June 15, 2011

Thoughts on Fulltilt, Black Friday, Phil Ivey and Pure Greedy Rich Bastards

I didn’t have much to say about the DOJ and poker’s “big three” after Black Friday (although I was worried by it, having $10k online at the time), but with Ivey entering the picture, the whole thing changes perspective once more, and I do have thoughts on that.

Taking the points in order, I think the complaints from the poker community fall into two areas

1) “the DOJ is evil and stupid, how dare they, etc etc” and “the USA sucks, casino conspiracy" etc etc
2) "I want my money back" etc etc

Regarding point 1, if we take the time to read the charges and the build up to them, I don't see much that the sites can say to defend themselves. Let's even ignore the long DoJ indictment, and talk about the context of Black Friday. They were repeatedly warned about illegal activity, it wasn't just a bolt out of the blue, which makes it all the more stupid, or maybe just plain greedy, given the billions that were still to be had, even without the fatted pig of the American market. And us, the humble grinders????.....C’mon, we all knew what they were doing was breaking the law.

Lets hear it from someone who knows, how about Bwin joint CEO Norbert Teufelberger. Now Bwin is only the world's largest publicly traded online gambling firm (owning among others, Party Poker). In 2006, not only did Bwin pull out of the US due to the UIGEA legislation, but in August 2010 Teufelberger warned that FTP and Stars were illegally transacting using fake processing and that they would be prosecuted. Hell, his comments were even published in various mainstream industry magazines. It was no secret that an impending prosecution was on the cards.

One could argue (somewhat coldly perhaps) that the only stupid people here were not the DOJ, but instead any dumb American grinder who thought his money might be safe on an illegal (in his state, at least) gaming site.

It's irrelevant whether one agrees with DOJ and the legislation behind it, who does in fact??, but it is the fucking law in the most powerful country in the world for chrissakes, and you just can't go around whining about laws that you think are unfair, and thus justifying your breaking them. There's a lot of dumb Christians out there who think homosexuals should be put down, and they are in no doubt about their ideas being above any law. Should we just let them wander around doing God's work and stoning all these sinners??

Regarding point 2, this is where it gets interesting and gives my motivation for posting. Mr Ivey comes in and sues. He’s got tonnes of money, so must have good people advising him, and he’s of course super intelligent (poker is a game of skill, and he’s the best after all…) And in doing so, sets back the resolution process catastrophically. Here's why.....

So his main claim seems to centre around two areas, him being mislead by FTP and the misusing of players funds by FTP by diverting them to investments with the profits not needing to be channeled back to FTP allegedly.... (in true Robert Maxwell style) leaving them with liquidity problems (ie not enough cash in bank) despite massive overall worth.

And this is where the colossal moronic stupidity of his claims lies. Lets even leave out the nonsense about him somehow not realising that the UIGEA laws were passed making online cash transactions illegal in the US, lets accept that as he continued to take a slice of their illicitly fattened profits unquestionably, Ivey just kinda uhhh.....shrugged.... at the many many gaming sites who didn’t challenge the big three’s monopoly in the US, cos they just……er……liked them or something??? (nothing to do with their being worried about being prosecuted by the DOJ, Phil?)

No, what really makes this arrogant git’s actions so utterly idiotic, is his Robin Hood claim to make a stand for “solidarity” as he puts it, for the ordinary players (ie you and me) to help them get their money back. What he has actually done, being the biggest name in pokerworld, is start a run on the bank.

Because this is what Fullltilt primarily is, a virtual bank, and which, tragically, the fuck-you-all owners of Fulltilt have allowed to become vulnerable to insolvency due to aforementioned alleged greedy misuse of liquidity. A frenzied withdrawal activity, which had died down from the non-Americans after Black Friday, rears up in even bigger form as panic ensues for all players everywhere after Ivey's high profile $150m lawsuit is made public. In light of the above, I would suggest its got nothing to do with “solidarity” and everything to do with greed and self-protection. As the main face of FTP and a part owner, the sanctimonious prick should be up there in the dock with the rest of them. Being a part owner in four companies myself, the notion that I don't make it my business to know what the fuck is going on each year in them (and thus absolve myself of any responsibility) is simply absurd.

The losers in this are the players, not only in the USA, but the world over, as the filthy rich on both sides of this lawsuit attack each other's greed in public, and through Fulltilt's inevitable counterclaim against Ivey, at the expense of this important poker site that definitely still had an essential role to play in the future of online poker and its regulation, regardless of the outcome of these indictments. If the run on the bank continues, insolvency is a very real possibility for FTP.

Thanks Phil.

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