Full Tilt Poker Faces A Sea Of Troubles

George | July 2, 2011

Full Tilt PokerThe world has not been a gentle place to Full Tilt Poker for the past two months. The site, which was one of the largest until disaster struck on Black Friday in the form of a website seizure and charges from the United States Justice Department for money laundering, bank fraud, and illegal gambling. The accounts on the site were frozen, and since that time, Full Tilt Poker players have yet to see any of their funds returned to them.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Alderney Gambling Control Coalition (AGCC), the regulating agency for the British Channel Islands, where Full Tilt was registered as a business, revoked the website’s eGambling license on 29 June, barring them from taking on new clients, accepting money from or releasing money to current clients, and allowing players to play any kind of poker game, including free poker, on their site. Full Tilt’s owners scrambled to sell the company to someone who was willing to bail it out, as over $150 million dollars of funds from US poker players still needed to be paid, and the site was now facing extensive legal costs as well.

Following on the tail of Full Tilt’s announcement that they were planning to sell part or all of the company to undisclosed “European investors,” reports emerged showing a mass exodus from the website; apparently, players had suffered through more than enough and were now unwilling to wait with the site any more. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Full Tilt in a US District Court in New York against the company and many employees and professional players, including Full Tilt Pro Phil Ivey, who had dropped his own suit against Full Tilt not 36 hours earlier. The lawsuit accuses Full Tilt Poker of a “pattern of racketeering” and “wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.” An employee from Full Tilt described the company as being in a state of bewildered chaos since Black Friday.

PokerStars, which was also named in the original suit from the US Department of Justice, has done everything that they can to separate themselves from Full Tilt, including issuing a press statement and taking several opportunities to express to the media that Full Tilt’s problems are isolated to that site in particular. This positive spin has apparently worked, as PokerStars has claimed 59% of the players who have left Full Tilt for greener pastures.

The end of Full Tilt Poker as we currently know it isn’t entirely bad; several smaller poker sites have stepped up their game in an attempt to win over some of the now-disgruntled Full Tilt customers (and they probably hope to steal some away from PokerStars as well, as the site has only returned about one fifth of the money trapped in customer accounts since Black Friday. Titan Poker is offering huge incentives to join their site, including a 300% match on up to $600 of reload on your account, or, if you’re one of the coveted new players, a 200% match on up to $2,000 dollars of your initial deposit. 888 Poker is offering amazing freeroll tournament opportunities to all of their players, including a 99c entry to win a seat at the WSOP.