Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bitar’

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.

Ray Bitar avoids Jail Time – A Travesty or Humanity?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Disgraced Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar finally had his day in court, and he got about as light of a punishment as he could’ve hoped for. Bitar was credited with “time served” before sentencing and won’t have to do any more jail time. The reason why is because he needs a heart transplant and would likely die behind bars. The kicker is that he’ll have to forfeit $40 million worth of assets, which isn’t that much of a kicker when you consider what he did.

Not long after Bitar was indicted by the US Department of Justice on various felony charges, Full Tilt eventually lost its license along with $330 million worth of player deposits. It was later revealed that he used funds from Full Tilt player accounts to pay himself and other board members. He also misled new players into thinking that their money was kept separate from FTP’s payroll and expense accounts.

Considering that Ray Bitar earned well over $40 million during his time at FTP, it’s pretty clear that $40 million in asset forfeiture and a little time served in jail is a sweet deal. In fact, most would say that justice wasn’t served at all in this matter.

Millions of professional players who trusted Full Tilt with money had their lives rocked. Some pros were forced out of the game altogether when their bankroll essentially vanished on FTP. All the while, Bitar was lining his pockets with money, even though he knew the risks associated with running a US-friendly online poker site.

Obviously what he did was immoral and affected a lot of people’s lives. So most would rather take the risk of him dying in jail over letting him get away with a less than satisfactory punishment. On the other hand, if Bitar’s heart condition is as bad as he claims, it seems like he’s suffering enough already. Fretting about what would happen to him all these months definitely took a toll on the obese man.

So has justice been served in this matter? The truth is that there’s no clear answer, but just know that Bitar didn’t get out of this matter totally unscathed.

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.

What the Lederer Files have taught us about Howard

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Howard Lederer is currently in the process of doing a big interview with PokerNews that centers on his involvement in Full Tilt Poker’s demise. The seven-hour interview is called “The Lederer Files,” and it’s supposed to give Howard an opportunity to explain his actions. But with The Lederer Files over halfway finished, all we’ve gotten so far are the ramblings and accusations of a sociopath.

Rather than accept responsibility for his actions, Howard chose to deflect blame on others such as Ray Bitar. He said that Bitar was severely underqualified to serve as Full Tilt’s CEO and too incompetent as well.

Lederer also took aim at Phil Ivey by saying his lawsuit ruined any chance to sell FTP. Howard’s exact quote was, “He wasn’t speaking out for anybody except himself. He had a moral obligation to the poker community to do everything he could to, at the very least, not damage the company he had greatly profited from – the lawsuit was absurd.”

The onslaught of blame didn’t end here though because Lederer also brought all of the poker pros who took loans from FTP into the matter. He specifically identified Ivey, John Juanda and Erick Lindgren by saying that these players were unwilling to pay millions in loans back to Full Tilt. He said, “We got a lot of resistance. As of the end of May 2011, the only member who paid back what he owed the company was me. I owed the company $700,000 and I paid it in late May.”

What a surprise that Lederer would take this opportunity to say that only he repaid the loan. Of course, it’s a lot easier to do so when you’ve taken well over $40 million from the site – much of which came from player deposits. This being said, it’s no wonder why the US government wants around $40 million back from Howard through a civil suit.

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).

Daniel Negreanu talks Full Tilt Poker, Erick Lindgren

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Daniel Negreanu came out with yet another interesting interview as he discussed several subjects including Full Tilt Poker (again), Annie Duke, Erick Lindgren being broke, and a rumor that Layne Flack owes him money. First on the itinerary was how Negreanu thinks that it’s wrong how so many scumbags in the poker industry can keep screwing up, yet get high-profile jobs.

He cited Annie Duke as an example by saying that she represented UB Poker, and when they went down in scandal, she got a commissioner job with the Epic Poker League. This is sure to keep up the long-running feud that he’s had with Duke over the years.

Moving along, KidPoker also dropped the bombshell that he highly doubts former Full Tilt Poker players will be paid. Furthermore, he says that players need to forget about their money because Bernard Tapie is not going to complete the much-discussed FTP deal. Instead, he thinks that Tapie is just trying to make excuses for why the deal can’t be completed, such as Full Tilt pros owing the site money.

Another hot topic that was brought up was the subject of Erick Lindgren being broke. Negreanu stayed away from bashing Lindgren too hard, and chose to focus on how players who can’t pay back debts aren’t necessarily bad people – especially if they borrow with the intent to pay back the cash. During this discussion, the interviewer brought up a rumor about Layne Flack owing Daniel Negreanu money, which KidPoker chose to ignore.

One final point worth mentioning here is that Negreanu doesn’t think publicly outing those who owe money is productive. Instead, he believes that this makes it harder for the debtor to get the necessary money needed to pay others back. You can listen to the whole interview here.

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.