I will start with full tilt poker. Their decision to allow e-check deposits for over a year without any way to verify or deduct funds, especially when these funds became over 50% of their liabilities is the stupidest business practice – EVER. I’ve been told that the board did not know of this practice until after Black Friday.
I think the best hope for FTP to get repaid if the last remaining interested investment group: http://www.subjectpoker.com/2011/09/french-investors/. If this deal falls through I think the chances of USA players getting repaid in full becomes nearly non-existent.
It is in the best interest of the DOJ, The AGCC, FTP ownership and all players with funds on FTP that this deal goes through. As for the people considering investing, if I had a few hundred million lying around I certainly wouldn’t consider investing in FTP.
In an ideal world if the current investment deal falls through I believe that Ray the Full Tilt board should forfeit all their money and assets to pay back the players. Due to gross mismanagement that do not deserve to keep $1 of profits they received from FTP. In addition to this all other owners should return all payouts they’ve received over the past year (which are player funds because FTP hasn’t made any money in that time), and the 120 million that was deposited by players and never withdrawn via e-check should be collected from said players. This would be sufficient to cover all player balances.
We don’t live in an ideal world but I think the US government should and will appoint a trustee/liquidator to collect this money to the best of their ability.
Full Tilt’s board members are not bad people. I know that Chris Ferguson invested a large % of the money he was paid out (it’s my understanding the majority of the money), in charity projects in Africa. Obviously, it does not excuse full tilt’s mismanagement but I thought it should be included.
It is currently a significant risk to play on any site that accepts USA players IMO. I know it is especially risky to play on Everleaf poker and Cake poker. I know for a fact that neither one of these sites had funds segregated as of black Friday and if they fail for any reason they will not have the funds to pay players. How do I know this:
When Victory moved from Everleaf network to the cake poker network Everleaf was only able to transfer 50% or so of the funds Victory Poker had in their accounts to the cake network. Cake Poker agreed to cover the rest of the player funds until Everleaf was able to transfer them. As of victory poker’s closure in mid-april Everleaf had not paid off all of those funds according to cake management. If they had of these funds segregated – transferring them should of been no problem.
I have detailed knowledge of cake poker’s fincials from earlier this year. They had 5 million dollars outstanding in funds owed to players and only 1 million dollars in cash. They were looking for an investor to save them for going under and eventually reached a deal with http://www.pokerlistings.com/. The terms of this deal I do not know. Even after this deal they have been very slow making payouts.
Before moving to cake poker I had a meeting with management in person. I asked if they had player funds segregated and one member of management told me yes; they had all player funds segregated and available. Other members of management were present when I was told this. I found out a few months later this was a lie. Their willingness to lie about this damning.
Quickly, I will say that I was opposed and very skeptical about Victory Poker’s decision to consider moving to the Cersus poker network. I knew that sketchy people were still involved in Cersus and that if shit went down (poker got legalized in the USA) – I found it very likely they would take the money and run. I told everyone involved with the moving decision as much. With that said with cake’s finical instability – I could understand why it was being considered – it looked like a safer home for the players in the short term.
I would only recommend playing on pokerstars (due to their impeccable record) or publicly traded companies with transparent auditing (many euro sites). Playing anywhere else is a risk.
Hope this helps USA players think about what to do while this shit-storm is ongoing.