Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bitar’

April 22, 2013

Illinois Seeing (Poker)Stars

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of April 22nd

STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. Pennsylvania  representative Tina Davis (finally) introduced a bill to regulate online gambling late last week. Expect more specifics to emerge this week; early word is that the license fee is $5m and the tax rate is 28%.

#2. Illinois members of the PPA just received a survey concerning PokerStars, leading one industry observer to speculate that Stars is considering buying their way into Illinois’ online gambling market. PokerStars wouldn’t need to take over a full casino to get in; electronic gaming license holders and advance deposit wagering license holders are also eligible to apply under proposed online gambling regulation in Illinois.

#3. Caesars is reportedly considering a sale of NJ property Showboat  - and the eligibility to apply for a New Jersey online gambling license that goes with it. It will be interesting to follow the story (and reaction from the markets) in the coming days. Will Caesars get a premium for the online component? And, if so, will that spark the sale of more New Jersey land-based properties?

+ THE WEEK THAT WAS

OPR OUTPUT

I took a look at the state of online gambling regulation across the United States. And Mark & I got our first episode of The Rabbit Hunt in the books. Finally, I joined Rich Muny for a panel discussion on PokerAdvocacy.

PICKS

#GoodRead - Dave Behr is setting the bar with his coverage of the federal indictment that’s reached into the world of high-stakes poker.

@Follow - @CAGamingLawyer had some great Twitter coverage of the Tribal Internet Gambling legal conference in Scottsdale, Arizona last week that’s worth reviewing.

More from Chris Grove: @OPReport / Google +

Posted by at 10:00 am

April 9, 2013

Instapoker

Saul wins Foxwoods, Piccioli wins Accumulator, Ivey goes for #9

Kevin Saul Photo: Foxwoods / WhoJedi

Kevin Saul
Photo: Foxwoods / WhoJedi


Today’s Boxscore

Kevin Saul $194,178 – WSOP-C Foxwoods Main Event
Bryan Piccioli $211,575 – WSOP APAC Event #1
Jim Collopy $69,662 – WSOP APAC Event #2


The World Series of Poker brand had themselves a fine time over the last few days on different sides of the globe. Big names, new tournaments, and interesting results. The WSOP APAC is underway in Australia while the WSOP-Circuit at Foxwoods wrapped up their Main Event.

Professional player Brian Piccioli captured the first ever WSOP APAC bracelet in a brand new event, something called the “Accumulator” at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. The tournament took reentry events to the next level, where players could not only enter each of the three starting days but could also play even if they had chips at the end of previous days. Whatever part of their stacks remained after Day 1A/B/C were combined and play continued on Day 2. Piccioli won they event with only his Day C stack after busting both A and B but worked it will for the $211,575 prize and gold bracelet.

Long time professional and former online master Kevin Saul is the latest WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion. There were 615 entrees into the inaugural Foxwoods WSOP-C tournament and Saul made quick work of the final table to pick up his shiny new ring, the near $200k payday, and his entry into the WSOP National Championship coming up in New Orleans.

History could be made later today when the WSOP APAC Mixed Event is played to a winner. Phil Ivey leads the final table with Daniel Negreanu right behind him. Ivey will be trying to capture his 9th WSOP bracelet while Negreanu is looking to break his 5 year bracelet slump to pick up his 5th.


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Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Just because Hellmuth is halfway around the world in Australia, that doesn’t mean the internets can’t get their little taste of his wrath. Things don’t seem to be going well down under for the 13-time WSOP champion.

Full Tilt Poker Ex-Chief to Plead Guilty – Ray Bitar, poster boy for Black Friday, reached an agreement with the US Attorney General’s office where he’ll pony up $40million but avoid any jail time as he’s in desperate need of a heart transplant. This naturally generated its own share of twitter jokes, mostly in bad taste.

WSOP.com Real Money Poker Beta – Feel like test driving the first legal poker site in the States. Things aren’t quite to the point of the real deal but WSOP is offering up the chance to beta test their software and shake out the bugs. Closer and closer.

East Falmouth man wins $10m in ‘poker’ game – The word poker is encased in well-deserved quotation marks but the headline still caught my eye. The Mass lottery created some bizarre luck of the draw, fake poker game that awarded a $10,000,000 check. You can’t win that kind of money in your local no-skill-to-win 2/4 limit game.

Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Poker – The documentary previously known as BOOM from the minds of Jay Rosenkrantz, Taylor Caby and Ryan Firpo has been renamed and the new trailer is out.

