Posts Tagged ‘Absolute Poker’

US Government should start making Full Tilt Payouts this Week

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

For well over two years, former US Full Tilt Poker players have waited for their money. Some of these grinders are even owed $1 million or more! Now it finally looks as if players might finally get their money back.

The Garden City Group, which has been tasked with making the payouts, claims that they’re very close to returning funds. It’s unclear exactly what day this will happen, but Garden City says that payouts should start being delivered by the “end of the week.”

When PokerStars purchased Full Tilt for $731 million last year, this amount covered $184 million that was owed to Americans. This being said, many US players expected their money quickly. But people started getting worried when months passed by with no payouts being made. However, the wait looks to be over with Garden City Group ready to make transactions.

An estimated 1.3 million Americans are owed money from the old Full Tilt Poker. Noted pro Blair Hinkle is one of these people, and he’s still due over $1 million from an FTOPS Main Event victory. There are plenty of other pros who are owed fortunes as well.

As for Full Tilt, they were busted along with PokerStars, Absolute Poker and UB Poker by the US Department of Justice on April 15th, 2011 (Black Friday). Just two months after this, they lost their license when it was revealed that that they didn’t have enough funds to cover player deposits.

When Full Tilt went down, they owed players $330 million, over half of which included US player deposits. For a while, many people wondered if they’d ever see their funds again. Then PokerStars bought FTP from the US DOJ and quickly allowed international players to get their money back. Now it looks as if the US government will finally pay the rest of the players.

Ben Mezrich defends Angle he took in New Book “Straight Flush”

Friday, June 14th, 2013

One of the biggest stories in the poker world over the past few weeks has been Ben Mezrich’s new book Straight Flush. Mezrich, who’s famous for writing The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, took an in-depth look at the rise and fall of Absolute Poker in his latest work. But many poker players don’t believe that Straight Flush does an adequate job of explaining the corruption involved with Absolute.

The famed author largely disagrees with this notion and defended the angle he took with his poker book in an interview with When asked about TwoPlusTwo forum members bashing how he allegedly skipped over a major cheating incident at Absolute Poker, Mezrich explained the situation with the following:

There’s a group of people who feel that Scott (Tom) is very evil and that the founders of AP are horrible and cheats. And I think the book is a works-in-all tale, although they would disagree. But I think the cheating scandal’s in there, there’s no cover-up, there’s no defense. It tells the story in their words. It’s certainly from their point of view. But I think the rise and fall of AP is told well in this story, and certainly what happened with the UIGEA and what happened with the industry, which I think is what’s important in this story.

Ben Mezrich went on to show some sympathy for those who’d lost money due to the scandal and said that he gets why the book is controversial. However, writing a book completely about the cheating scandal isn’t what he wanted to do. Instead, Mezrich wanted to focus on the rise and fall of Absolute Poker along with how unjust the UIGEA was.

The author’s recent interview with CalvinAyre is still unlikely to win Mezrich any points with hardcore poker enthusiasts, some of whom lost money when Absolute went offline following Black Friday. However, he does do a good job of defending his position, which has always been writing entertaining, glamorized stories about young college students who build financial empires, only to experience struggles and controversy along the way.

This formula has helped Mezrich’s books be spun into two huge movies in The Social Network (Accidental Billionaires) and 21 (Bringing Down the House). And as he contends in the CalvinAyre interview, it won’t be long before Straight Flush is turned into a major film.

Former Absolute Poker COO Paul Leggett back in Online Poker

Monday, May 6th, 2013

A sizable portion of the poker community have collectively raised their eyebrows over a big hire. Former Absolute Poker COO Paul Leggett is now going to be taking the same position with Canada’s Amaya Gaming. As both Pokerfuse and eGaming reported, he’ll replace former Amaya COO Paul Bertilsson, who will stay on with the company in another role.

Leggett is an interesting, if not controversial hire because he was Absolute Poker’s head man during Black Friday. This day started Absolute’s demise and saw them eventually go offline with millions of dollars in player deposits. So it’s quite strange that Amaya Gaming would want to bring on such a murky figure.

As for his role with Amaya, he’ll oversee the company’s newest purchase, the Ongame Network. Ongame is one of the oldest networks in the poker industry, and they’ve lost some major traffic in recent years. One of their largest rooms, bwin, joined Party Poker, which fueled Ongame’s drop from the fifth most heavily-trafficked network to the 18th most popular.

Leggett’s job will be to help Ongame regain some of their lost traffic and move back up the ladder. However, it’ll be interesting to see if his new role has any effect on Ongame’s new position in the regulated Nevada internet poker market. Last year Ongame signed a deal to provide software for Bally Technologies, which obtained an online poker license from Nevada.

Perhaps just as important as the licensing aspect is what players will think of Leggett’s hiring. The Absolute Poker name doesn’t exactly carry a good reputation because of all the player deposits they never refunded. So with Leggett now heading Ongame, players who were burned by Absolute might think twice about depositing with their Nevada-based poker room.

