full tilt, is it possible that people really continue to just throw up their arms and give this site a pass?

Here's all I know: Pokerstars took what, ten days to get us our money? Less, even? They saw that they could no longer offer real-money play to U.S. players, and they basically immediately entered into a deal that would ensure the return in full of all U.S. players' funds, in conjunction with the U.S. government. This could only be done because pokerstars looked at their accounts and knew right away that they had segregated somewhere all the money they needed to cover all U.S. players' deposits somewhere in their coffers.

Now UB / Absolute, we like to think they are a different story. They're probably never returning any U.S. players' funds, and ultimately I think anyone who played at that site who expects them to do different now, simply is not in tune with the history of fraud and abuse at this company. Those funds are probably gone, and hopefully those of you who did play there anyways (like me) hedged against that risk by never leaving anything more than a few hundy on that site at any time. But guess what, guys? Full Tilt might be in that same boat as UB when it comes to returning your funds.

Yeah, I said it. And how much "free" stuff they "gave away" to bloggers over the past several years has precisely zero to do with it. What would that possibly have to do with whether or not full tilt is going to give players back their money? It doesn't. In fact, why should all the blogger "giveaways" over the years mean that we even give full tilt the benefit of the doubt at this point? Pokerstars got it done right away, because obviously they did not have player funds commingled with pokerstars funds. Full tilt, on the other hand, obviously did. And can anyone really feel secure when a bunch of professional poker players control an online poker site, and those players have just had the incredible cash cow that online poker is for most of their rolls, totally revoked, possibly forever but at least for a decently long, undetermined time to come, and when it turns out that that site now also had its own funds commingled with U.S. players' funds? Throw in what, tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars that now needs to be returned and cashed out to U.S. players, and someone thinks I should give these funds-commingling scumbags the benefit of the doubt?

I have news for you rose-colored glass, all humanity is good, etc. people out there. Commingling our funds with the company's own funds -- that is, not actually having our cash separated on hand to pay us each back if and when we ever requested a cashout -- that already is the crime, as far as I'm concerned. Whether U.S. players end up getting all or most of their money back eventually, is almost secondary in my mind. The fact is that it turns out that the people who run full tilt have been running a kind of a modified ponzi scheme -- as long as people keep depositing, there are enough funds to go around for everyone to do what they want to do, but when they have to cash out all U.S. players in one fell swoop, guess what? They can't find the money for it all. And of course this is why the communications from full tilt have been so horrible (and so scarce) over the past couple of weeks, because they don't know how to explain this situation without admitting obvious guilt / fraud / etc. Think about it -- Pokerstars had the money, they knew they were going to be ok as a continuing business offering online poker only outside of the U.S., and they got their U.S. players their money back as quickly as humanly possible, and were very clear in their communications with respect to the situation. Full tilt, on the other hand, does not necessarily have the money to return to their U.S. players, and the long-term viability of their business is much more in doubt as full tilt was primarily focused on the U.S. market, and thus far it is just lie after lie, story after story, and excuse after excuse.

For any institution with access to individuals' finances to commingle its participants' funds with its own funds is punishable in almost any context and almost every circumstance. So no matter how this story ends up, Full tilt is already guilty in my mind. I am still proceeding on the assumption that I will one day see my $265 and change left on the site at the time of Black Friday, but I'm sure as hell not counting on it at this point. And with every passing day, the odds that we ever see that money dwindle further and further IMO.

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Blogger Astin said...

Due diligence on the part of the player to see how their funds are handled. Stars pointed out that they used segregated accounts with a 3rd party institution to protect players' funds. Did Full Tilt? If not, then complaining now is pointless.

Also, your rage would be a lot more effective if it wasn't coming from someone who so loudly blew the UB trumpet. How many screen shots and tournament success stories did you post for those crooks? And that was AFTER their actions were known. Now you're going to try and rally the mob to go after Full Tilt? Who has agreed to return funds, but for whatever reason (comingled accounts, funding requirements, whatever) haven't yet? They're guilty when they fail to deliver.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Heffmike said...

Discussed in other spots too:

Right now FTP is experiencing a PR disaster.

It's not an operational one. Yet.

But it's getting close. Stars winning the customer service battle again just makes it worse.

Somewhere time period for cashouts days for Stars and months for NetTeller is where this will likely end up.

And if not? Well, it will get really really ugly.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Stars is essentially Good People. They did the right thing, and perhaps on some future date they'll reap the benefit by being a credible US provider again.

Tilt will pay their players, in which case they will be given a golf clap for doing what they should, and will join the Good Guy team; or they will not pay their players, in which case they will be Dead(er) To Us, frequented only by the foolish, whether that be world-wide or in some potential future US market.

For now, I am content to wait and see without much comment. Not because I think I owe Tilt my loyalty or my silence for BBT or any other reason, but because I don't think that my commentary will make much difference. I'll save my energy for now.

I will say that the longer this goes on, the more likely the latter eventuality becomes and the less likely the former becomes. It looks pretty fishy these days.

12:00 AM  
Blogger BWoP said...

Full Tilt non-segregation of funds IS NOT against Alderney gaming regulations. PokerStars non-segregation of funds IS against Isle of Man gaming regulations.

I think they're both generally good companies (particularly when you compare them to AP/UB), but one of them is in a messier situation b/c of the non-segregation of funds.

Neteller took 6-7 months to begin cashouts. I wouldn't be surprised if Full Tilt takes 2-3 months.

All of that being said, FT's PR department really sucks. The odd messaging is really what's starting to whip people into a frenzy.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

The oddity of the last couple rounds of messssaging is what really has me worried. A site that has sufficient funds on hand to cash out all U.S. players with no problems in short order would not in my mind be sending out messaging like this. What else are we supposed to think?

And like I said, merely commingling the funds is the crime itself in my book. Regardless of whether the bogus jurisdiction where these sites chose to be organized says so or not.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

TY Hoy. I thought I was in the minority with my opinion. Yes Full Tilt has given freebies to bloggers but believe me, it was for a reason. It's all PR and sales, and that's fine. But getting free nachos and a few bounties in Vegas, does not absolve them from paying off the average Joe, whose money they're holding.

Why is their radio silence on blogs with respect to FT holding our cash hostage? Why aren't more bloggers upset about this?

9:37 AM  
Blogger Lucki Duck said...

And where is the PPA in all of this?

10:08 AM  
Blogger jamyhawk said...

What is the point to blog about about? My funds at FTP are just a perception. If I perceive I will be getting them, they are real.

If not, those funds are as good as play money.

I personally think the owners at FTP are trying to figure out if they can get away with never paying the US Players out. They are trying to figure out legal costs/future business/PR value/possible return to US etc.

Pokerstars has a solid business foundation in Europe and Asia and figures to come back to the US some time in the future. So they paid out right away.

I think there is better than a 50% chance that FTP will take the road AB did and never pay out.

No amount of angry bloggers will change that.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

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To be a pro in the game of poker, you need to be a true lover of the game. If you are also willing to know all about the poker game, read through some poker books such as Master Omaha 8 Poker,For Richer, For Poorer, Mental Game of Poker, Gaming the Game, Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street etc that will help you get going.

5:26 PM  

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