Posts Tagged ‘Chris Ferguson’

Daniel Negreanu determines who should be banned from WSOP

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

daniel-negreanu-millionaire-matchmakerLike it or not, as long as somebody has the buy-in money, they’re eligible to play in the WSOP. So no matter how douchey, annoying or scammerish they are, anybody can step into the Rio and compete for bracelets.

But is it time for a change in regard to banning certain players? Daniel Negreanu recently pondered this since he’s heard rumors that some villainous and unloved poker figures could be playing in the 2015 WSOP.

Through a CardPlayer post, Negreanu discussed a variety of cheaters, bad businessmen and those whom he’s loathed for years. Interestingly enough, Annie Duke, who’s drawn the ire of KidPoker since they first crossed paths in Vegas, was cleared to play, despite the guaranteed $1 million freeroll fiasco during her reign as Epic Poker League Commissioner.

Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson are also okay to play in Negreanu’s eyes. This is an interesting notion because, unlike Duke, where there’s probably no chance in hell that she’ll play the 2015 WSOP, there are actually rumors that Lederer and Ferguson might show up. And it’s hard to understand Negreanu’s logic on why Ferguson specifically should be allowed in, given that he “completely disappeared” following Black Friday. Like avoiding the mess that you directly helped create, and encouraging players to keep depositing on your corrupt poker site, is somehow less-morally reprehensible than cheating in poker.

This leads me to the next point, in that known cheaters Russ Hamilton and Mansour Matloubi are the only players whom Negreanu thinks should be banned from the 2015 WSOP. They both used God mode poker accounts, giving them the ability to see other players’ hole cards, which is pretty much the lowest of the low in poker. So if you’re going to ban anybody, yes, these two deserve it first.

Also, it is easy to see a distinction between what Hamilton/Matloubi and Ferguson/Lederer did since the latter two are mainly guilty of gross negligence regarding the management of Full Tilt. Furthermore, they also aren’t candidates to cheat in poker, unlike Matloubi and Hamilton (rumored to cheat live too). But on the same token, if you’re going to issue WSOP bans for morally corrupt poker figures, there should be some non-cheater exceptions for guys like Ferguson and Lederer.

Full Tilt Poker Auction – $3.5m Worth of Merchandise for Sale

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Remember those old Full Tilt Poker hockey-style jerseys and baseball hats that you could trade rewards points in for prior to Black Friday? Well, Full Tilt never quite got rid of all this stuff before Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer drove the company into the ground. And now, there’s going to be a massive $3,500,000 auction to sell everything off from the old Full Tilt days.

J. Sugarman Auction Corp is the one running the auction, which is set to take place on August 2nd at 11:00am PST. There’s also a live venue in San Dimas, California that you can visit to bid on items in person. And if you don’t make the live or online auction right at 11, don’t worry because J. Sugarman reps state that these events are normally 2-3 hours long.

Of course, that’s if no crazed Full Tilt fanboy comes in and buys everything at once. We don’t foresee this happening, but J. Sugarman did mention that the merchandise will be auctioned off by demand. So if you’re hunting for a Full Tilt golf bag, don’t be surprised if they’re all snatched up.

Assuming you check out the link above, you’ll notice that there’s an abundance of clothing items like t-shirts, polo’s, jerseys, coats and more. In all, there are over 200,000 items up for sale in 28 different categories. Some of the non-clothing items that you can bid for include chip sets, footballs, mouse pads, pens, poker books and umbrellas. Given the massive variety here, we’re surprised that Lederer and Ferguson never started giving out Full Tilt toilet paper, cooking spray and contact solution.

Anyways, it’ll be interested to see how the auction goes and how much of this stuff actually goes.

Poker Ban called for Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Earlier this month, well-known poker journalist Diamond Flush stated that Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Howard Lederer are contemplating a return to the 2014 WSOP. Obviously this is controversial and something that would stir up a lot of emotions in the Rio this summer. So before that happens, one writer thinks a ban should be put on Ferguson and Lederer.

