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Found 14 results

  1. According to a message posted on the official Full Tilt Poker claims website, the second round of payments issued to former US Full Tilt players totaled $5 million. The distributions were made on April 1 and Garden City Group, the appointed claims administrator in the case, sent 2,200 of them for an average of $2,272 each. The first round of payments was sent on the final day of February to 27,500 claimants and totaled $76 million, which brings the cumulative amount paid back to $81 million. According to Garden City, "On April 1, GCG issued approximately 2,200 payments totaling approximately $5 million to petitioners who timely confirmed their FTP account balances online and who were approved for payment in the first round of distributions, but who needed to correct their banking information. Please note that if any such petitioners did not properly update their bank account information, they will be sent a check to the mailing address on record." When checks will be mailed out is not yet known, although several members of the community have reported receiving them already. The 2014 tax deadline is quickly approaching in the United States and those Full Tilt Poker petitioners who owe money to Uncle Sam will need to pay the piper before receiving any funds. According to Garden City, "If you received a notice because you have a debt qualifying for collection through the Treasury Offset Program, please send your completed Unified Financial Management System Vendor Request Form to GCG as soon as possible." On Two Plus Two, poker players reported that their payments arrived throughout the week, including one who detailed, "I had incorrect banking information which delayed my payment in the first wave. Today, I received a check for my remissions payment." Another poster detailed, "Received money today. Undisputed claim with wrong banking information. I guess it's going to take a few days for all transfers to come in." Late last Month, PocketFives reported that the order of payments to former US Full Tilt customers would be similar to the following: 1. Players with minor banking errors 2. Players with major banking errors 3. Players with disputed balances 4. Full Tilt Poker affiliates and Red Pros Whether that order sticks remains to be seen. We'll keep you posted on the latest Full Tilt remission news right here on PocketFives. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. It's almost the three-year anniversary of Black Friday and, seemingly just in time, more US players are reportedly in line to receive their Full Tilt Poker refunds. This time around, according to the Vice President of Player Relations for the Poker Players Alliance Rich TheEngineerMuny, players with minor banking errors that are now corrected will be paid out. The time frame: around the end of March, which is next week. Muny told PocketFives that players with undisputed petitions that had significant banking omissions are in line to be paid back as well, although potentially not at the end of March. Currently, petitions for these players are being sent to the US Department of Justice for review. Petitions with disputed balances will be sent to the DOJ as well. Petitioners who are tagged as Full Tilt Poker affiliates or Red Pros will follow customers with significant banking omissions and those with disputed balances. The most recent update from Garden City Group, the designated Claims Administrator in the Full Tilt Poker case, came at the end of February. The update followed the first wave of Full Tilt refunds, which were sent to 27,500 players with undisputed balances totaling $76 million. Affiliates had until March 2 to file a petition, while those with banking issues had until March 13. Garden City has not issued a formal update in a month. On Two Plus Two, several posters reported test credits being made to their bank accounts related to Full Tilt at the end of last week, many of whom had undisputed claims with various banking issues. Others in the same situation did not report seeing a test credit, while players with banking errors who called seeking information were told they'd be paid back at the beginning of April. Several posters reported issues with duplicate petitions, but contacted Garden City Group to fix. Anyone with any questions is encouraged to call Garden City Group directly at 866-250-2640. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest Full Tilt Poker news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. According to an update posted on the official claims website for US Full Tilt Poker players, another round of refunds is scheduled for mid-June. This time, Garden City Group, the appointed Claims Administrator in the case, will refund $15 million over 3,500 payments, or an average of $4,300 per claim. Over $80 million has been sent to players thus far, meaning that once the latest round of refunds is accounted for, nearly $100 million will have been paid back to former US Full Tilt customers. As for who will receive money in a few weeks, Garden City Group explained that it's earmarked for "petitioners who submitted complete, timely, or late petitions confirming their FTP account