Famed Author Ben Mezrich ready to release Absolute Poker Book

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Ben Mezrich, who wrote the world-famous books Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions and The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding Of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, has announced that he’s getting close to releasing his latest work, Straight Flush.

This book, which deals heavily with Absolute Poker, is due out on May 28th and can be pre-ordered now. Mezrich has said in plenty of interviews that this story will cover how six University of Montana frat brothers created one of the biggest online poker sites in the world. Judging from the clip seen here, it looks as if the author will also go into detail on the Black Friday indictment and legal matters involving the Absolute owners too.

At this point, it’s difficult to know what else will be included in Straight Flush. However, one angle that may not be included is all of the scandals at Absolute Poker – the biggest of which involved a superuser scandal where AP management were able to see the hole cards of their players. This cost a number of players millions of dollars, and the perpetrators went largely unpunished.

Of course, when looking at Mezrich’s past works, it may make sense that he’s avoiding the cheating issue. Both Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Millionaires deal with young people who stumbled into very lucrative professions. Telling the story of frat boys who went from cash-strapped college students to multi-millionaires would definitely be in the same vein as the aforementioned works.

But this isn’t so say that Mezrich will completely avoid the scandals that plagued AP. After all, the book won’t even be released for another month and a half, so a lot could change.

Author Ben Mezrich to write Absolute Poker Book

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Ben Mezrich is a well known non-fiction author who has taken up a new project that focuses on the defunct Absolute Poker and its founders. As you may already know, Absolute was a fairly scandal-ridden poker site that went down after Black Friday along with millions of dollars in players’ money.

It’s still too early to see what angle the author will take with this story, but Mezrich has hinted at writing a great deal about those who started Absolute Poker – a group of University of Montana students. One of the hints Mezrich gave us was when he said, “They’re brilliant kids who built an empire in a way. And now they’re being persecuted because they did something to me that was very American.”

The only problem with this book idea as far as the poker world is concerned involves the large amount of negative feelings that most players have for Absolute Poker. Like we discussed before, Absolute Poker was responsible for losing millions of dollars in player deposits when they went offline. Furthermore, there was once a superuser scandal at Absolute that gave certain players the ability to see their opponents’ hole cards.

Ben Mezrich’s name may not be familiar to everybody, but the work he’s done should ring a few bells. He is widely recognized for his book “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions,” which served as the basis for the movie 21.  Additionally, he wrote, “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Take of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal,” which spawned The Social Network.

Absolute Poker’s Brent Beckley imprisoned with Enron CEO

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Brent Beckley was a major figure in the Black Friday trouble as he headed the now departed Absolute Poker. And as many people know, Absolute Poker was laid to rest alongside millions of dollars worth of player deposits shortly after Black Friday.

The poker community hasn’t been sympathetic to Beckley’s actions, and the US justice system seemingly feels the same because they decided his fate of 14 months in prison. He received the sentence after pleading guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. When October rolls around, Beckley will be seeing a change in living conditions as he enters the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution situated on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.

Things can’t be all bad for this former reputable man as the Englewood facility is only a minimum security satellite work camp; this is just a fancy term for a prison for wealthy and famous men to do jail time.

He’ll have the company of other high-profile men including Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. As was reported worldwide in the early 2000’s, Skilling was pulling the strings during the Enron energy company collapse that took over 20,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investors’ money. Following this disaster, he earned himself 24 years in prison with charges of fraud and insider trading.

Blagojevich was governor from 2003-2009, which may have temporarily earned him respect from the people in Illinois; however, crimes belonging to the former Illinois head man earned him 14 years in prison. Blagojevich was caught trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by current US President Barrack Obama, which is just one infraction that landed him behind bars.

Absolute Poker $30m Tax Bill – The Final Scandal

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Absolute Poker has never been the most reputable site since they were entangled in one of the biggest poker scandals in history. An employee by the name of Allan Grimard (a.k.a. AJ Green) played under the superuser account “POTRIPPER,” and could see his opponents’ hole cards. After various complaints were lodged, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission investigated the matter, and discovered that Grimard essentially stole millions of dollars from players through seeing their hole cards.

With this little history lesson out of the way, it’s worth mentioning that Absolute’s mark on the poker world will soon come to a close because they’re reportedly ready to liquidate assets and pay players back. Now players won’t receive full payment back on their deposits since Absolute is apparently only going to deliver between 15 and 20 cents on the dollar; but it’s probably more than most players expected to get.

Speaking of liquidating their assets, it doesn’t look like Absolute will be paying the $30 million tax bill that the Norwegian government has sent their way. After a lengthy investigation done by Norway’s Tax Crimes unit, they concluded that Absolute Poker had been laundering money through the country via a holding company called Madeira Fjord.