Lee Davy wrote an interesting piece on these two pariahs that suggests barring them from WSOP events, much like David Diaz (drunken behavior last summer) and Chan Pelton (stealing chip in WSOP Circuit event) have been.

One person whom Davy spoke extensively to about all of this is “The Voice of Poker,” Jesse May. Here’s one excerpt of what May told Davy:

On the issue of forgiveness. I am a very forgiving person and will forgive anyone. But Ferguson has said nothing about the Full Tilt issue and Lederer has denied any wrongdoing – so how can you forgive either of them if they don’t admit to doing anything wrong?

Where I come from – my gambling background – honesty and trust is a big thing, and I think personally, because I have been around for a long time, that there was a sort of unspoken agreement about Full Tilt that made it different.

That one of the things about them was they represented a certain ethic, an openness and a certain class of people in poker who stood for something.

I feel very disappointed personally about what happened, and as far as the poker world goes they both fell from grace fairly spectacularly and I don’t have the time of day for either of them.

Despite May’s feelings of distrust towards Lederer and Ferguson, he thinks they should be allowed to play in the 2014 WSOP if they want to. However, Davy concludes his piece by disagreeing, arguing that just the sheer appearance of these two could cause physical violence and a host of other negative emotions.

Maybe Davy is going a little too far in suggesting that somebody is likely to punch Ferguson or Lederer for their roles in Black Friday. But then again, these two did illicit some scumbag behavior while running Full Tilt. And like Davy argues, they basically damaged every brand in poker. So a lifetime ban from the WSOP and beyond certainly isn’t out of line.

Chris Ferguson nearing Deal over Black Friday Case

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The past few months have seen former Full Tilt Poker board members Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer work out settlements with the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. Both guys forked over millions of dollars in assets, but were able to avoid jail time by doing so. Fellow board member Chris Ferguson is in the process of trying to do the same thing.

He’s been in meetings with the US Attorney’s Office for the past few weeks to hammer out a deal. As we reported in an article about Lederer, a $42 million civil suit was brought against Ferguson. And the US Attorney’s Office of SDNY meetings are all about deciding how much of this amount he should pay.

Lederer was facing a similar $42.5 million suit, which he settled by paying fines and forfeiting property. By the end of the deal, Lederer had given up around $2.5 million in total assets. Ferguson will no doubt be hoping for the same kind of “leniency” when his case is finally decided on February 19th, 2013.

The case was actually supposed to be decided much sooner than this. However, US Attorney Preet Bharara asked the case’s judge for another few weeks after Ferguson filed for a motion to dismiss the civil suit. Obviously he won’t get this motion granted, but the court appears to be willing to work with him on the deal.

Chris Ferguson was once a feared poker player who was known more for his poker ability than Full Tilt ownership. His biggest tournament victory came in the 2000 WSOP Main Event, where he scooped a $1.5 million prize. Overall, he’s earned five WSOP gold bracelets along with $8,281,927 in tournament winnings. However, most of this money came prior to 2011, when he largely stopped playing live poker.

Howard Lederer blew Millions on Cars and Homes

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Howard Lederer is no doubt one of the most hated men in the poker world – and for good reason. Along with several other former Full Tilt Poker bosses, Lederer pillaged millions of dollars from player accounts and was a huge reason why FTP couldn’t pay back its members post-Black Friday. So if you couldn’t stand “The Professor” now, you’re really going to hate him after hearing where the money went.

According to an amended civil suit brought by the US Department of Justice, Lederer spent much of the $44 million he allegedly had access to on exotic cars and multi-million dollar properties. So those who’ve been waiting on their $10,000 bankroll can take comfort in knowing that their money went to a good cause.

Getting further into the details on Lederer’s purchases, he bought the following cars over the past few years: 2008 Maserati GranTurismo, 2008 Audi Q7, 2009 Audi A8, 2012 Audi A8-L and a 1965 Shelby Cobra. Being the bargain hunter that he is, Lederer traded in the Maserati when buying the 2012 Audi and made several expensive repairs to the Shelby Cobra.

As for his properties, the once-reputable poker pro paid $3 million to the Merlin Contracting & Development company to build his primary residence. Lederer gave another $7 million to various companies for additional work and upgrades to the Las Vegas mansion. As if this isn’t enough, he also owned six other pieces of pricey real estate.