balance. Also included in this round of payments are affiliates who submitted petitions confirming their FTP account balances." Several players included in the former group had "obviously incorrect or incomplete" banking errors that have since been corrected. The first round of paymentswas sent on the final day of February to 27,500 claimants and totaled $76 million, while the second batch of paymentswas issued on April 1 to 2,200 claimants and totaled $5 million. The third set of repayments was originally scheduled for the end of May, although it appears this has been pushed back to mid-June. June's round includes the first set of payments to Full Tilt affiliates, who were potentially going to be left out of the repayment process altogether. Affiliates and others receiving money in mid-June could see a zero-dollar transaction on their bank statement that is related to the Full Tilt Poker claims process. As Garden City Group put it, "Not all banks post these notices during the testing process, so do not be concerned if you do not receive such a notice and believe you are eligible to receive payment in the upcoming distribution." The fates of players with disputed balances and former Full Tilt Poker Red Pros are up in the air. In mid-April, Garden City Group posted, "GCG continues to work with the Department of Justice to evaluate disputed and new petitions, the eligibility of Pros, and timelines for the remainder of the distributions." We'll have more Full Tilt Poker remission news as it develops. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. The Garden City Group, the firm appointed by the Department of Justice to serve as the Claims Administrator for US Full Tilt Poker fund reimbursements, posted a notice on its website, FullTiltPokerClaims.com, that the final deadline for claims is imminent. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- The site read, "Please note that the final deadline for all petitioners - including Affiliates and Pros - to file a Petition for Remission is September 3, 2014. If you previously received an email Notice, please be sure to use the logon credentials provided in the Notice when you begin the Petition process." It continued, "Please be advised that after September 3, the filing portion of this website will no longer be available and Petitions will no longer be accepted. If you have any questions concerning your Petition or how to file, please contact us." The date of September 3 had been invoked previously, in an earlier update on August 4. In that notice, it was announced that all online poker players who were deemed "Professionals" by Full Tilt Poker were finally considered eligible to submit Petitions for Remission. Read the update. With the August 4 update, all professional players, even Red Pros (but still not Team Full Tilt members), are eligible for reimbursement. They may not, however, claim any money paid to them by Full Tilt Poker as part of their arrangement; they can only claim their own deposits and winnings from poker play. It has been a slow, but relatively steady and stable process to get everyone paid back from the fiasco that started on Black Friday more than three years ago. Originally, Garden City was very strict on who could be reimbursed and what funds would qualify for reimbursement. Affiliates had problems, pros had problems, and players who received rakeback had problems. All the while, the Poker Players Alliance kept in constant contact with Garden City Group and the Department of Justice, educating them on how things worked in the online poker world and convincing them to update petition policies so that more former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States could receive their frozen funds. Players with disputed claims, among others, are still awaiting repayment. Anyone who has been deemed eligible to get their money back should have received an email directing them on how to go about retrieving their lost funds. That email is important, as it is not just a simple notice, but it also contains login credentials for the claims website, credentials that are necessary for filing a claim. Once logged in, if the dollar amount from Full Tilt Poker's records looks correct, there is not much more to do. If there is a discrepancy between that figure and the player's records, it is the responsibility of the player to provide evidence of the correct amount. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. According to the most recent update on the official FullTiltPokerClaims.comwebsite, another $2 million will be distributed to 600 US claimants by the end of September. In case you're wondering who will be paid this time around, text found on the site explains that the $2 million is earmarked for those who "confirmed their FTP Account Balances. GCG is currently working with the bank selected by the DOJ to set up the payment process. GCG expects to issue payments via ACH before the end of September 2014." --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- Before payments are issued, Garden City Group, the official Full Tilt Claims Administrator, will be sending out zero-dollar test transactions, so if you see one of these on your bank account statement, don't be