by Renee Israel
Players from the United Kingdom and the rest of the world, who have been left
out of pocket since April 2011, when the Department of Justice swooped down on a
number of US online poker rooms, will be pleased to note that the Full Tilt
Poker saga is finally wrapping up.
Full Tilt Poker was among three main sites whose domain names were seized by
the DOJ, and from then on players fought an unsuccessful battle to withdraw
their funds which were wrapped up in the site.
While Poker Stars reimbursed its players almost immediately and allowed them
access to their money as soon as the matter was cleared with the DOJ, Full Tilt
Poker players were not as lucky and, 15 months later, are still hoping.
However, yesterday it was announced that Full Tilt Poker had finally signed a
three way deal with Poker Stars and the Department of Justice. The deal will see
Poker Stars acquire FTP's assets for $730 million in return for settlement with
the DOJ for both sites.
UK Poker Players Can Claim Funds
Under the terms of the new Full Tilt Poker deal which was brokered by
the US District Attorney Preet Bharara, charges of bank fraud and money
laundering on an industrial scale will be dropped against Poker Stars and Full
In return, Full Tilt's assets will transfer to its rival Poker Stars and $731
million will be paid to the US government.
Of that money, $547 million will be forfeited to the US, while $184 million
will be put aside to pay back foreign players, including those from the United
The news has been welcomed by former UK Full Tilt Poker players who have been
waiting impatiently for access to their funds.
US players can apply for compensation from the $547 million.
The Department of Justice said that while civil proceedings against the two
sites would be dropped, it would still pursue parallel criminal indictments
against the 11 men arrested on Black Friday, including the founder of Poker
Stars, Isai Scheinberg, who promised to step down following the settlement.
Case of a Lifetime
The man representing Full Tilt Poker, Jeff Ifrah released a statement
following the settlement and said: "As attorney for Full Tilt, I found this to
be the case of a lifetime. I don't know if John Grisham could have thought this
one up. The problem was very complicated and required an understanding of the
industry, the players and the US government to help Full Tilt realize the best
possible outcome under the circumstances."
"A lot of people pulled together to make this a win-win for the players, Full
Tilt and Poker Stars, and it was very exciting and gratifying to be involved
in," he said.