Taking all of the ill-gotten assets into account, it’s no wonder why the US Department of Justice is seeking $42.5 million in retribution in their civil suit. Based on this high amount, it seems likely that Lederer would be cleaned out if he loses the civil suit. Other Full Tilt figures who might be paying up include Chris Ferguson ($42 million), Ray Bitar ($41m) and Rafael Furst ($12m).

Mike Matusow thinks WSOP Tournament Buy-ins should be Dramatically Lowered

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Mike Matusow says a lot of things, which means that not everything coming out of his mouth is in anywhere, shape or form newsworthy. However, he did recently make a good point about how WPT and WSOP tournament buy-ins should be lowered so more live players can make a living. “The Mouth” discussed this in a recent interview by saying the following:

I’m not a big fan of traveling the circuit. Unless they bring the buy ins down to around $3,000 now, everybody is going to go broke. I think all the WPTs and all the WSOPC events should be like $3,000 and they should cut the rake in half. People are hurting. If you’re going to play a $10,000 tournament once a month, it’s impossible to survive. That’s why you don’t see me.

It costs like $700k a year to play all the big tournaments. That’s about one second place finish. Do you have any idea how hard it is to win second place every year? You’re playing the best players in the world.

Matusow went on to say that he doesn’t think the poker world can sustain itself without the big sponsorship deals coming from sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. He specifically pointed out that the WSOP has to “start giving back” because times are rougher right now.

The Mouth also talked about the Full Tilt Poker situation a little, and he basically backed Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson up by saying, ”

I still believe Howard is not a criminal. Chris is not a criminal. I know they would never steal from anybody. They made mistakes. When they had no money they needed to sell right away. They had offers but they wanted to be greedy about it and keep control. They lost the offers. They put themselves in this position.

As evidenced by his nickname, Matusow has always been known as a loudmouth. However, with 18 years of experience in the poker world, he does have some good insight into the current state of the game. And it’d certainly be nice if the WSOP took his advice about cutting tournament rake in half!

Daniel Negreanu rants on Full Tilt Poker

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

To those who follow Daniel Negreanu, it’s pretty clear that he hates two things in life: 1) the Lederer family, and 2) Full Tilt Poker. And lately, Negreanu has been ranting on both of these subjects in-depth through some recent video blogs that he has released.

Now the whole point of the video blogs isn’t to bash Full Tilt Poker because Negreanu also discussed his trip to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the recent LAPT event. However, the videos have gained the most attention for what Negreanu has to say about FTP and the former owners.

In the first blog, which was entitled “VBlog with some Real Talk,” much of the blog was centered on how Jason Somerville came out and said that he was gay. The Canadian was a big supporter of Somerville coming out, and said that he was proud of the New Yorker for admitting he was gay.

Moving on to Full Tilt Poker subject, KidPoker backed up earlier comments he had made about how somebody should take a baseball bat to Howard Lederer’s testicles. Negreanu continued his rant on the former FTP owner by saying that he and the other owners were “scumbags” for not speaking at all about the situation. He finished by saying that Lederer hides out like a “shameful little weasel,” and Full Tilt knew they had no money, yet still took player deposits.

The following week’s video blog contained some more rants on Howard Lederer as well as Chris Ferguson. Negreanu also talked about how Doyle Brunson made a mistake in defending these two in a recent blog post. He went as far as to relate Brunson’s post to the time when Barry Greenstein defended Russ Hamilton after the UB mess.

In any case, it’s nice to have a high-profile pro like Daniel Negreanu ranting against guys like Lederer and Ferguson because of how badly their company mismanaged player funds. Now that we’ve covered all of this, you can see the video blogs below.

Full Tilt Poker seeking US Online Poker License

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Proving that anything is possible, Full Tilt Poker reportedly has a very good chance to get a US online poker license if the game is ever legalized and regulated in America.

