Behn Dayanim, the lawyer for Bernard Tapie Group, points out to Pokerstrategy.com:
“GBT doesn’t want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erik Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount.
If the money doesn’t come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn’t the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won’t end on any one issue – but this is a substantial item.”
Phil Ivey has lost a significant part of his fan base because he filed a lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker which led to a massive run on account from the remaining countries that Full Tilt Poker was operating in. After the lawsuit was released, Full Tilt Poker fired back that Phil Ivey owed them in the area of $10,000,000. Last week, Phil Ivey won a little over $2,000,000.00 from the high roller tournament in the Auzzie Millions. Perhaps, it was expected that Phil would make some sort of payment when he won this amount and it didn’t happen. BTG then was insulted by this and released the story to Pokerstrategy.com and leaked it on Two Plus Two. Phil Ivey has losing a crap load of money at craps for years and people resent him for borrowing their money and not paying it back. Perhaps he should have been gambling at sports betting sites instead. He was rolling dice at $100,000 k a roll some of the time. It is unknown whether Ivey will be able to or choose to pay back the $10,000,000.
The Ivey debt is old news, what’s really on everyone’s mind is the bombshell $400,000 that Barry Greenstein owes to Full Tilt Poker. This is big news because it has never been brought up before and he’s a Pokerstars team member. Barry responded back to BTG with this letter :
“The consensus in the poker community is that all money owed to Full Tilt or taken by investors after the company became insolvent should be used to pay back player’s funds. If I were to make a deal with you it would look like I had turned my back on the best interests of the American players.
Even though the terms are easier for me if I deal with you and it will fulfill my legal obligation, I have to see how things work out with the DOJ and try to make good on my moral obligation to the US players. I assume at some time in the future the DOJ will establish a pool of funds from Full Tilt’s assets that will be used to pay off some percentage of the player balances that are owed.”
He responded to questions with :
“1. I owe the money to Full Tilt not GBT. If I had borrowed from GBT, I wouldn’t have an argument about not paying them back. I believe most people would not like me to hand it to FTP at this time. If I owed Madoff or Enron money, I wouldn’t pay them either, but I would wait for a better way to settle the debt.
2. I admit it’s somewhat self-serving and buys me time not to pay now. It also gives me a chance at getting money transferred (in the event that accounts are not paid back in full) from other people.
3. In answer to why someone would owe money for so long and not pay: In addition to borrow money online, I have had lots of credit lines from casinos. At one point I owed over 3 million with no interest. I didn’t lose most of it, but often used it to play and invest (and sometimes lose in that way.) I paid the casinos off, but Full Tilt was last because I had no pressure to pay.
4. I agree that the entire player base deserves to get paid. As people have mentioned, it looks to me like the ROW will be taken care of if the deal goes through, so the US players need some source of funds. If the deal doesn’t go through, my money should go into a fund for all the players worldwide.
5. I wasn’t forthright about my debt until I had no choice because it would be embarrassing since I’m sponsored by PokerStars. I knew it would eventually come out and I could have done things to prevent it after Black Friday, but I thought it would be worse if I settled the debt in a way that resulted in the money being flushed down the drain just to avoid embarrassment.
6. Regarding US players not being paid in full: I assume that the US players will be paid out of money the DOJ gets from the sale, from seizures, and from debt repayment, minus what they keep. I have no real knowledge other than that, but if I plug in my best guesses I come up with less than is owed to the players, unless we get a surprisingly benevolent DOJ decision.
7. Even though I have many detractors in this thread, can you at least cut me some slack that I am doing the minimum of what is expected from people who owe money in the gambling world: I am admitting exactly what I owe (it’s actually 382k) and I am stating my intention to pay it back. I think it will be beneficial if this trend continues.”
I really can draw no conclusions from the above statements from Barry, but Barry didn’t just win $2,000,000, Ivey did! Why hasn’t he explained to the poker community why he hasn’t made some sort of escrow payment to settle his $10,000,000 debt. I think, at this point, it is unlikely that Full Tilt Poker will get their money from these players anytime soon.