April 15, 2011 is not a date that the owners and players of Full Tilt Poker look upon with fond memories. That is the day that the United States Department of Justice shut them down with no warning, all sorts of federal charges of illegalities followed, and the site has still not yet paid back many account holders who had substantial amounts of money in their accounts when the site was shut down. However, by that time next year, Full Tilt Poker could be back in action in the United States and going stronger than ever, although maybe under a different name.
The United States Department of Justice has been working with online poker site PokerStars and those Full Tilt Poker executives not in jail, CEO Ray Bitar notwithstanding, to provide a solution that would end Full Tilt’s financial and legal problems, pay back account holders who have still been unpaid to date, and make for a smooth purchase by PokerStars of the Full Tilt franchise. Friday, July 27 a reporter from the Poker Player Newspaper, Wendeen Eolis, reported that an “impeccable resource” revealed to her that the US DOJ and PokerStars buyout agreement has reached a satisfactory completion.
As you can imagine only hours, if not minutes, after the release of the announcement online, poker forums and chat rooms exploded with discussions centering around this very intriguing possibility. Many of those chitchatting were hopeful that the agreement goes through quickly, because those very forum members and poker chat room chatterboxes stand to receive substantial amounts of money if and when their dormant and frozen accounts are returned to them.
It has been a central point of negotiations between CEO Bitar of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars executives that a part of the buyout agreement guarantees all former Full Tilt Poker players with virtual balances in their account are paid off when an agreement is reached. How trustworthy is this supposed mystery source that is saying just what online poker players in the US and around the world have been waiting to hear? Without naming names, Eolis called the source of the information “a consistently impeccable resource.” And in probably the sexiest part of her declaration, she went as far as to say that she believes Full Tilt Poker account holders will see their money “well in time for Christmas shopping.”
Obviously, until official word comes from PokerStars representatives and the federal authorities involved, no wise online poker players are counting their chips. A devastating River card could drop and negate all of the wonderful feelings which were delivered with this announcement last Friday. And with a full $390 million to be paid back to Full Tilt players, you would have to believe some type of staggered payout would take place. But more substantiation of Eolis’ brave prediction has evidenced itself from both Gambling911 Publisher Chris Costigan and freelance writer Jennifer Newell, who both independently confirmed the main points of Eolis’ proclamation. Certainly, rumors are just that, but Full Tilt Poker players and those in the online poker community at large now have more reason to be hopeful that this sad chapter in US online poker may finally be nearing an end.