Full Tilt’s lawyer Jeff Ifrah came out with this news after his dealings with Groupe Bernard Tapie and the US Department of Justice. He said that, in addition to the $80 million deal between GBT and the US DOJ, there is also a very good chance for Full Tilt Poker to be accepted for a US online poker license if America does pass favorable legislation within the next year or so.

Right now, Groupe Bernard Tapie and Full Tilt Poker are in the process of finalizing the aforementioned $80 million deal. As part of the deal, GBT will pay back the $300 million-plus that non-US online poker players are owed from Full Tilt, while the US DOJ will pay the estimated $160 million that Americans have wrapped up in the site.

For the time being, there’s no word on what will become of the current Full Tilt board members such as Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar and Howard Lederer. This trio, along with other higher-ups at FTP, are blamed for players not being able to cash out money after the US DOJ came down on Full Tilt; they took too money from the player deposits for themselves, and didn’t leave nearly enough to cover cashouts.

This being said, it’s interesting that Full Tilt Poker would still be considered for licensing within the US. After all, many online poker players were inconvenienced by this dilemma because some of them had thousands or even millions stuck on FTP. Hopefully though, the Groupe Bernard Tapie deal can bring an end to this whole mess.

NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship Cancelled

Friday, October 14th, 2011

The effects of Black Friday (April 15th) continue to linger today after the National Heads-Up Poker Championship was recently cancelled by NBC. Adam Freifeld, who is the NBC Sports Senior Director of Communications, announced the sad news when he said the network wanted to, “continue to evaluate our poker programming.”

The 64-player poker tournament had ran since 2005, and saw both poker pros and celebrities face-off in heads-up matches. Popular pro Erik Seidel won the 2011 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which appears to be the last event – at least for now. Of course, Freifeld’s wording does make it seem like the Heads-Up Championship could come back beyond 2012.

But before this happens, there will need to be some major sponsors because both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker kept this event going. These were the two largest online poker rooms in the business for a while, and their millions of dollars in advertising revenue helped keep the Heads-Up Championship afloat. In addition to this, they also paid the buy-ins for many of the sponsored pros.

However, it’s obvious that Full Tilt Poker won’t be pumping any more advertising money or buy-in fees into the tournament since they are losing a fight for their very existence. And last we checked, the Groupe Bernard Tapie rumored acquisition is only going to be a minority ownership deal – if it even amounts to anything.

As for PokerStars, they’re doing quite well, but they no longer cater to American players. That said, there’s no reason to sponsor the National Heads-Up Championship because NBC is based in the United States. And while the TV show drew a considerable amount of viewers from outside the states, the number isn’t high enough to justify keeping the show on air.

Full Tilt Poker the Ponzi Scheme

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Those of you who thought that Full Tilt Poker had even the slimmest chance of surviving the loss of their gaming license and the US DoJ actions may want to rethink your position. Major news outlets throughout the world have been reporting that Full Tilt Poker is being labeled a Ponzi scheme by the New York US Attorney’s Office.

Having any involvement at all with a Ponzi scheme definitely doesn’t bode well for the poker site when looking back through history. The best case of a Ponzi scheme architect having the book thrown at him is Bernie Madoff, who is serving 150 years in prison for his role in what is believed to be the largest Ponzi scheme ever.

As for Full Tilt Poker, the implications of their case may not deal with the tens of billions that Madoff’s situation did, but it’s still bad nonetheless. After all, top personnel at Full Tilt like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson are said to have taken a combined $440 million from Full Tilt Poker accounts. And this money wasn’t profits either, but rather cash coming directly from players’ accounts.

Now Full Tilt has already made the argument that they’re not a Ponzi scheme because this would imply that they lied to investors (players) about amazing returns that they’d be receiving; in reality, Full Tilt Poker only advertises and markets their site to encourage people to sign up and deposit. But on the other hand, you can’t exactly say that Full Tilt is free and clear of the Ponzi scheme label since they never disclosed to players that their deposits weren’t entirely backed.

All in all, this is merely shaping up to be a civil suit brought on by the US Attorney’s Office to recover lost players’ funds. However, it’s very likely that in the future, we could be seeing some major legal action against the top people at Full Tilt Poker.