Posts Tagged ‘Full’

Virginia Poker Bill Passes Senate Committee, Full Senate Vote Coming

 Virginia Poker Bill Passes Senate Committee, Full Senate Vote Coming

Facing increased competition from surrounding states, the Commonwealth of Virginia appears to be slowly making its way toward legalizing at least some sort of brick-and-mortar gambling. On Monday, a bill which would legalize poker and authorize the regulation of poker tournaments passed through committee. The bill will likely be voted upon this week.

The bill, S 1400, was introduced by Senator Louise Lucas about two weeks ago. Its first order of business it to legalize poker by declaring it a game of skill. Currently, the state law is a bit murky in this area:

“Illegal gambling” means the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth.

As you can see, it doesn’t really specify if illegal gambling only requires an element of chance or if it must be entirely based on chance. Poker, as we know, definitely involves plenty of luck, but it also requires much skill.

Thus, Sen. Lucas is looking to amend the law to include the following sentence: “Poker games shall be deemed games of skill, and nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to make any such game illegal gambling.”

Beyond that, the bill also allows for poker tournaments to be held in the state, giving the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services the power to control said tournaments and the Charitable Gaming Board to set the rules and regulations. Pages of nitty-gritty about tournament regulations are included, as well.

On Monday, the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee voted on the bill, passing it – just barely – by an 8-7 vote. The voting was split almost entirely down party lines, but it was one Republican, William DeSteph, Jr., who crossed the aisle and swung the vote to “Yes.” Here is a breakdown of the voting:

YES

George Barker
William DeSteph, Jr.
Adam Ebbin
Marnie Locke
Monty Mason
Jeremy McPike
Scott Surovell
Jennifer Wexton

NO

Richard Black
Siobhan Dunnavant
Bryce Reeves
Frank Ruff
Glen Sturtevant, Jr.
David Suetterlein
Jill Vogel

From here, the bill goes back to the entire Senate for three readings on three separate days. The first, basically a formality where it gets put on the calendar, happened on Wednesday without a single “no” vote. The next reading gives Senators an opportunity to propose amendments. If all amendments are approved or none get proposed (there was a one-word amendment added by the committee, so it doesn’t seem like there will be much going on in the amendment department), the third reading is when the real Senate vote takes place, the one where the entire bill gets the thumbs up or thumbs down.

If the vote is to be held this week, that means the second reading would have to be on Thursday and the third reading, with the vote, would be on Friday.

If the Senate approves the bill, it will move on to the House.

Poker News Daily

Full Tilt Poker Claims Process Appears to be Done

 Full Tilt Poker Claims Process Appears to be Done

According to Flushdraw.net, the remissions process for those who had poker funds frozen in the Full Tilt Poker Black Friday scandal is effectively complete. According to the Garden City Group (GCG) the Full Tilt Claims administrator appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice, every petition for reimbursement submitted by players has been processed.

There have been nine waves of payments to former U.S.-based Full Tilt customers, the first of which occurred in February 2014, nearly three years after player deposits were frozen or disappeared. That initial batch of payments was by far the largest, but the GCG had much more work after that, as more petitions came streaming in, incomplete records had to be fixed, and changes had to made to policies about who could and could not get their money back. Per Flushdraw, the dollar amounts and numbers of payments for each round were as follows:

February 2014: $ 76 million, 27,500 accounts
April 2014: $ 5 million, 2,200 accounts
June 2014: $ 14 million, 3,200 accounts
September 2014: $ 1.8 million, 600 accounts
March 2015: $ 2.8 million, 3,500 accounts
June 2015: $ 4 million, 4,000 accounts
November 2015: $ 5.7 million, 2,000 accounts
March 2016: $ 2.6 million, 1,180 accounts
November 2016: $ 2.6 million, 1,000 accounts

All told, that’s 45,180 U.S. player accounts (including mine!) and $ 114.5 million. Full Tilt actually owed $ 160 million to United States players, so the DoJ and GCG are going to split a nice bonus check on this deal. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the GCG just isn’t paying out $ 45.5 million because screw the players; there are likely thousands of former players who never submitted a claim. At the same time, though, that sizable group of players also probably didn’t have that much money at stake, so there are almost certainly tens of millions of dollars left over that will never find their way home through no fault of the players.

There were also 1,635 denied petitions, 1,500 announced in May and 135 from GCG’s latest update. No reasons were given publically for denials, though it would not be surprising if incomplete or incorrect information never got reconciled.