Those who followed Absolute after Black Friday may remember Madeira Fjord because they filed bankruptcy when the poker site refused to pay them for services. And now it’s been revealed that these services included laundering money for AP when they were having trouble accepting US customer deposits.

In any case, it looks like Absolute Poker and their checkered past will soon be wiped off the map when everything is sold, and players receive fractions of what they’re owed. Furthermore, co-owner Brent Beckley is headed off to prison for 12-18 months, while colleague Scott Tom should be joining him in the near future.

2011 WCOOP Main Event down as expected

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

The 2011 WCOOP Main Event attracted 1,627 players, and will be offering almost $5 million total to the top finishers. But while this is one huge online poker tournament, it doesn’t quite measure up to the 2010 WCOOP Main Event. After all, the 2010 WCOOP ME set records for an online poker tournament when over $12.2 million was offered in the prize pool. Another record was set when Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks hit the single biggest online score when he earned $2,278,098 for winning.

In any case, the 2011 WCOOP Main Event won’t come anywhere near these numbers since US players can’t enter the event. Sure $5 million is a lot of money, but we can be positive that it’d be worth a lot more if Americans could still play at PokerStars. However, the actions of the US Department of Justice continue to have reverberating consequences on online poker.

When the US DoJ cracked down on PokerStars and three other major sites on April 15th, 2011, it was pretty much expected that the World Championship of Online Poker would never reach its peak numbers again (unless regulation is ever approved and the US issues poker licenses).

But hey, at least PokerStars can still stage a major online poker event like this. Furthermore, at least they can run poker tournaments of any kind since the other three sites that faced the wrath of the US DoJ (UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker) aren’t even running. Both UB and Absolute Poker were sunk right from the get-go since they’d already been mired in scandals beforehand.

As for Full Tilt Poker, there was a glimmer of hope in the beginning that they’d survive, and players would get their bankrolls back. However, the Full Tilt Poker brand is all but destroyed now, and a civil suit has been levied against FTP; however, even if the suit is successful, it might only get players pennies back on their dollars.

In any case, it’s nice that PokerStars isn’t totally crippled by the whole DoJ ordeal, and can still run a great poker event.

2011 WSOP Attendance Fears

Monday, July 11th, 2011

One of the main concerns going into the 2011 WSOP was that attendance figures would be way down. And these concerns were certainly valid following Black Friday (April 15th), where PokerStars, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker were temporarily shut down. On top of this, all four poker rooms were forced to stop taking US players, which cut down on their ability to offer as many WSOP prize packages.

One last thing worth mentioning is that many players who would’ve been at the WSOP couldn’t play because the bulk of their money was frozen on one or more of the largest poker sites. In short, there was a lot of stuff working against strong attendance figures in 2011.

But as logical as it seemed, the 2011 WSOP attendance figures have defied all logic since they smashed the previous records. Over 66,000 players entered tournaments this year, and a collective $121 million prize pool was offered throughout 58 tournaments.

So what’s the driving force behind the record numbers? Well it’s hard to pinpoint a single thing, but one aspect that certainly helped increase WSOP participation is that many of the online poker pros have been forced to turn to live poker. After all, their livelihood was taken, so they’ve jumped in WSOP tournaments as a means of filling this void.

Moving to a secondary reason, this year may have been more attractive to pros than any other because of the decreased number of amateur prize package winners populating the fields; this in theory would lead to smaller tournaments and a better chance of winning. Of course, the fields turned out to be saturated anyways because of how many people entered the events.

Whatever the case may be, it’s nice to see that the 2011 WSOP has remained popular – even after the events of Black Friday.

WSOP Attendance Record in 2011?

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

2011 was supposed to be the year where WSOP attendance fell dramatically from its record in 2010. After all, the events of Black Friday ensured that many Americans wouldn’t be able to compete for WSOP prize packages through sites like PokerStars, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt. However, a total anomaly has happened this year since WSOP attendance is not only doing well, but it’s on pace to set records!

After 29 events, WSOP attendance is 10% higher than it was in 2010, and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. About the only thing that could possibly hinder the attendance from reaching record figures is that less amateurs will have won $10k Main Event prize packages through online sites. However, it’s pure speculation at this point, much like the speculation that attendance figures would be way down.

So just how is the world’s largest poker event even more popular this year? Well one possible reason could be the fact that many US online pros are unable to play at the biggest poker sites, so they’re concentrating their efforts on the 2011 WSOP. This theory is highlighted by a large number of noted online pros, such as Tom Dwan, David Sands and Richard Lyndacker, who are entering as many events as they can this year. In the past, many of these players took a casual approach to the WSOP since they mainly relied on internet games.

Of course, there is also a large international presence at the WSOP, which includes three players from the UK who have won bracelets. Going further with this, Ukraine-born players such as Eugene Katchalov (lives in US) and Oleksii Kovalchuk have also won bracelets.

Whatever the main factor is behind this WSOP attendance surge, it will be fun to see if the record is broken once again in 2011.