In a rather unexpected turn of events, poker legend Phil Ivey has announced that he will not be participating in the 2011 World Series of Poker and has taken legal action against Tiltware owner of Full Tilt Poker a move that no one would have anticipated seeing the two had such a good relationship in the past prior to the US Poker room closures and black Friday.
It seems that Phil Ivey has reached breaking point about payment delays from FullTiltPoker to their USA based players. Full Tilt Poker recently announced that they are raising capital to pay back their USA players their outstanding balances prompting Phil Ivey to file a lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker.
This is rather bad news for the Full Tilt brand while on the other hand FullTilt's rivals are probably loving the news and hoping that several other Full Tilt Poker Pros follow Ivey's lead and sue FullTilt Poker.
Read Phil Ivey’s full statement about FullTiltPoker, the lawsuit and not playing in the WSOP 2011.
Phil Ivey vs. Full Tilt Poker
Phil Ivey released the following statement on his blog http://philivey.com "For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.
I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm. I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.
My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.
I whole heartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of player’s funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.
I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment."
Update 2 July :
Full Tilt have responded with the following rather harsh statement:
"Contrary to his sanctimonious public statements, Phil Ivey’s meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player – himself. In an effort to further enrich himself at the expense of others, Mr. Ivey appears to have timed his lawsuit to thwart pending deals with several parties that would put money back in players’ pockets. In fact, Mr. Ivey has been invited — and has declined — to take actions that could assist the company in these efforts, including paying back a large sum of money he owes the site. Tiltware doubts Mr. Ivey’s frivolous and self-serving lawsuit will ever get to court. But if it does, the company looks forward to presenting facts demonstrating that Mr. Ivey is putting his own narrow financial interests ahead of the players he professes to help."
Full Tilt Poker's Future
While Full Tilt poker future in the USA looks rather bleak, I personally believe that Full Tilt Poker will make a full recovery from the recent USA closures as they still have many players from the rest of the world but they should remain careful and try pay back their USA poker accounts as soon as possible as players worldwide are following the news about FullTilt closing in the USA closely.
The longer they take the more they are losing support from the international poker community. Each day that passes not paying off outstanding accounts and withholding funds from Americans relates to trust and their trust factor is dropping daily, results of which can be seen through PokerScout’s ratings of the room which has shown a weekly decline in players for 3 consecutive weeks each in excess of 5%.
Full Tilt Poker closed in the USA puts Tiltware in a much different possition that they have faced previously as they will now be competing against many rival poker rooms for the rest of the world's traffic and that is a pretty tough challenge they face they will now have new rooms to contest against with the likes of IPoker and PartyPoker both brands already strong in the rest of the world.
USA Full Tilt Poker & PokerStars Alternative Rooms
Former USA Full Tilt Poker players who have not already done so are advised to find a new alternative poker room that still allows US players to play for real money as there is no end in sight after the recent close of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to the USA, your best bet will be to find a new USA Poker Room that still allows Americans.
So the big question is "Which poker rooms still welcome USA poker players?". We have compiled a full list of USA Poker rooms that allow US real money play where USA poker players are welcome to deposit, while the list of sites still accepting depositing US players has grown much shorter over the last few weeks, there are still many alternate rooms available to Americans looking for an alternate to PokerStars and FullTilt, we currently play at UWin Poker, tournament traffic doesn't compare with the leading brands but competition is rather weak with inexperienced players everywhere you look making for easy pickings especially in cash games.