Many of the denials may have involved accounts that were extremely complicated. One of the more touchy situations involved sponsored pros and affiliates. Both of these groups usually earned two types of income from Full Tilt: money from playing poker like the rest of us and income from their business relationships with Full Tilt. Income from the latter category was usually deposited in the players’ poker accounts and because the GCG denied claims from people who received business-related income from Full Tilt, those people found that they weren’t getting anything at all back. The Poker Players Alliance talked with the GCG and helped the company understand the difference between poker playing income and business income. Thus, the GCG reversed course and allowed sponsored pros and affiliates to receive their refunds, but only for money earned through actual poker play.

Though the remission process is now closed and the entire five and a half year ordeal is essentially done, the GCG did say in October that it “will continue to work with the Department of Justice to evaluate appeals, and any previously denied Petitions that are determined to be payable will be included in an upcoming distribution.”

Poker News Daily

Adjarabet Launches Full Deck Poker Promo

 Adjarabet Launches Full Deck Poker Promo

It’s been a while since we talked about Adjarabet. Remember Adjarabet? It was the little-known online poker room based in the country of Georgia that rose to prominence two years ago via creative promotions that catered to the recreational player. These promos had goals that were extremely easy to reach and as a result, Adjarabet drew loads of cash game players, catapulting it into the top ten of PokerScout’s cash game rankings. The poker room is down to number fifteen now, but that’s still not too bad. So let’s talk about another interesting promo it has going on, shall we?

The latest promo is called “Full Deck Poker” and seems like a fun take on the tried-and-true card collecting game. The goal, as it might sound, is to collect each one of the 52 cards in a standard deck. And, as is the modus operandi of Adjarabet, the cards are insanely easy to obtain. Each time a player is involved in a raked hand, his hole cards are added to his promo deck collection (or those cards that have yet to be collected).

Per Adjarabet’s definition, a raked hand for this promo is a real money hand in which the player stays in until at least the flop and the pot reaches at least .20 GEL (Georgia Lari, equal to about $ 0.41). There must be at least three players dealt cards in the hand and only Hold’em cash game tables count.

For example, if Player A is dealt 9♣-5♠ at a full table, is still in the hand at the flop (even if he folds later) and the pot hits, say, 1 GEL, that 9♣ and 5♠ will be added to Player A’s Full Deck Poker collection for that day. If the player already has one of the cards in his collection, he will not get a duplicate.

If a player continues to play enough so that they collect all 52 cards in the deck, that player then qualifies for the weekly Full Deck Freeroll, which is held every Monday at 20:00 server time. The qualifying period for the tournament is the seven days prior to that Monday. The prize pool for each freeroll is 15,000 GEL.

A player’s work is not necessarily complete, however, once a 52-card deck is completed. Sure, the player qualifies for the freeroll, but by completing another 52-card deck on a different day, players can increase their freeroll starting stacks. Everyone starts with at least 2,500 chips, but if a full deck is collected on a second day during the week, that stack grows to 5,000. More starting chips are added for each day all 52 cards are collected, with the maximum stack set at 50,000 chips for amassing a complete deck all seven days of the week.

And…that’s it. I don’t have anything more to say about this.

Poker News Daily

Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

 Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

In mid-May, PokerStars absorbed Full Tilt’s liquidity, ending the checkered existence of the once high-flying poker room, leaving behind just the carcass of the Full Tilt brand. On Friday, eGaming Review reported that Amaya, owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, was eliminating “dozens” of jobs in its London office, the assumption being that these positions were related to Full Tilt operations.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When two similar operations merge, there are bound to be employee casualties because of job redundancy. That was especially the case here, since Full Tilt’s poker software wasn’t going to be used anymore; Full Tilt is now just a skin of PokerStars, using the PokerStars platform.

When the “merger” of PokerStars and Full Tilt was initially announced in February, Amaya said:

This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements. For instance, rather than splitting resources developing Full Tilt Jackpot Sit & Go and PokerStars Spin & Go features independently, teams will be able to work together on delivering the best possible product on one platform.

Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars, acknowledged that the job cuts were, in fact, happening, saying that they would be balanced out by “a few dozen new roles in several offices.”

He added that the company was making efforts to place employees whose jobs were eliminated in other roles within the company – perhaps at other offices – in order to avoid laying them off altogether.

