May 9, 2012
Murmurs and hubbub rising from the Full Tilt/GBT rubble
You hear a lotta stuff … ok, maybe not so much now without 2+2 … but regardless, I go to our Manhattan-based pal Wendeen in matters of DOJ vs. Full Tilt/PokerStars et al … and sure, even though I was all over so-called poker radio screaming that there wasn’t a chance the supposed GBT/Full Tilt bailout plan would go through, Pokerati was just spouting on “instinct” and maybe “hunch” while Wendeen was collecting actual data to either confirm or deny various pieces of the ongoing online poker saga unfolding in her SDNY back yard.
Check out her latest in Poker Player Newspaper — Full Tilt Creates Drama at PokerStars. Wendeen doesn’t seem as willing as I am to flat-out scoff and pshaw at any suggestion that PokerStars could swoop in and “save” Full Tilt (while saving itself for less than a billion) … but she does provide more facts to put any emerging hubbub in context — including some rather interesting narrative about PokerStars’ designs on going public and American banking giant Morgan Stanley’s interest in online poker sites prior to Black Friday.
A good companion piece of reading is DiamondFlush’s GBT post-mortem, which includes the email Laurent Tapie sent to his extended inside circle, giving not only his presumably honest perception of the deal as it went afoul, but also insights into some of the hard, painful numbers in play.
February 15, 2012
DOJ financial pressure, culture of corporate camouflage, and the ultimate skill-game paradox
Check out Wendeen Eolis’ story over at Poker Player Newspaper, the Manhattan-based poker journo who apparently isn’t gonna let the young whippersnappers at Subject:Poker and QuadJacks bastardize the reality of what’s going on in her courtside stomping grounds as this DOJ vs. old-school online poker story unfolds.
Just last week Wendeen laid out why the supposed “Tapie Deal” isn’t taking shape the way many purport (didn’t someone say FTP-Europe would be up and running by now?) … and she follows that up with a little shameless expose on PokerStars and the cloak of secrecy covering many of their operations — modus operandi she contends became the norm for a company that couldn’t at once be biggest in the world while still trying to fly beneath various legal radars.
Reports from current and former employees, consultants, business partners, Team Pro players, and media brought many verified vignettes that highlight the secretiveness of the company. The various accounts share a common theme; they all indicate a core value of camouflage that permeates so many of the company’s significant initiatives.
Yeesh, happy Valentine’s Day to someone!
Also extra-fascinating is a part of her story suggesting that PokerStars’ efforts to get poker declared a game of skill could be what does them in, financially, because of European tax laws.
November 3, 2011
DOJ to separate American players from rest of world
Rock Paper Scissors?
The last time a rich French dude came to New York to bail out the Americans was Rochambeau in 1781
— fewer than eight WSOPs before George Washington established the DOJ office currently trying to put the hurt on various Tiltboys.
Still trying to wrap my teeth around the latest chapter in the saga of the Rise and Fall of Full Tilt Poker, with the Bernard Tapie Groupe in France saying the DOJ has given them a thumbs up on the purchase of certain Full Tilt assets … with which they’ll supposedly be able to make-good with Full Tilt’s non-American players and resume non-American operations.
So if this is correct — and we can talk later why we presume more truth in this story than others before it — Preet Bharara and his top-ranked American prosecution office wouldn’t have to worry about the Euros … which would be good for the DOJ, I presume, because who needs to mess with the foreigners and the incredibly complex international litigation and trade wars they potentially bring … especially when the real prize Preet seeks is closer to $1 billion.
For a better understanding, be sure to check out Wendeen Eolis’s latest piece in Poker Player Newspaper — Decoding Full Tilt Poker – DOJ – Tapie Plans — which provides a much needed sobriety check and skillful reading between the lines. Even though she may not be on the frontlines like Subject:Poker, as a Manhattan legal consultant in her non-poker life, Eolis has been down to the battlefield a time or two … and seems to understand ways the Southern District of New York more intimately than most.
The Tapie deal does offer the first glimmers of light at the end of a long tunnel, but it seems American players might wanna hold off on calls for “ONE TIME!” lest they become self-fulfilling prophesies of disappointment and despair. Because for any justifiable exuberance over the likelihood that European and “rest of world” players might see PokerStars-style payouts before the end of 2011 … American players with online poker (bank?) accounts in limbo now know only that the DOJ will be looking at them separately in determining who’s a “victim” and
who is Isildur1 who’s potentially a less deserving accomplice.
November 1, 2011
DOJ to repay US players, Tapie to repay rest of world
Subject:Poker is reporting that the US Department of Justice and Groupe Bernard Tapie have reached an agreement regarding the sale and fate of Full Tilt Poker. According to an email from Ray Bitar, the indicted CEO says that upon a payment by the Tapie group and a commitment to assume responsibility to repay non-US players, the DOJ will reimburse US players and settle litigation with FTP-associated companies. The Tapie group will then work on becoming licensed once again by a gaming authority and eventually resume business.
Any deal still needs to be approved by 2/3 of Full Tilt ownership, expected to be a formality.
More perspective can be found at Wicked Chops Poker.