Pokerstars Re-Entering US via New Jersey

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pokerstars to re-enter new jersey marketResorts Casino Hotel and The Rational Group, operator of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, have come to an agreement to provide online poker to the residents of New Jersey, the companies announced today. The agreement links the first casino to open in Atlantic City with the biggest online poker company in the world. “This is another blue chip partner for Resorts to complete a wonderful series of brands – Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and now PokerStars,” said Morris Bailey, Resorts’ Company Chairman.

“Resorts is a fantastic partner for us and we are looking forward to launch PokerStars in the U.S. in association with the other quality brands Resorts has brought to Atlantic City,” said Mark Scheinberg, CEO of The Rational Group. “We are very happy to invest in New Jersey and we are excited about building a successful relationship with Resorts.” The agreement is pending approval by the New Jersey regulatory authorities.

Many online poker players have been hitting the poker forums and expressing their desire to now move to New Jersey. No word yet on whether Full Tilt Poker which is also owned and operated by The Rational Group will also be opening up to NJ poker players.

PokerStars Finalizes Deal to buy Full Tilt Poker

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PokerstarsReliable sources have informed Holdem Poker Chat that PokerStars has finalized a deal with The Department of Justice to take over the assets of Full Tilt Poker.  Details  remain elusive but the happy news for poker players is that any deal with the DoJ always had to include the return of funds stuck on the defunct Full Tilt Poker.

The waiting game has begun, but we have never been this close to players getting paid, and at long last there is real hope. To quote Sir Winston Churchill:  “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

UPDATE: It’s now official

And the New Full Tilt Poker Owner Will Be….Poker Stars???

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Yes, you read right. It appears the the Bernard Tapie Group’s efforts to buy beleaguered poker site Full Tilt Poker fell through leaving FTP without a potential buyer. That is, until Poker Stars stepped up to the plate.

According a story in Reuters, and pretty much every major media under the sun, and based on information acquired from an unidentified source, Poker Stars is currently in talks to purchase Full Tilt Poker where the Groupe Bernard Tapie had failed.

The deal under discussion is for PokerStars to buy up its former rival’s assets, according to the person. It would constitute a portion of a larger settlement of the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil case against Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker.

Part of the deal would formulate a method for paying back the some $300 million of player funds held up in the seizure, about $150 million of which belongs to players in the U.S.

In investigating the possible acquisition, Poker Stars has sent some of its people to FullTilt’s Dublin, Ireland headquarters to conduct due diligence.

Despite its sullied reputation after the events of Black Friday a little over a year ago now, Full Tilt Poker is still considered a leader in online poker, with an enormous database of poker player and poker software that ranks among the industry’s best.

Isle of Man based Poker Stars had its U.S. operations shut down in the same DOJ raids that shut Full Tilt’s U.S. operations, but unlike Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker was unable to continue its operations outside the U.S. when, in June of last year, it was learned that the site would not be able to pay back players the money held up in their accounts.

Full Tilt Poker Defendant In New Class-Action Suit

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One year ago yesterday, on Sunday the 15th of April, 2011, federal agents of the United States closed several leading poker sites in an event that has been forever after dubbed Black Friday in the online gaming community. Since Black Friday, one affected site (Poker Stars) has recovered gracefully, one site (Absolute Poker) has all but disappeared from the radar entirely, while one site seems to be fighting attacks left and right from players and even some of its own former Team members for far deeper degrees of inappropriate (and possibly illegal) behavior beyond that which led directly to its closure.

Full Tilt Poker is now defending itself in a new class-action suit brought by 4 plaintiffs in Las Vegas, Nevada against Chris Ferguson (aka Jesus) and Howard Lederer (aka The Professor), directors of the embattled poker site, alleged charges of conversion.

The complaint also says that the two FullTilt directors exercised an unlawful level of control and dominion over the money players kept in their Full Tilt Poker accounts. It talked about Ponzi scheme allegations against the site and claims that Lederer received around $42 million in profit sharing payouts and distributions and that Ferguson received around $85 million in same, also claiming that for both of them, some of these funds may have been received as “loans”.

The defendants have yet to reply to the suit. However, in similar allegations filed against them in Los Angeles, CA by other complainants last October, 2011, they denied all such complaints.