Related, Joss Wood at OnlinePokerReport.com made an interesting observation on the decision of Amaya to keep the Full Tilt brand intact, even though the poker room as we knew it was eliminated. As readers will remember, and as Wood reminds us, not long after Rational Group brought Full Tilt back from the dead, the company made it so that players could transfer money between their own accounts on PokerStars and Full Tilt. The resulting information that Rational (and eventually Amaya) was able to gather on how many players remained active on both sites, how many moved money one way or the other, how many closed one account, etc., was likely quite useful when the decision was being made on how whether to shut Full Tilt down completely or keep it alive as a skin of PokerStars.

That the Full Tilt brand still exists, says Wood, is evidence that enough players were brand loyal that Amaya did not want to get rid of Full Tilt altogether. Keeping it as just skin, though, still allowed the company to enjoy the cost savings made possible by folding Full Tilt’s liquidity into PokerStars’.

Poker News Daily

Final Settlements in Full Tilt Case Reached

 Final Settlements in Full Tilt Case Reached

After more than five years of travel through the courts in the United States, the final settlements regarding Full Tilt Poker were quietly reached earlier this year, ending the saga of the now-defunct twice over online poker site and putting it into the history books.

The issues that Full Tilt faced were directly related to the “Black Friday” indictments by the U. S. Department of Justice against top officials from the online poker room. Indicted directly criminally in the case was Ray Bitar, the Chief Executive Officer of TiltWare, and Nelson Burtnick, who was the Director of Payments for Full Tilt Poker. In addition to those men, a class-action civil suit was filed against Full Tilt executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson by a player consortium consisting of Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, Todd Terry and Bradley Clasen, looking to retrieve monies that were taken in by Lederer and Ferguson, rumored to be in the $ 450 million range.

There had not been tremendous action for a few years regarding the case but, in August or September of 2015, talks began in an attempt to settle grievances between the parties. The plaintiffs in the case needed to have their court costs taken care of, which could have been into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Lederer and Ferguson needed a conclusion to the case simply to get it off their docket. As a result, in late 2015 an agreement was reached and, in January 2016, the court costs were settled for the plaintiffs and each received a token $ 500 payday from those court costs.

The big thing about the settlement of the case is that it will effectively end any further actions against those in Full Tilt management. After the settlement, the case was dismissed with prejudice, basically stating that the defendants could not face legal actions regarding the same case ever in the future. This brings an end to a tragedy that became even worse when it was exposed five years ago.

2011’s “Black Firday” saw the shutdown of the three most powerful online poker operations in the United States – PokerStars, the CEREUS Network rooms Absolute Poker and UB.com and the aforementioned Full Tilt Poker – by the U. S. Department of Justice. After a few days of negotiation, PokerStars was reopened to U. S. residents to allow them to retrieve their poker balances from the site. The same deal was offered to both Full Tilt Poker and CEREUS but, as it soon would become evident, neither of those rooms were in the position to refund their customers’ money.

In the case of Full Tilt, years of payment to the principal owners of the company – the official group that made up Team Full Tilt, such as Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar and others – had left the coffers depleted, so much so that there wasn’t money on hand to pay the approximately 75% of their clientele from the U. S. that had money with the company. It was rumored that Full Tilt Poker, when the deal was offered to pay back players, had only $ 60 million in its “ready cash” fund and could not complete the deal (the CEREUS Network rooms were in even worse shape).

Full Tilt Poker would eventually lose its license for operation in the fall of 2011 and it appeared that everyone’s money went away with the site. Then, in 2012, PokerStars stepped up and bailed out the DOJ by settling their case with the feds, paying out $ 731 million and getting Full Tilt Poker in return. While PokerStars walked away with the Full Tilt property, the players got paid back – although in some cases it would take almost four years and some received nothing at all for their affiliate revenues – due to the PokerStars largesse. (To this date, the CEREUS Network has NEVER had any discussions of player refunds and, for the most part, that money is considered lost.)

Of course, the settlement of all legal issues against Lederer and Ferguson led them back to this year’s World Series of Poker. While Lederer failed to cash in the handful of events he played, Ferguson was much more visible, playing in a multitude of tournaments and cashing 10 times for almost $ 250,000, including a fourth place finish in the $ 10,000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em World Championship. Bitar, once thought to be near death when he was sentenced for his role in the Full Tilt fiasco in 2013, got married in an elaborate ceremony earlier this year and looks to be in the peak of health.

With the closure of the final legal case involving Full Tilt Poker, it may be thought that the poker community can move on. The stain left by such men as Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar and others isn’t the type that goes away easily, however.

Poker News Daily