Two players in California have sued presumable principals of Full Tilt Poker in LA Superior Court. Lary Kennedy (aka Poker Girl) and Greg Omotoy (a Vegas-reared LA nightclub manager) claim that Full Tilt confiscated $80,000 from their accounts, believing they were bots.
We haven’t seen the legal docs yet, but named in the lawsuit: Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey (a November Niner).
For all the obvious attempted shakedowns and plausibly legit payment beefs, this one (not sure how much they are seeking in damages) could be downright fascinating — on its surface at least — because it cuts to some key issues that are super-relevant to the past, present, and future of online poker … where the decisions any court renders (assuming there’s at least a smidgen of factual basis for the claim) affect not just the plaintiffs and defendants, but 10s of thousands if not millions of players.
I remember thinking when that PokerStars WCOOP 2007 champ, TheV0id, got her $1.2 million prize-money re-distributed, and ZeeJustin for that matter … they have theoretical American dollars ganked from them for alleged rule violations, and yet no recourse should they disagree with the site’s ruling nor a valid, independent avenue of dispute. It’s like Guantanamo Bay in Pokerstarzistan, man, and likewise for Full Tilt, which can serve as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to deciding what to do with its players’ money.
The ironic thing … Howard Lederer, who seems to be the guy-with-the-money attorneys always have their sights set on, is arguably THE BIGGEST fighter for an American regulatory system that would remove this power from online poker sites, his own included. In the world he’s pushing for (and spending shitloads of money on), Full Tilt and PokerStars would essentially have to relinquishcontrol over matters of fiscal disagreement with their customers.
Top it off with claims in this suit that Full Tilt may seat bots at its own tables. Supposed word is that Full Tilt absolutely does not — and if that’s the case the suit becomes questionable. I don’t have an opinion on whether or not that would be a good or bad thing … but it’s a reality that will have to be dealt with in the future. Does your American-friendly site use bots? Is that OK? Should they have to disclose their identities? And if not, why don’t real human players get to use under multiple accounts and/or screen names?
We’ll have to see how much Omotoy and Kennedy are suing for. That will tell a lot about whether they’re just throwin’ shit against the wall to see what sticks or if they have a legitimate beef in wanting to prove that, hey … we’re not bots, give us our friggin’ money back and/or let us take our business elsewhere.