Full Tilt Poker Posts 14 Job Openings Online

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In a bit of interesting poker news, the massive online poker site Full Tilt Poker is looking to be back in business soon apparently.  There is a pending sale of the company standing currently, and the parent company of Full Tilt, Pocket Kings Ltd has decided to post 14 different job openings on a job site.  The job postings aren’t brand new either though, as they have been up for about a month now since they were posted at the beginning of March, which makes the job postings even more interesting.

Laurent Tapie did state that he was looking to hire staff for the popular site, and it looks like he has officially begun before the sale was actually finished.  Tapie apparently has moved to Dublin, Ireland to make sure that things go smoothly with the end of the sale on the site, and also to hire his staff for the site as well.  Tapie will also be working on a key part of the transition which includes getting a license through the Aldernay Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), which could be one of the toughest parts of the entire process though.

These rumors about a potential sale have been swirling for nearly half a year, and it seems that if you are a player who has money frozen on the site currently then you could be poised for some good news coming soon.  On top of that though, if you live around Dublin and are looking for a job then there are many openings through Pocket Kings Ltd as well!  Most of the jobs through the site that are available are customer service jobs in different languages, so if you want to work for the new version of Full Tilt Poker, you could have a shot to take down one of the spots if you can speak one of the languages needed.

The potential sale of Full Tilt Poker doesn’t leave us with any exact day as to when we should expect the site to be up and running, but it is definitely good news for the online poker world, as Full Tilt Poker is one of the most popular and well-known sites out there.

AGCC Tells British Full Tilt Players to Call Police

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British online poker players who had funds tied up in Full Tilt Poker’s accounts when the site was closed down and its assets seized were told in an official statement released by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission that if they feel they’ve been the victim of any crime and / or if they think Full Tilt Poker still owes them money that is rightfully theirs, then they should file a report with their local police department.

Full Tilt Poker was closed as part of the events of Black Friday, April 15, 2011, when fellow sites Poker Stars and Absolute Poker were raided as well. Since that time, the AGCC has revoked Full Tilt Poker’s license and the site, at last count, owes dislodged players from the U.S., U.K. and Canada around $150,000,000. Poker Stars is the only one of the three sites closed on Black Friday that has paid back is dislodged players and reopened in its legal markets with its reputation intact. Not so for Full Tilt Poker or Absolute Poker, both of which are the subjects of numerous class action and civil lawsuits.

The AGCC has also advised Full Tilt Poker’s former players residing in Britain to take one of two other actions besides calling the police if they feel so compelled, those being to join or start a civil action against Full Tilt Poker or wait for Full Tilt to make good on its promise of releasing contact information for someone specific whom concerned players can contact.

Potential Deal Between Groupe Bernard Tapie and Full Tilt Poker Set

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It seems that there could potentially be good news on the horizon for Full Tilt Poker, the Groupe Bernard Tapie, online poker players, and fans of the game in general.  The two sides in the potential sale of the massive online poker site have gone back and forth for months now, but it could be winding down, pending an agreement with the US Department of Justice.  There has been a potential deal set, and while we haven’t finished the deal just yet, this is much farther than anything we’ve come close to in the past.

This sale of the site is set for $80 million in the new deal, which was reported by the Groupe Bernard Tapie’s attorney Benham Dayanim, and it would mean that the group would release claims to the assets which were seized by the DOJ.  The first thing that needs to be considered before any final movements are done, is getting the online poker site re-licensed.  The issue with this is that the site was originally with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), who has revoked their license currently; and their secondary license was through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, who must have a primary license along with it.

With the good news for everyone, comes the unfortunate bad news as well.  This starts with the fact that it may not benefit American players nearly as much as they were hoping.  The issues could come from players getting paid back, because with this deal the repayment of US poker players will have to come from the Department of Justice.  In order to have any shot at getting your funds back, players are going to have to apply to get them, and it’s uncertain as to how well it will all work out in the end.  On top of that, the international players may have a tough time getting repaid as well.  This is because it has been said that the site will still owe $390 million, and even with the $150 million that the DOJ is supposed to handle in this new deal; they would still owe around $240 million, which is a pretty penny in terms of having to pay everyone back.

All in all, it’s looking like the potential is growing, so we should stay optimistic for the potential return of Full Tilt Poker to the online poker world.