alarmed. As GCG pointed out, "Not all banks post these notices during the testing process, so do not be concerned if you do not receive such a notice and believe you are eligible to receive payment in the upcoming distribution." The deadline to file a Full Tilt Poker petition for remission was September 3, meaning that all applications must have been submitted by this point. GCG has removed the online submission form from the Full Tilt Poker claims website and replaced it with a message that reads, "The deadline to file petition for remission has passed. If you have any questions, please contact us." September's distribution will be the first since June, when 3,200 payments totaling $14 million were sent out. Former Full Tilt affiliates who confirmed their account balances were part of that round. Prior to the June distribution, the previous round of payments was sent out in April. The very first US Full Tilt payments went out at the end of February. The status of players with disputed claims remains up in the air, as GCG did not provide any update for players with disputed claims in its most recent announcement. Players who have any questions about the status of their refund are advised to contact GCG at 866-250-2640. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest Full Tilt Poker claims news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. In a notice posted on FullTiltPokerClaims.com, the Garden City Group, the appointed Claims Administrator for US Full Tilt refunds, issued a warning on Monday to petitioners who failed to provide correct social security information. In fact, giving incomplete or incorrect social security information could result in a player's claim being denied. "Petitioners with an incomplete or incorrect Social Security Number will have their petition recommended for denial," the statement read. "As explained in FAQ Number 17 on this website, prior to the payment of funds to a petitioner, GCG is required to provide the petitioner's Social Security or other Taxpayer Identification Number to the government in order to offset and collect any qualifying debts currently listed in the Treasury Offset Program." The Treasury Offset Program was created to collect outstanding debts that US residents owe to federal and state agencies, including back taxes and child support. Players with an incomplete Social Security Number, as well as players with incomplete banking information, were issued e-mails on October 25. A total of 2,200 e-mails were sent out, meaning there were plenty of former US Full Tilt customers with problems that needed to be addressed. Players with banking issues who do not submit corrected information by November 24, or 30 days after the date the e-mails from GCG were sent, will receive a check in the mail. As the FullTiltPokerClaims.com site explained, "Petitioners with incomplete or incorrect banking information will be sent a check to the mailing address provided with their petition, should their petition be approved." Anyone with questions about the status of their application should contact GCG at 866-250-2640 or Info@FullTiltPokerClaims.com. The most recent round of Full Tilt refunds went out at the end of September to 600 claimants. The amount given back was $1.8 million, which went to petitioners "who submitted complete, timely, or late petitions confirming their FTP account balance." According to Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas, players with disputed Full Tilt claims will likely not see any of their money until 2015. According to our original article on the topic from September, Pappas "said that GCG and DOJ still have their hands full with all the claims evaluations, resulting in a slow process. He plans to continue discussions with the DOJ over the coming weeks so he can keep the poker community informed." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest on the Full Tilt remission process. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. According to an email that a member of PocketFives received in recent days, the first payments sent to US players with disputed Full Tilt balances will go out no later than March 2015. How many players will be included in the initial distribution and what kinds of disputed claims will be paid out are not known. The email sent from Garden City Group, the appointed Claims Administrator for Full Tilt, to the member of PocketFives read, "Thank you for your email. GCG is still working with the Department of Justice to evaluate disputed and new petitions. Currently, we do not have an exact timeline for when these petitions will be paid. However, we expect the first distribution for disputed petitioners to occur before the end of March 2015." One of the last updates PocketFives published about players with disputed claims came in September, when we informed the community that these users would likely be separated from their funds until at least 2015, which turned out to be the case. At the time, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas told PocketFives that Garden City Group staff were still bogged down with the claims evaluation process. The last update in general from Garden City Group came in late October, with the organization asking players who provided incomplete or inaccurate banking information to change it by November 24. The last wave of payments sent to "petitioners who submitted complete, timely, or late petitions confirming their FTP account balance" went out in September to 600 recipients. The total money paid back that month was $1.8 million. The filing deadline for all Full Tilt petitions was September 3. Players with disputed balances have been separated from their funds since Black Friday in 2011, almost four years ago. We'll keep you posted on the latest right here on PocketFives. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  8. In a thread on PocketFives, the Poker Players Alliancehas confirmed that the first round of disputed Full Tilt payments for US players "is on track" to be sent by the end of March. PPA Executive Director John Pappas broke the news and relayed, "This will include payments to about 3,500 FTP customers totaling nearly $3 million in remission. The vast majority of these customers (approximately 3,100) are people who confirmed inaccurate information to Garden City, such as a Social Security Number or bank account information." Pappas said that the other 400 recipients of funds are players with disputed balances: "This would likely include people who had a dispute of less than $500 or a dispute that was no greater than 20% of their balance as provided by Garden City… According to my contact, this leaves about 1,200 customers with disputes that will still need review and remediation. A timeline was not provided for this final wave." At the beginning of January, PocketFives broke the newsthat the first wave of disputed claims would be sent by March, which will likely turn out to be the case. March marks 47 months since Full Tilt exited the US market on Black Friday. Then, the Department of Justice called the site a "global Ponzi scheme." The filing deadline for all Full Tilt petitions was September 3. Garden City Group, the appointed Claims Administrator for US Full Tilt funds, has not released an official statement since October. The first round of US remissions was sent in April 2014. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. According to the Poker Players Alliance(PPA), the next wave of Full Tilt Poker refunds for US players will be sent out by the end of August at the latest. This time around, 2,000 petitions totaling $4 million will be distributed. PPA Executive Director John Pappas told PocketFives on Tuesday, "The current pool under review includes 1) some petitioners who disputed their petition based on an incomplete withdrawal that we have subsequently been able to match to FTP data; 2) petitioners who filed without login credentials that have been matched to FTP accounts and either claim the balance on record or fall within the de minimus thresholds previously identified by DOJ; and 3) a very small number of pro players who provided appropriate documentation." Additionally, "some petitioners who confirmed their balances and have subsequently provided updated information to GCG as requested" may be part of this wave. Pappas added that refunds could hit players' bank accounts sooner than the end of August, which is a "very conservative estimate" in the words of the DOJ. The audit for the current wave is complete and Garden City Group (GCG) is awaiting the green light from the DOJ, Southern District of New York, and US Treasury before it can send. GCG, the official Claims Administrator for US Full Tilt funds, has not provided an update since early April, when it said that 80% of Full Tilt petitions have been paid. The most recent round of payments came on March 31 and was the first for players with disputed balances. The first round of payments overall came in March 2014. US players were originally separated from their funds on Black Friday and watched in agony as the site went belly-up, was purchased by PokerStars, and then saw its US funds end up in the hands of the DOJ for a fairly laborious refund process. Visit this PocketFives thread for more details about disputed Full Tilt funds. We'll keep you posted on the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  10. According to Garden City Group, the appointed claims administrator for US Full Tilt Poker refunds, 80% of petitions have been paid back. The most recent round of payments came on March 31 and was the first destined for players with disputed totals. There were 3,100 payments sent totaling $2.5 million. Two more dates are now in sight for those players who are still owed refunds. According to Garden City Group, "If you received a notice that your bank account information is incorrect or incomplete, please update your account information online by April 16. If you received a notice because you have a debt qualifying for collection through the Treasury Offset Program, please send your completed Unified Financial Management System Vendor Request Form to GCG by April 23." Full Tilt left the US market on Black Friday before being found insolvent. In fact, the US Government called it a "global Ponzi scheme." The first round of US payments through Garden City Group came in March 2014, almost three full years after Black Friday, and consisted of 27,500 payments totaling $76 million. Overall, Garden City Group has refunded almost $100 million. Next week marks the four-year anniversary of Black Friday. In addition to Full Tilt, PokerStars, UB, and Absolute Poker also left the market after their founders and associated payment processors were indicted by the DOJ on a variety of charges including money laundering and violating the UIGEA. When the next round of Full Tilt payments will be sent out remains to be seen, as Garden City Group has not issued any further information on its website, FullTiltPokerClaims.com. Anyone with questions about the claims process should call 866-250-2640 or email Info@FullTiltPokerClaims.com. According to Online Poker Report, players who have yet to be paid back include those with disputed balances "over $2,000 or [whose totals] are between $500 and $2000 and the difference between the reported balance and the GCG balance is greater than 20%." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest Full Tilt remission news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  11. The Garden City Group(GCG), the Full Tilt Claims Administrator authorized by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, posted an update on its site on Monday with information about the next round of payments. The key portion of the statement reads: "GCG has been informed that the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section has approved a new round of payments, which will mark the commencement of payments to Petitioners who have disputed their FTP Account Balances. In addition, payments will be made to Petitioners who have confirmed their FTP Account Balances and recently cured deficiencies. In all, the distribution will include approximately 3,500 Petitions totaling approximately $2.8 million." According to the GCG, those who are receiving their funds this month fall into one of two categories: (1) Those who had a disputed funds total of $500 or less or (2) Those who had a total of $501 to $2,000, while at the same time having a gap between the amount listed in Full Tilt's records and the player's records of less than 20%. Everyone else who still has balances in dispute are still having their petitions reviewed. The GCG says that funds should be transferred into players' bank accounts by the end of March, though not everyone will receive the full, approved amount. Some players may owe a debt to the US such as, say, back taxes, and will have their Full Tilt refund amount reduced so that the debt can be collected under the Treasury Offset Program. It has been a long process for former American customers of Full Tilt Poker to receive their funds that were frozen when the Black Friday indictments were unsealed on April 15, 2011. This is the first round of payments destined for players with disputed balances. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  12. [caption width="552"] 1,180 U.S. players and Professionals of the old Full Tilt Poker will be getting refunded soon[/caption] More money from the old Full Tilt Poker, the one that fled the United States on Black Friday and was subsequently found to be insolvent, is headed to former United States-based players and pros. According to FullTiltPokerClaims.com, the website run by Full Tilt claims administrator Garden City Group, 1,180 petitions will be filled as part of a new wave of payments. This group of petitions totals $2.6 million, an average of $2,200 per claim. At least three groups of players will receive their money: payments to petitioners who have confirmed their Full Tilt account balances, petitioners who have disputed their Full Tilt account balances, and petitioners designated by Full Tilt as "Professionals." The last group represents any player who was designated as a "pro" by Full Tilt including Red Pros, Friends of Full Tilt, and other players. The first round of refunds that included Full Tilt Professionals came in the middle of 2015. Initially, sponsored pros of Full Tilt were not scheduled to receive refunds from the U.S. Department of Justice via Garden City Group at all. However, the DOJ changed its tune and allowed Professionals to receive payments related to their online play at Full Tilt only. The same held true for Full Tilt affiliates. "GCG has completed its initial review of all filed petitions and, with this round of payments, we will have paid approximately 94% of those filed," Garden City Group said about the latest round of payments. A date for money to be sent to bank accounts was not given. The first round of payments to former U.S. customers of Full Tilt came in February 2014, over two years ago and almost three years after Black Friday. The last wave of petitions was filled in October and consisted of 1,900 petitions totaling approximately $5.5 million. With that set of payments, 92% of petitions had been filled. Those scheduled to receive funds may notice a $0 transaction on their bank account statement. "[This] relates to the Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration," a statement on Garden City Group's website read. "Please be aware that this is a normal part of the bank testing process in preparation for payment of ACHs. However, not all banks post these notices during the testing