Posted by at 11:00 am

December 20, 2012

Lederer Settles with DOJ

Agreement to forfeit > $1.5 million over 3 years could be his biggest win

Howard LedererPoker superstar Howard Lederer, facing a $42.5 million civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over his leadership role with a tarnished online gambling company, agreed Tuesday to settle the case, forfeiting more than $2.5 million in cash and assets.

In a stipulated settlement filed at the U.S. District Court in New York City, Lederer, once one of the most revered players on the poker circuit, did not admit to any wrong-doing in the case that stemmed from the April 2011 crackdown by federal prosecutors on illegal Internet poker operations.

However, Lederer, 49, who was nicknamed “The Professor,” by the poker world, agreed to a two-part money settlement with the government, which includes a civil money-laundering penalty of $1.25 million and $168,000 that will be liquidated from various bank accounts.

Lederer agreed to pay the penalty in two installments, due 18 months and 36 months from now. The penalties are secured by Lederer’s two Las Vegas homes in the ultra-exclusive The Ridges area of Summerlin.

More…


September 21, 2012

Instapoker

Tournament winners, FTP losers, people with their head in the sand

Yorane Kerignard
Photo: World Poker Tour


Today’s Boxscore

Yorane Kerignard $182,292 – World Poker Tour Malta
Daniel Chaky $40,773 – WSOPC Bossier City Event #4
Lance Garcia $18,449 – WSOPC Bossier City Event #5
Robin Vannucci $17,711 – WSOPC Bossier City Event #6
Jonathan Taylor $16,201 – WSOPC Bossier City Event #7
Walan Kite $16,350 – WSOPC Bossier City Event #8


Plenty of action around the poker world, both on and off the tables. This week has one new WPT winnner, a boatload of new WSOP Circuit ring owners, and a new WPT Borgata Poker Open champion at some point later today. That final table has an interesting cast of characters including Steve Brecher, David Diaz, and Tyler Patterson after fan favorite Matt Brady was eliminated on the TV table bubble after a nasty beat. They are playing for over $800,000 and a shiny trophy.

The big news is off the table as PokerNews released their 7-part interview with Howard Lederer talking about the Full Tilt implosion, Black Friday, and pointing fingers at the entire universe with barely a mention of his role in the mess. There is a lot of information to get through and it is sometimes tough to listen. The interview does not provide many new facts not known already inside the poker world but it does confirm some stories.

It also provides plenty of ammunition for those who refuse to blame everyone responsible. Lederer and Bitar deserve every ounce of venom spewed their way (except for the death threats, those are childish/dangerous) but there is a set of people unwilling to spread it around. Phil Ivey and his ridiculous lawsuit. The list of people who gladly took massive “loans” against the player funds. The board members who didn’t immediately remove Bitar the moment they realized the mess they were in. They all deserve to be put on blast.

You can catch all 7 parts on the PokerNews YouTube channel.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Sweet holy mother of collusion. And right there on the Twitter machine for everyone to see.

Two legends speak out in support of “Sailor” Roberts’ nomination for Poker Hall of Fame – (All caps title rewritten to save mine eyes) Nolan Dalla has been pumping out all kinds of top notch content since relaunching his website covering everything from politics to poker to sports. This time around he gets the opinion of Doyle Brunson and Crandell Addington about why Brian “Sailor” Roberts should be inducted this year.

Canadian man pleads guilty to conspiracy and gambling charges in NY Internet poker crackdown – Another one of those indicted on Black Friday will be heading off to lovely white collar prison when former Full Tilt payment processor Nelson Burtnick plead guilty to conspiracy and gambling charges. What do you mean it’s illegal to make gambling transactions look like something other than gambling transactions?

Phil Galfond Sues For Share Of Bluefire Poker Profits – I’ve often wondered what kind of traffic/business/signups these training sites pulled in and now we may have a little insight. Galfond was part of the Bluefire startup and made ~$400k over the first two years and now suing for his 2011 share.

BOOM documentary blog – After a few hiccups along the way, like a little government action on 15 April 2011, it looks like those behind the documentary BOOM are about ready to release their work product. I look forward to see it when released, below is the trailer they released over a year ago, and they have submitted the documentary to the Sundance Film Festival.

Posted by at 10:00 am

September 13, 2012

Instapoker

Chris Ferguson Wins and then Chris Ferguson Loses

Ole Schemion
Photo: Partouche Poker


Ole Schemion €1,172,850 – Partouche Poker Tour Main Event
Chris Ferguson £87,640 – UKIPT Newcastle Main Event
Mark Edwards $107,730 – WPT Regional Jacksonville
David Benyamine €94,050 – WPT Rendez-Vous à Paris PLO


Chris Ferguson wins a poker tournament! Ridiculous use of an exclamation point (with apologies to Jess Welman) and it wasn’t the same Chris Ferguson who is currently under indictment by the Department of Justice. But it did give a small moment of humor during a time when there are few remotely chuckle-worthy things going on in the world of poker.

