Monday, February 27, 2012

Moving On

Move On, DudeI was writing last week about these conflicting commentaries coming from Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson regarding the Full Tilt Poker fiasco. I noted how I appreciated both sharing their views, even if neither added all that greatly to our understanding of what had happened, was currently happening, or might happen going forward.

On Friday, Matt Glantz came back with a follow-up to his earlier post regarding “The Silence of Full Tilt.” That was the one that kind of started all of the latter back-and-forthing between Negreanu and Brunson.

In the new post, “Whispers from Full Tilt,” Glantz provides some of what he learned after talking with various FTP shareholders regarding both the possibility of the Groupe Bernard Tapie deal ever happening and the reason for the continued silence from those associated with the beleaguered site.

Interestingly, it is the GBT deal -- which sounds as though it is almost certainly doomed to fall through -- which appears to be further encouraging shareholders’ silence. As Glantz puts it, people are keeping mum not “because they are worried about the deal falling apart,” but rather “because they are worried that if they say anything they will eventually be blamed for the deal falling apart.”

Almost all of the “insiders” with whom Glantz has spoken seem to believe the deal is not going to happen. Glantz shares that pessimistic view, advising his readers with money locked up on Full Tilt Poker to let go of the possibility of ever seeing their funds returned.

“I am recommending that these players move on as if their funds are gone,” writes Glantz. “Think of any money you may receive back from the FTP debacle in the future as found money.”

Experienced poker players are generally good at this sort of mind game, tricking themselves into thinking differently about money lost or won so as not to be influenced into subsequently making poor decisions. Kind of a special case, here, of course, representing a greater challenge to do as Glantz suggests and mentally erase whatever figure you had in your FTP account from your poker ledger before going forward.

Go check out Glantz’ post for more, including some speculation about other possible (though unlikely) future scenarios for FTP. As I say, Glantz shares some but not all of what he learned from talking with the shareholders, deciding against naming names as well as not passing along “the dirt” some of the shareholders told him regarding their colleagues.

Reading Glantz’ post caused me to think back over the last 10-and-a-half months to try to pinpoint when it was I had finally begun to consider the money I had on Full Tilt Poker as lost. The fact that it wasn’t a huge amount -- only a little under $300 -- made it easier to do so, of course. But if I am going to be honest it took me awhile to get there.

In early May cashing out seemed quite likely, especially when PokerStars had already sent me my check for a lot more. The May 15th non-announcement announcement from “FTP Doug” was troubling, though not enough to make me give up hope. It was two weeks later, though, when another “FTP Doug” message was delivered that it occurred to most of us that maybe we shouldn’t be so optimistic.

That was the message in which we learned the site was “raising capital to ensure that the US players are paid out in full as quickly as possible.” A day later came the news of Phil Ivey’s lawsuit (subsequently withdrawn) against the site he represented and partly-owned, weirdly delivered via a sequence of posts to his Facebook wall.

Was pretty clear then the shinola had hit the fan. Things only got worse, of course, with the loss of their license to operate and FTP shutting down altogether in late June, the DOJ’s amendment to the civil complaint in September, and this ongoing tease regarding the GBT sale that presently appears as likely as being dealt a suited pocket pair.

I suppose it was probably somewhere around late September -- right after the DOJ made its amendment and that “Ponzi scheme” proclamation -- that I gave up on cashing out from FTP, the whole GBT sale story never really inspiring me much to think otherwise.

Did you see that Ivey is back playing in the U.S. again, having participated in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event? Remember when he won the same event in 2008? Was hard not to pull for him then. But as I was saying last month when Ivey showed up at the Aussie Millions, it’s kind of hard these days not to feel ambivalent about his winning or losing.

As it happened, Ivey went out on the stone-cold bubble yesterday, finishing 55th when 54 pay. But like I say, it’s hard to care much about that. Because when we think of Ivey, we think of Full Tilt Poker. And when we think of Full Tilt Poker, well, it looks like we all bubbled that one.

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