process, so do not be concerned if you do not receive such a notice and believe you are eligible to receive payment in the upcoming distribution." Additionally, Garden City Group posted that it is continually contacting players whose petitions are incomplete. Any recipient must respond within 20 days of the date of the email in order for the petition process to move forward. Players who believe they should have been contacted are encouraged to check their spam folders or call Garden City Group at 866-250-2640 or email them at Info@FullTiltPokerClaims.com. U.S. players were separated from their Full Tilt funds on Black Friday in April 2011. The U.S. DOJ indicted the founders of, and payment personnel associated with, PokerStars, Absolute Poker, UB, and Full Tilt. All four sites left the American market almost immediately. Full Tilt closed down later that year after its gaming license was suspended and the U.S. Government subsequently labeled it a "global Ponzi scheme." The parent company of PokerStars at the time, the Rational Group, acquired Full Tilt in 2012. At the same time, PokerStars transferred money to the DOJ to repay former Full Tilt customers. PokerStars admitted no wrongdoing in a deal with the DOJ and forfeited $547 million to authorities over a period of three years. Non-U.S. players were able to receive their funds immediately, while U.S. players have patiently waited multiple years. PokerStars and a re-launched Full Tilt are both now owned and operated by Amaya Gaming.
  13. [caption width="640"] Players with balances on AbsolutePoker and UB can now apply for a refund through the US Department of Justice.[/caption] Just five days before what will be the sixth anniversary of Black Friday, online poker players affected by the shutdown of AbsolutePoker.com and UB.com have gotten good news from the United States Attorney's Office or the Southern District of New York. Beginning immediately, players who had funds on AbsolutePoker.com and UB.com on April 15, 2011, can apply to have their balances refunded to them via AbsolutePokerClaims.com. The US Department of Justice has again contracted Garden City Group to handle all applications and payments. In a press release from the DOJ issued Monday afternoon, Joon H. Kim, who is the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York following the resignation of Preet Bharara, announced the compensation program. "Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has retained the Garden City Group (“GCG”) to oversee a process for compensating eligible victims of a fraud committed by Absolute Poker against United States players who were unable to withdraw funds from Absolute Poker following the Office’s filing in 2011 of a civil money laundering and forfeiture action against Absolute Poker and others in United States v. PokerStars, et al. GCG is already overseeing the claims process for eligible victims of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker against United States players, as described in both United States v. PokerStars, et al., and the indictment in the parallel criminal case, United States v. Bitar, et. al. To date, approximately $118 million has been paid to Full Tilt Poker fraud victims through that process. The process is nearly identical to the one used by the GCG to refund players with Full Tilt Poker balances. That process, which is "winding down" according to the DOJ, paid out $118,116,918.04 to 44,320 American players. The deadline to apply is June 9, 2017. Past or present employees, company shareholders, company officers or directors or "Professional Poker Players" and affiliates are ineligible. During the Full Tilt remissions process, many FTP pros were denied their initial claim only to have their balances refunded during subsequent rounds of refunds. Players with account balances were contacted via the email on file in their account and can use that information to begin the application process. Players who did not receive the email can begin the process by using their Player ID, last name and the email address on file. Players who agree with the account balance that GCG has on file are not required to submit any further documentation to receive payment. Players who wish to dispute the amount will need to provide supporting documentation such as financial statements for review. Players will not receive any compensation for tournament dollars, step tickets, loyalty points or event dollars on their account. The DOJ went on to compare the business practices of Absolute Poker to those of Full Tilt Poker. "Additionally, the Department of Justice has concluded that players of Absolute Poker who were unable to recover their funds from Absolute Poker are similarly situated to the eligible victims of Full Tilt Poker, in that Absolute Poker, like Full Tilt Poker, did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all of its players," the release stated. The news comes six weeks after AbsolutePoker founder Scott Tom returned to the United States to face Black Friday charges. PocketFives will continue to provide updates on the claims process as more information becomes available.
