Laurent Tapie: 19 Pros Owe Full Tilt Poker $16.5 Million[ return to main articles page ]

By: Dan Katz    [See all articles by Dan Katz]
Published on Feb 7th, 2012
In recent days, PokerStrategy reported that several well-known pros owe Full Tilt Poker sizable sums of money, a situation that if unresolved could potentially kill the deal that would see Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) purchase the assets of the beleaguered site. According to a report from iGamingFrance, GBT Managing Director Laurent Tapie has confirmed that the debt amounts to $16.5 million and is not a bill his company intends to foot itself. There's also a hiccup regarding money allegedly owed to Chris Ferguson.

The original PokerStrategy article quoted GBT attorney Behn Dayanim, who said, "GBT doesn't want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erick Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount."

He continued, "If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn't the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won't end on any one issue, but this is a substantial item."

Following that report, the aforementioned Greenstein spoke up, explaining his side of the story on TwoPlusTwo: "I borrowed $400,000 to play on Full Tilt a few years ago, before PokerStars had high-stakes games. I didn't pay it back, hoping that some people who owed me and had money on Full Tilt would pay me there so I could use that against the debt (I'm only owed about $150,000 now). I have assumed when this case is resolved, the DOJ will allow methods for dealing with debt to FTP."

Greenstein (pictured) went on to say that GBT's attorneys requested that he pay them the money directly, even allowing him to pay in installments or possibly less than the full $400,000 if U.S. players do not end up getting paid back in full.

"I told him that I have never paid less than I owe on any debt and I would rather wait until the DOJ establishes a fund for the U.S. players," Greenstein said. "I don't believe my debt has any impact on the sale to the Tapie group as they have alleged. I was concerned about taking money due to U.S. players and giving it to the Tapie Group because it is understood that the Tapie Group won't be the one paying the U.S. players."

The previously cited iGamingFrance article said that Tapie confirmed that 19 players owe a total of $16.5 million and several of them have already signed agreements to repay the money. He told the site, "The argument of the players who say, 'We will refund if the money goes to the players' is misleading since they know very well that the players will be refunded only if GBT goes all the way with the takeover, and for that to happen, it is necessary that the bulk of money owed by the pros returns to Full Tilt."

While most members of the poker community appreciate Greenstein's openness about what he owes, some side with Tapie, feeling that Greenstein should not wait for the DOJ and should instead repay his debt immediately. Others on TwoPlusTwo sided with Greenstein, saying, for example, "Barry just wants to make sure players get paid and that any money he pays FTP/GBT/DOJ goes to what FTP owes players (U.S. and ROW) and isn't blown on lobsters."

Tapie argued, "The poker community, and particularly that made up of former Full Tilt players waiting to recover their funds, deserves to know the reality of the behavior of some major poker figures who say they are sorry for the situation of Full Tilt players and want to do everything they can to help them get their funds back, blame the old management, but also refrain from saying how much they have borrowed from Full Tilt, and lost, playing on the site."

Tapie added, "When you are a poker player, a great player at that, recognized and admired, the basic rule, it seems to me, is to honor your gambling debts."

Comments

  1. And the skeletons begin to emerge... Kind of sad to hear some of those names. Hopefully we will get to hear the full story from all sides concerned, one day...
     
  2. Interesting how GBT talks so extensively about honoring gambling debts when their financial plans are based around not paying U.S. players back the full amount they are owed...
  3.  
    Originally Posted by zander View Post

    Interesting how GBT talks so extensively about honoring gambling debts when their financial plans are based around not paying U.S. players back the full amount they are owed...

    indeed
  4. Have I been in a cave? This is the first I've heard about GBT not paying back to U.S. players the full amount owed to them. WTF? I would play on FTP again if were paid back in full. If not paid back in full I will not play on FTP again ever. If I never get paid back there will be repercussions. If someone in town owed me what I consider to be a decent amount of money I would not just peaceably walk on by and not say or do anything. To me gambling debts are more important to pay than say credit card debts or what not. If you gamble you MUST be willing pay what you lose. Otherwise, what's the fucking gamble. And if I win, I fully expect to be paid or Biff and Rocco will help you find your check book!!!
  5. I really dont see how Greenstein holding out on paying his debt is a good thing for anyone but Greenstein. Either he and the others pay it back and FT players have a better chance of one day getting paid, or GBT backs out on the takeover and we most likely never get our money.
  6.  
    Originally Posted by PlantVsZombie View Post

    I really dont see how Greenstein holding out on paying his debt is a good thing for anyone but Greenstein. Either he and the others pay it back and FT players have a better chance of one day getting paid, or GBT backs out on the takeover and we most likely never get our money.


    I really do try not to badger people......but are you an idiot? Greenstein has every Right to NOT pay the money directly to GBT or FTP. Talk about a gamble. Once they have the money then they decide what to do with it? Have you not been paying attention?