Full Tilt Poker Nears Return

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In a new development regarding the sale of Full Tilt Poker to Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), an email stating that the Department of Justice and GBT have, in principle, reached an agreement that will help facilitate the sale. The email reads:

Dear members,
I am pleased to announce that today the Department of Justice and Groupe Bernard Tapie have reached an agreement in principle regarding the acquisition of the companies comprising FullTiltPoker. My understanding is the deal provides that in exchange for an agreed upon payment by GBT, and a GBT commitment to assume responsibility for payment of ROW players, DoJ will reimburse US players and settle the outstanding civil litigation with the companies comprising FTP. Beyond these conditions, issues like the time frame and process for repayment of players remain unclear at this point and time.

With DoJ’s consent now in hand, GBT may now proceed to finalize an agreement to acquire the companies or assets that comprise FTP. That agreement will very likely address the status of your shares or interests in the successor company. When I receive that agreement, I will coordinate with our attorneys to ensure the terms of that proposed agreement will be shared with the membership and voted on.

To paraphrase, the DOJ will disburse all funds held in relation to US players and GBT is responsible for all non-US players’ funds. This means that the speculated funding necessary for the sale decreases greatly now that the DOJ has agreed to release the bank accounts to be given back to US-based players.

While this is one major step in the reopening of FTP, two more crucial steps remain: a 2/3 majority affirmative vote by FTP shareholders and the issuance of a license from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Make no mistake, this is great news, and undoubtedly sets the wheels in motion on the deal, but there remain many more steps to be taken on the issue.

Now that progress has started, expect more information coming forthwith. We will be sure to pass it along as we find it.

Full Tilt Poker Going French?

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Full Tilt Poker may not be wiped off the face of the online poker map after all. A French business tycoon by the name of Bernard Tapie appears to be buying the beleaguered site, despite its financial and legal troubles.

Full Tilt Poker is the defendant in at least two class action lawsuits, one from U.S. complainants and one from Canadian complainants. It allegedly owes dislodged U.S. players funds to the tune of $390 million, only $60 million of which it actually possesses, according to statements in New York by federal prescutors. The site’s owners face criminal charges of money laundering and allegations by prosecutor Preet Bharara of being a Ponzi scheme. Most recently Full Tilt Poker had its gambling license revoked by the Alderney Gaming Commission in the British Isles. Yet Tapie is willing to take all this on.

Besides being a big business tycoon, Bernard Tapie is also a French actor, Addidas sportswear tycoon and former government minister. Laurent Tapie, managing director of Groupe Bernard Tapie, announced that the group has already signed an exclusive sale agreement with the Full Tilt Poker board of directors. The purchase includes both the company as well as all of its assets.

For its part, Full Tilt Poker announced that part of the sale agreement included plans to reimburse those U.S. players their seized funds. Full Tilt pointed out how Tapie bought Adidas in 1990 and then turned them around to profitability. Tapie plans to do the same thing with Full Tilt Poker.

New Full Tilt Investors Behind ISPT Events

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The Groupe Bernard Tapie has had their names all over the poker news lately.  It began with their potential purchase of the massive online poker site, Full Tilt Poker, and now has shifted to the brand new International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT).  This event will kick off at Wembley Stadium in London, England, and could potentially be one of the most impressive poker tournaments in history.  The group has reported that they plan on having the event feature a mind-blowing $30 million guaranteed prize pool, and will pay out $10 million to the player who is able to beat out the field and win the final event.

The real question is how this event will be able to pay out a $30 million guaranteed prize pool.  This can be answered in the fact that the Groupe Bernard Tapie is actually expecting the event to draw in between 20,000 and 30,000 players.  They aren’t planning for these events to get underway too soon though, as the anticipated date for the first event is around September 2012.

One of the most interesting things about this event is how it will be laid out.  It will do both online poker and live poker in the event, and players will actually play with software on electronic pads in the stadium to start with.  After that, when the field is narrowed down to about 3,000 players; the event will change over to a live tournament with all of the players participating at different tables on the actual field itself.  The event then goes down to the final table (which will consist of ten players), with the final table paying out an incredible $17.5 million among the ten players.

The expectation of this event (with the combination of the Groupe Bernard Tapie’s possible purchase of Full Tilt), is that they could combine the Full Tilt Poker software in some way with the ISPT events.  This could be an excellent way for players to satellite their way into the ISPT as well, making the buy-in much more affordable for many players.

The information is listed on the actual ISPT website, as well as an advertisement that gives you a more in-depth look at what will go on at these massive events.