Chris “Not Jesus” Ferguson won the UKIPT Newcastle Main Event at the same time German Ole Schemion was busy winning the absolutely final Partouche Poker Tour Main Event. Schemion picked up €1,172,850 for his victory and defeated some of the hottest pros in the world right now including Dan Smith’s Nubs and Dan O’Brien. It was an unfortunate way to end a tour which had become a popular destination and was drawing many top players from the States.

In other news, the WSOP announced the ten finalists for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame class. There are six new names on the list with four returning from last year in Scotty Nguyen, Jenn Harman, John Juanda, and Tom McEvoy. Two great new additions to the nomination list include a couple of top non-American players with Chris Bjorin and Thor Hansen. Ballots are being sent out to voters with results being reported at the beginning of October and the ceremony during the November Nine (refuse to call it October Nine) ceremonies.

You can check out the full list on the link above.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Doyle Brunson voiced his Hall of Fame support for old time gambler Brian “Sailor” Roberts as well as Juanda, Harman, and Drache

DOJ Files Second Amended Complaint; Alleges Lederer Funded Assets with Unlawful Proceeds – Looks like the DoJ isn’t quite done dropping the hammer on the FTP gang and would like a few dollars from them. A second amended complaint is looking for $137,000,000 in forfeitures from Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar, and Furst.

Reid poker bill would prohibit all interstate and intrastate online gambling except horse racing and online poker – QuadJacks has a nice breakdown of the Harry Reid/Jon Kyle online gaming bill floating around Congress. Interesting developments including States will need to Opt In instead of that being the default position. They also posted a transcript of the Reid/Kyl summary. (Can someone please teach the boys at QuadJacks how to write a goddamn headline?)

WCOOP Final Table Coverage – Since I’m writing about the out-spoken ones, QuadJacks has been getting some pretty decent traffic for their live WCOOP Final Table coverage online. There are few options for U.S. bound players to watch the World Championship of Online Poker but they are a good option.

WCOOP 2012: Inside the PokerStars Radio Studio – For a very entertaining listen during the WCOOP, you should check out PokerStars radio with the always jovial Joe Stapleton. Friend of the Pokerati Brad “Otis” Willis has a fun look behind the scenes.

PokerNews Weekly: Latest Tournament Winners, Partouche Controversy and WCOOP Radio – PokerNews Kristy Arnett and Sarah Grant discuss the latest poker developments.

Posted by at 1:00 pm

July 19, 2012

Poker in the US – Is it ever going to happen?

Last week, Raymond Bitar, the CEO of Full Tilt Poker, was arrested at JFK Airport.

He was charged with gambling, bank fraud and money laundering offenses in connection with the operation of an Internet gambling Ponzi scheme. This recent arrest has brought up questions in the poker community and in the media about the legal issues surrounding this hot button issue. 100% legal online poker in the United States isn’t an IF situation; it’s a when situation. Poker is a game of skill, that’s a fact. In the long term all good players will win, and all bad players will lose. In the short term, it’s gambling. But even in the basic, short term sense, even gambling isn’t illegal. Just walk down the strip in Vegas and you’ll see gambling is alive, well, and legal.

With good reason, the United States government, and any other government, should hold no moral high ground as to how their citizens can spend hard earned money. People treat gambling as fun, whether they are playing poker, slots, table games, or anything else for that matter. Players know they probably aren’t going to win, but they play because it’s entertainment. By making all gambling illegal you may as well just outlaw movies next. You’re essentially telling your citizens what they can and cannot spend their entertainment budgets on.

It’s all about money

Online poker isn’t “illegal” because it’s gambling. Online poker is illegal because online sites are making millions of dollars and the Uncle Sam isn’t seeing a penny. Online sites are seen as rogue, off-shore entities that print money without giving a red cent to the United States Government. It hasn’t stopped many American players, who turn to sites like this to find rooms that still accept US players.

Add to this the fact that established brick and mortar casinos, which have been paying more than their fair share of taxes, are shut out of the online market. These billion dollar casinos employ lobbyists to push their agenda, which is live, in-casino gambling. They feel they benefit from no online gaming and, if there is going to be any online gaming, they feel they should be the ones to offer it. They feel they’ve paid their share, and it should be their sites making millions, and not some “rogue off shore entity”. Casino.org recently released this infographic, which details exactly how much money the US is losing by not regulating the industry.