  14. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Leon Tsoukernik found himself the center of the attention in the high stakes cash game world for all the wrong reasons.[/caption] As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. We'll get things started by looking back at the five biggest off the felt news stories of 2017. #5 - Australian Government Bans Online Poker American poker players know all too well how it feels to have the government step in and take away online poker. In March, the Interactive Gambling Amendment 2016 passed through the Australia Senate and effectively banned online poker Down Under. Over the course of the next six months, PokerStars, 888poker, and partypoker all exited the Australian market, leaving grinders there to play on black market offshore sites, much like most of their American counterparts. There does appear to be some appetite from politicians to regulate online poker or at least carve the game out, but there's no real timeline for either of those options. #4 - The End of the November Nine & Launch of PokerGO A major shift in how poker fans watch the WSOP was announced just a couple of weeks before the 2017 WSOP started. In partnership with ESPN, Poker Central announced they had acquired the global television and digital media rights for the WSOP and would be launching their own subscription-based streaming service, PokerGO. The WSOP Main Event would be broadcast live on a combination of ESPN, ESPN2, and PokerGO, and the final table played out in July, ending the November Nine concept after a ten-year run. While the decision to take the Main Event back to its roots was met with praise from poker fans, one of the major complaints those same fans had was that not all final tables were live streamed, as had been the case in years past when WSOP.com aired them. PokerGO later added the Poker Masters series and brought back Poker After Dark as part of their original programming and signed on the World Poker Tour as part of their streaming coverage. #3 - UB & AbsolutePoker Money Returned to Players Most players who had money on UB.com or AbsolutePoker.com on Black Friday had long given up any hope of getting that money back. So to say the news that the Garden City Group had begun the remissions process for those players was met with delight back in April would be a massive understatement. With little to no fanfare, GCG announced that players could begin filling out the necessary paperwork to potentially get their money back. The process was nearly identical to the one used by GCG to pay Full Tilt Poker players back following the U.S. Department of Justice settlement with PokerStars. Most believe the UB/AP refunds process was only possible because of funds leftover from that settlement after all Full Tilt refunds were processed. #2 - High Stakes Drama: Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Kirk It’s rare that poker fans get any sort of reliable information out of the world of nosebleed cash games. So when Matt Kirk sued Kings Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik after he failed to pay back a $3,000,000 loan Kirk gave him, everybody seemed to salivate over the details contained in the court documents. According to Kirk’s suit, the pair were part of a high stakes game at the Aria Hotel & Casino on May 27 when the other players quit the game. Kirk and Tsoukernik both wanted to keep playing allegedly but Tsoukernik had lost his stake earlier and asked Kirk if he could borrow money to continue playing. Over the next hour or so, Kirk loaned Tsoukernik $3,000,000 and quickly beat him for all of it. According to the court documents, just 15 minutes after the two finished playing, Tsoukernik texted Kirk that he had no intention of paying the debt. In October, the Clark County judge overseeing the case agreed with Tsoukernik that under Nevada law a gaming debt between two individuals is unenforceable and threw out eight of Kirk’s 10 counts. However, Kirk is still suing Tsoukernik for “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.” #1 - Pennsylvania Legalizes Online Poker In late October online poker players in Pennsylvania were willingly watching the live stream coverage of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as HB 271 came up for vote. The bill, which regulated online poker, casino games and daily fantasy sports in the Keystone State passed by a 109-72 vote. Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law just four days later. While there is still no timeline for when players will be able to play legal online poker in Pennsylvania, some observers believe mid-summer to be a best guess. Those same observers point to 888poker, partypoker and PokerStars as likely candidates to be operating within the state. PokerStars applauded the legislation. "We applaud the Pennsylvania Legislature for taking decisive action to legalize online gaming," said Eric Hollreiser, VP of Corporate Communications for PokerStars. "This is common sense legislation that will protect consumers, help close Pennsylvania’s budget gap, and make the state more competitive within the regional gaming industry. The Stars Group looks forward to working with Pennsylvania and its gaming regulators and competing in the future marketplace."
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