have been in Las Vegas for awhile now. I came in to take a crack at the WPT World Championship at Bellagio, made it through day 2 and then out on day 3. And I’m here to work, it’s the life of The G, work out with my trainer, play a little poker, go back to work. I love it!
I recently did an interview on ESPN’s podcast, the Poker Edge, with Gary Wise and Andrew Feldman about Black Friday. If you haven’t listened to it, you should because I serve the online poker community and I’m concerned about the silence that is running through Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker for the players that are waiting for a scrap of news.
The whole poker universe is a bit on the downside since the indictments were served on the Big Three. It was just over a month ago and not much has been resolved in player payouts with Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker/UB. PokerStars has taken care of their players, that speaks volumes in helping settle the issues with the DOJ and internet poker in general. I am involved in trying to work through it with some of the top level people at Full Tilt. And I am involved because it affects my business at PokerNews and my lifestyle in poker. We need to move forward with a positive sign to clear the rubble from the past and start building online poker into a safe, regulated system for everyone that wants to play.
I have been very outspoken about player payouts and I believe it’s coming down to a big decision that must be made soon. But there is good news, I can’t elaborate too much but I have information that leads me to understand the FTP teams’ personal assets are on the line and they will liquidate to pay the players if need be. Since more talk or pressure won’t make things happen any faster, I am asking everyone to give Full Tilt Poker two weeks of grace to sort this out. Follow my poker tweets <http://www.pokernews.com/twitter/TonyGuoga/> for the unedited version of what’s going on in the mind of The G and updates with Full Tilt and the online poker world. Follow me on Twitter for more updates: @TonyGuoga
Along with work and working out, I’ve been searching for worthy opponents to play heads-up poker with while I’m in the desert. I’m not looking for a nit, I’m looking for action and someone that wants to rumble on the felt with The G. Find me at The Wynn, just look around for Steve Wynn’s German Shepherds and the guy that’s trying to outrun them on the golf course, that’s me.
While I’m in Vegas I won’t make it to the Sunday Bike Ride at Party Poker, but I will return soon, with a bunch of bikes for those of you that want to try to bust me out of the action.
It’s been a great day in Las Vegas, the sun is out, the weather is comfortable and perfect for a bike ride – now if I could just find someone to send down the road it would be even better! My mood and attitude about the gloom surrounding Black Friday is starting to climb out of the hole it was buried in for the last two weeks. We can get around all of this. Online poker isn’t going away. Maybe this whole attack by the DOJ will finally make people realize they have to fight back if they want freedom in their own home.
The cash out status for Full Tilt Poker is improving and it seems things are getting much better. I feel really confident about players in the USA getting their money back soon. I’ve heard some really good chatter today and I know the whole team is working hard to get the player’s money into the USA. The players in Australia have been able to cash out with no problem and so have many other countries so there is no doubt that today there is real stability. I feel good about all of it, just from hearing the news.
PokerStars has paid most U.S. players by now and they are running poker around the clock as usual. That’s a very good sign for online poker.
On the player’s money being safe and coming back to them, I believe Absolute Poker is dead. PokerStars is 100% safe. Full Tilt Poker is 90% safe. That’s my opinion only and you shouldn’t take book on it. I hope that all online poker sites honor the player’s trust and investments of time and money by returning all funds as soon as possible.
I’ve heard some rumors running around the world of poker chatter and there is some huge news coming about Full Tilt but right now it is chatter and I can’t talk about it. I really like to know things I can’t talk about; it’s a game of its own, and I love games.
But on the lighter side, I am at the Wynn enjoying Steve Wynn’s hospitality and staying one step ahead of his German shepherds this time. I played a freeroll Baccarat tourney yesterday and was first out. I’m playing again tonight in the second chance, there’s $1M up for grabs and Johnny Chan is fighting to win too. After the tourney I’m off to the gym with my personal trainer Paul.
I caught a flight from Orlando to Vegas and touched down in Vegas late last night. Sin City is the usual for me, I’m here and ready to work. I like to play, but work is what keeps me moving across the globe and I’m on it today too. Black Friday has put the damper on posting and trying to remain upbeat about online poker when the US players aren’t able to play. Everyone is waiting to see what happens next. I don’t think it’s going to turn into a quick, happy ending because no one has ever won against the DOJ.
Next week is crunch week for Full Tilt Poker. They have to get some of the money out to people that has been frozen in accounts since the 15th of April. If players start to see their funds coming home, I think all will be fine and stable. I really feel for everyone involved. I think the key person at Full Tilt Poker is Nelson Burtnick since it appears he had the keys to the vault and the pin codes so he is the guy that could tell everyone where all the cookies are.
When you compare the two online poker sites, Full Tilt and PokerStars, there should be no difference with how the money is held. All the players’ money should be in a separate account. PokerStars has been able to come back to the players with a payment resolution already and Full Tilt should be able to do the same thing – that is unless Nelson had a crack with the cash. That is pure speculation on my part, I have no evidence, but Nelson should speak up and initiate a release and everyone will relax a little bit. It’s now become a situation where the time to make a statement is now and loyal supporters need to see action, waiting doesn’t help anything.
No matter how they do it, they have got to get the player’s accounts paid back to the player’s bank accounts. Luckily the owners have lots of personal assets and Durrrr and his mate are kind by offering $1Million. If all of the Full Tilt Poker Team could chip in with $1M each to start with, that would really help ease the tension. I feel that team FTP needs to step up right now and guarantee player funds with their own personal wealth.
I’m sure the DOJ is willing to help get the money back to players so if the money is there, it should be coming your way soon if you have an account at Full Tilt Poker.
I’ve reached out to the top owners at Full Tilt and while I don’t have the solution to any of it, I am here to help in any way I can. I’m waiting and hoping like everyone else, hoping the next move is a positive step for online poker everywhere.