It’s these two reasons why online poker has been made illegal and, as soon as they find a way to set these American owned sites up with the tax money being paid to the United States Government, poker will be legal again.

The trend is slowly moving that way. Nevada has already passed state legislation that allows online gaming and there are four other states pending. It’s going to take time, but it will happen.

Posted by at 8:00 am

July 14, 2012

Ray Bitar, William Hill, and More Action in Nevada

APCW Perspectives

This week we look at two additional companies taking the next step to get licensed for internet gambling in the state of Nevada. Plus, Ray Bitar is out on bail, and William Hill wants social gaming regulated.

Posted by at 1:22 pm

July 2, 2012

Ray Bitar Arrested

Full Tilt kingpin turns self in, DOJ restates "ponzi scheme" allegations

Leave it to Full Tilt Poker to steal thunder from all the attention going to the One Drop million-dollar buy-in tourney … after all, it’s gotta sting the creators of the Onyx Cup to see such a realization of their vision done bigger and better and with no Full Tilt patches anywhere near the TV cameras.

According to Forbes, Ray Bitar, the stubbornly semi-apologetic CEO of Full Tilt, has been arrested in New York after turning himself in to federal authorities. The Feds have added criminal charges to those levied against him April 15, 2011, based on false statements made to players about their funds as he and others continued to deplete Full Tilt accounts for personal gain … allegedly.

The superseding indictment said, “In effect, Full Tilt Poker operated what was, by then, nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.” So they have softened their language to say not that FTP was a Ponzi scheme … but it was like one. That actually, seems kinda true … when you think of all the poker benefits afforded certain Team Full Tilt pros by using player funds unbeknownst to them.

You can only imagine, too, that while Full Tilt got kinda pissed when PokerStars paid back all their players, Stars has to be kinda pissed as they face another reminder that DOJ settlements don’t come when wanted criminals — their words, not mine — are on the lam and running multinational companies that compete with the Caesars Empire.

Posted by at 11:24 am

July 1, 2012

Re: The Ultimate Who’s Who of Poker

Who'd be playing One Drop pre-Black Friday?

We’ve gotta move on from all this talk of Black Friday, I know … it was nearly a year and a half ago, and we’ll be hearing about its cases moving forward in various capacities probably for another 2+ years.n But if the million-dollar buy-in tournament without certain people does indeed kick off a new era in poker — a hypothesis I’m currently formulating from the mothership — then consider this a farewell to economic powerhouses in the industry who suddenly aren’t, as you can tell by their absence.

The question’s in the subhed … Who would probably be playing in a million-dollar buy-in tournament (who currently is not) were this tournament being held in 2010? I’ll start off with whom I’d put on my list … we’re gonna presume the cap wouldn’t be at 48 either … 64 maybe, or 72 or even 96, but we can start there — on assumption without fact that the WSOP woulda made this thing a little bigger had they counted on the likes of:

Howard Lederer
Andy Bloch
Chris Ferguson
Full Tilt Qualifier and/or PokerStars Qualifier
Tony G
Doyle Brunson
Scott Tom (?)

More…

Posted by at 8:03 pm

February 16, 2012

“Real Talk” with Daniel Negreanu

Says it's OK to be gay and/or a vigilante

I watched it … you probably will, too. Draw your own conclusions from a pre-launch YouTube timeline that starts with “Kangaroos and Emus” and “Get Out of the Friend Zone!!!” then goes to “Your Anus?” and “Closet”. One thing I couldn’t help but notice on this relatively brand-new DNegreanu YouTube channel is that there’s not a PokerStars logo anywhere near it.

Daniel Negreanu is keepin’ it real for his fans with a new V-log that talks about Jason Somerville’s coming out of the closet to him — yay, go gay poker pros! — and then sympathizes with poker players who might inflict testicle-centric violence on Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, and Chris Ferguson.

Negreanu’s disdain for the Full Tilt empresarios is from the gut, you can tell, but gotta say … his calling for essentially the equivalent of a lifetime ban — hoping/encouraging-by-proxy all poker players to shun them forever — sounds ironically similar to KidPoker’s childlike rants against Clonie Gowen back in ’08, when he beckoned for a poker-worldwide ostracization of Clonie after she filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against … um … Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, and Chris Ferguson (among others) … claiming they ripped her off and that Full Tilt Poker was a shadier operation than many might believe. LOL-oops? (Tune in next week!)

