Thursday, June 2, 2011

Phil Ivey vs Full Tilt Poker

The World Series of Poker had just started, and the excitement was in the air, but it didn't take long before headlines were made, due to "Black Friday" that happened on Friday April 15, 2011.

The $25k buy in Heads Up WSOP Event got 128 players, but to everyones surprise there was no Phil Ivey in the field. Phil is considered one of the best poker players in the world, and his fans along with his peers were wondering where he was.

As the 1st round of was being played out, it got around that Phil was boycotting The WSOP and suing Full Tilt Poker. This was posted on his facebook page, so there was speculation that this was a fake posting. Finally as the night went on was updated with the following,

"For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm. I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.

My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.

I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.

I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment."

Now last night Full Tilt Poker responded with,

“Contrary to his sanctimonious public statements, Phil Ivey’s meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player – himself. In an effort to further enrich himself at the expense of others, Mr. Ivey appears to have timed his lawsuit to thwart pending deals with several parties that would put money back in players’ pockets. In fact, Mr. Ivey has been invited -- and has declined -- to take actions that could assist the company in these efforts, including paying back a large sum of money he owes the site. Tiltware doubts Mr. Ivey’s frivolous and self-serving lawsuit will ever get to court. But if it does, the company looks forward to presenting facts demonstrating that Mr. Ivey is putting his own narrow financial interests ahead of the players he professes to help.”

As this years World Series Of Poker plays out it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I should also note that John Juanda a sponsored pro with Full Tilt Poker was verbally threatened during a break in the action of the $25k Heads Up Event, and security was called to deal with the situation.

I really do not know what to think about all this. Everyone Praised Phil Ivey for being the only pro to take a stand, but really, is Ivey suing Full Tilt Poker really going to speed up the process of the U.S. players getting their money? I tend to lean towards no and may in fact make things worse.

Take what you want out of both statements, but either way you look at it, This years WSOP is bound to be filled with rumours, excitement, and bad beats. Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comment section of this blog post.

You may also want to check out Andrew Robl's Blog about this same topic

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