GPWA Times - Issue 20 - March 2012

By J. Todd, Executive Director, APCW This is one Wall of Shame I hoped I never would have to write. During the poker boom two of the most famous and well-respected profession- als were Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson. They were certifiable ge- niuses at the tables. Both won multiple WSOP bracelets. And both seemed like personable, trustworthy guys. Fast forward a decade and the two are pariahs in the poker community. And the distinction is well-deserved. So what the hell happened? Well those two, along with Ray Bitar, are the three public faces of what was formerly the second-biggest online poker room in the world: Full Tilt. And Lederer, Ferguson and Bitar have been silent for months and months, despite thou- sands of players around the globe hav- ingmillionsof dollars tiedup inthe site. Daniel Negreanu put it best in a video blog he posted in February. Forget de- bating if Full Tilt knew that the Black Friday indictments were on the way before April 15. Right now you can’t prove or disprove that rumor. What you can prove, through finan- cial documents, is that Full Tilt was insolvent. The site didn’t have nearly enough money in their coffers to repay the American players that were shut out of the site. This is a stone-cold fact. Then why in the name of all that is good and proper did Full Tilt continue to take deposits fromnon-U.S. players? These players deposited their money thinking they’d be able to withdraw those funds whenever they wanted. Obviously, this was not the case. Now everyone is screwed. And the white knight that everyone had hoped would ride in and save the day, Groupe Bernard Tapie, has failed to do anything, except piss off even more poker players. This is all one big clusterf***, and it’s not just the players who are getting the shit end of the stick. It’s the affili- ates, too. Full Tilt was a major mon- ey maker for a lot of us when things were going great. Once they closed up shop, our earnings went down the tubes as well. Full Tilt’s big marketing pitch was “Learn, chat and play with the pros.” Well, you guys aren’t chatting. No one is playing. And the only thing anyone is learning is how to not han- dle a crisis situation. So why am I singling out Lederer, Ferguson and Bitar? Well, they were the three people named in the lat- est DOJ motion that stated that Full Tilt Poker was a “Ponzi scheme.” And since that blockbuster declaration, those three men have responded by doing . . . nothing. Not a statement to those players who have their life savings tied up in the site. Not an explanation on why player funds were commingled with operator funds. Not a half-assed ex- cuse why the site didn’t take one of a number of deals that were on the table after April 15. The silence of the “Three Mute Mice” (they can’t be blind because they’ve seen everything that has happened) and the outright unacceptable actions Full Tilt Poker has taken since Black Friday make this an easy, albeit sad, Wall of Shame enshrinement. W all of S hame Chris Ferguson Howard Lederer APCW’s Wall of Shame