    I find all of this so stupid as its so simple. Set up a trust fund, held by an OUTSIDE attorney. When the DOJ finalizes their findings then the money is distributed to the US players at whatever the percentage comes out to be.

    By the way. I still feel they are the Department of Jackasses but I would apologize to them.....after all, they were right about FTP, stars on the other hand should just be left alone as the DOJ created the situation for the shenanigans anyhow.
  7. Aren't players owed ~400mm? Quit stalling over 4%
  8. interesting
     
  9.  
    Originally Posted by pocketfish View Post

    Aren't players owed ~400mm? Quit stalling over 4%

    I think this is spot on. GBT seems to be going on a press tour lately stating they won't flip the bill for the 19 mill that some high profile players owe. Pretty sure they're just using the media and the possibility of negative public opinion to pressure some of these pros to pay up. This deal, in the long run, will net the new company 100s of millions. They know the value of online poker now and in the future. I can't fathom they let this be a deal-breaker.
     
  10. so barry gives all his poker winnings to charity but borrows money from FTP? this behooves me.
     
  11.  
    Originally Posted by clemsonrich View Post

    so barry gives all his poker winnings to charity but borrows money from FTP? this behooves me.

    yeah i know....

    i can understand why he won't give it back yet though. that seems smart.
  12.  
    Originally Posted by clemsonrich View Post

    so barry gives all his poker winnings to charity but borrows money from FTP? this behooves me.

    pretty sure he borrowed money because its probably hard to get a 400k deposite onto the site.
  13.  
    Originally Posted by Boofer View Post

    Have I been in a cave? This is the first I've heard about GBT not paying back to U.S. players the full amount owed to them. WTF? I would play on FTP again if were paid back in full. If not paid back in full I will not play on FTP again ever. If I never get paid back there will be repercussions. If someone in town owed me what I consider to be a decent amount of money I would not just peaceably walk on by and not say or do anything. To me gambling debts are more important to pay than say credit card debts or what not. If you gamble you MUST be willing pay what you lose. Otherwise, what's the fucking gamble. And if I win, I fully expect to be paid or Biff and Rocco will help you find your check book!!!

    Edited By: McBain74 Feb 8th, 2012 at 04:12 AM
     
  14. I don't know who is right or not.But i know that the poker players mentioned will take the best possible decisions for them... don't expect -EV decisions... (And value is not only money)
  15. Has anything been said about *when* FTP returns which pro's will stay red pro's on the site? Will it even be called Full Tilt Poker anymore?And $400k isnt that much for Greenstein. He should risk it and just publicly hand the money over to GBT and then maybe other pro's will follow suit to get this fucking ball rolling again.
     
  16. The DOJ are paying back US players and GBT are paying back ROW players. Yes, you live in a cave
  17.  
    Originally Posted by sssssssivarT View Post

    pretty sure he borrowed money because its probably hard to get a 400k deposite onto the site.


    this. as far as i can tell barry is always completely honest and trust worthy in these matters, what he says makes sense and i tend to trust his opinion. i would be thankful hes involved guys, i would wager 2-1 that the money he owes will be sent to the people who need it most to the best of his ability.
     
  18.  
    Originally Posted by clemsonrich View Post

    so barry gives all his poker winnings to charity but borrows money from FTP? this behooves me.


    I believe he gives only his tournament winnings to charity.

    So what happens when Barry pays this debt and the deal falls through for some other reason. We are all SOL at that point, and Barry/other "pros" who owe will have handed over what little leverage was had to get players paid back… in full.
  19.  
    Originally Posted by clemsonrich View Post

    so barry gives all his poker winnings to charity but borrows money from FTP? this behooves me.


    greenstein is the one dude i believe .Obvious it was known that money is ez to borrow on ftp ,seems like an easy deposit to me,not one of us here would decline borrowing 400k on the spot.



    but what this really seems like is that GBT knows they can use this we aren't gonna purchase shit, threat ,unless they pay up, GBT is taking advantage of a touchy situation and found a form of blackmail, GBT seems shady as well and gl getting that site to ever come close to what it once was

    i think its crazy that this much money is owed ,just goes to show you why ftp had all these signed players ,money was free and plenty,and this was all at the reg. players expense

    the pyramid accusation seems dead on to me, all the guys at the top got the scrilla and they kikd out huge loans to there buddies
     1
  20. Barry should put 400k on a bank account right now and let it make some interest even.Then he should get some lawyers to make the money payable to those that are owned by Fulltilt when the deal is finalized and money is getting paid. Thus he could wash his hands from this situation while still being able to say he is looking after the benefit of the players.
 
Page 1 of 21 2

Return to Articles

Quick Navigation