Posted by at 1:58 pm

November 1, 2011

DOJ and Tapie group come to agreement on FTP sale

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.

Posted by at 12:51 pm

October 24, 2011

Full Tilt Shutters Dublin Operations

Former employees speak out about life at Pocket Kings post-Black Friday

Full Tilt laid off some 200 people on the Pocket Kings staff in Dublin last week — leaving pretty much just the head honchos, who apparently believe that ole Chris Ferguson bit about “a chip and a chair” too much and somehow still think they can salvage the company something.

Sucks for the Dubliners, but for the rest of us, that means 200 or more employees with insight into FTP operations over in Ireland, no real reason to necessarily protect certain information anymore, and access to 2+2.

Sure enough, at least two former employees from two different departments are posting away and answering questions. Check it out … worth the skim.

Nothing earth-shattering (yet … gotta figure anyone with the uber-goody dirt probably would go to the DOJ requesting immunity before turning informant) but the virtual deposition one former employee goes through provides plenty of color to paint a decent picture of what life was like in the middle of a corporate collapse … not to mention how the nouvea-poker-riche behave without the cash (and TV shows) that previously formed the foundation of their power.

For example, I learned:

More…

Posted by at 11:49 am

October 3, 2011

Ray Bitar Challenges the DOJ without a Lawyer?

... while B-list Black Friday indictees put forth biggest UIGEA challenge to date

nevada license plate notaryI gotta think representing himself pro se against the DOJ was not part of the original plan. But that’s the real story (imho) yet to be noted in Ray Bitar’s claims that he wants some of his property back (including two bank accounts in Pokerati’s old Dallas stomping grounds).

Have a look at the document. He filed the motion himself — “Verified Claim of Raymond Bitar, Pursuant to Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims” — with an Irish notary public to make it official.

I certainly don’t know the nuances of Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims, but it seems complex enough that an attorney might-should usually be filing this kinda thing. And the lack of legal counsel’s involvement in this civil matter raises plenty of questions about the financial status of Bitar … and maybe even the motivations of various comments by Full Tilt attorneys who may or may not be still be getting paid.

More…

Posted by at 10:10 am

Where is the Collective Outrage?

When I looked at the numbers, I had to re-evaluate

tom schneider political humor

Tom Schneider


OP-ED

Ed. Note:  Shortly after Tom wrote this piece, the AGCC revealed that some $330 million had been seized pre-Black Friday. I sent an email asking if this changed the math, to which Tom replied, “That’s almost all that they owed to players, just short $60 million which is purportedly what they had in the bank.  Makes my case even stronger.”


Just yesterday, I heard the news that the Department of Justice accused Full Tilt Poker of running a Ponzi scheme.  A Ponzi scheme is defined as a pyramid investment swindle in which supposed profits are paid to early investors from money actually invested by later participants.

I object your honor.  Taking money I deposit and distributing it to owners is no Ponzi scheme.  But wait, let’s look at some facts/guesses.

Had our politicians not passed a law that restricted financial institutions from transferring money to and from poker sites, all players would still have their money. 

In reviewing the DOJ complaint and other sources, the following information jumped out at me:

Money owed to players  ($390 million)
Cash on Hand, Seized or Frozen Cash, Deposits not Received From Players
Money seized by US Government $115 million
Deposits not received from players* $180 million
Money frozen by banks $42 million
Money in Full Tilt bank accounts $60 million
$397 million
Shortfall to pay account holders None/Zip/No Shortfall

More…

Posted by at 8:00 am

June 10, 2011

Appeals Court: Judge Kinda-Sorta Erred in Clonie Case vs. Full Tilt

Case can continue with claims of FTP malfeasance, harm

Not sure yet what exactly this all means … but the case of Clonie Gowen vs. Team Full Tilt (that strangely never got to trial) is still alive in some capacity. A federal Appeals court ruled yesterday that the lower federal court — Nevada District — did indeed make errors in dismissing her claim against Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, and various companies connected to Full Tilt.

Clonie Gowen’s lawsuit of course, was the first of what would prove to be many against various Full Tilt entities — at the time dismissed not just by a Las Vegas judge, but by the “poker world” and industy as a whole. Since then the belief that Full Tilt could do no wrong has definitely reversed itself … in American courts as well as the court of public opinion.

Clonie was seeking $40 million as a part-owner of Full Tilt. But my how times have changed … If she does finally get her day in court, certainly the valuation would have to be reassessed … and these days, were an American court to way declare that yes indeed you are an owner of Full Tilt, would that be a win?

Read below for a summary of the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco:

More…

Posted by at 11:39 am