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Poker News | World Poker News

Tiltware Responds to Phil Ivey Lawsuit

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The latest breaking news from the poker world is the statement issued by Phil Ivey that he is boycotting this year’s WSOP. On the heels of Ivey’s chaffing statement regarding Full Tilt Poker not settling players’ poker accounts, it was announced that he had filed suit against Tiltware, Full Tilt Poker’s software and marketing company.

In preparation for the legal battle to follow, Ivey retained Las Vegas attorney David Z. Chesnoff, a poker player who is no stranger to the higher limit games at the Bellagio or to representing some of the biggest names in poker. The lawsuit, which was in the District Court of Clark County, Nevada can be viewed on Scribd and in part states that Ivey is suing for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and damages.

The first cause of action in the lawsuit involves injunctive relief. This relates to Ivey’s contract with Full Tilt that prohibits him from entering into any business deals or contracts which would conflict or compete with Full Tilt Poker. Ivey is seeking to void his Full Tilt contract, making it unenforceable, so that he will be free to pursue other poker sponsorship or business deals. The second cause of action addresses breach of contract, stating that the Plaintiff (Ivey) has been financially damaged by lost income, damage to his personal and professional reputation and damaged by lost business opportunities, all totaling over $150,000,000.

On Wednesday, June 1st, Tiltware released this statement in response to Ivey’s actions:

“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.”

While Full Tilt Poker’s inaction regarding the release of player’s funds has angered thousands of former Full Tilt players, many were impressed when Ivey stated, ‘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.” Appearing to stand up for the average Full Tilt player, he also said, “I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.”

It remains to be seen if, in fact, Ivey owes Full Tilt money or the other way around, and whether Ivey is positioning himself to be a hero for the average Joe, or simply distancing himself from the Full Tilt legal tangle created by the Black Friday indictments . Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that Full Tilt Poker has so far refused to release the millions of dollars that rightfully belong to US players. Their silence is peppered with confusing statements; first we heard that all player funds were safe, leading players to believe Full Tilt had player’s funds in a separate designated account - as it should be. Now, we hear; ‘We (Full Tilt Poker) are raising capital to ensure that the US players are paid out in full as quickly as possible.’ Which we can only assume means that they don’t have OUR money to pay us and are looking for ways to raise it.

Of course they add; ‘It is important to remember that Full Tilt Poker has always paid out our players, even in the face of previous legal obstacles or factors not in our control, such as payment processor defaults and prior actions by the US government which resulted in US player funds being seized.’ If this is supposed to reassure US players that they will get their money - sorry Full Tilt but you get a failing grade here. PokerStars has paid up but you haven’t and we are tired of excuses and smoke and mirror announcements. We also have to question the reasons you stated as to why none of the Full Tilt Pros have spoken up; ‘It is not their choice. They are constrained by the pending legal actions.’ Evidently Phil Ivey is the one Pro who sees it differently.

As the online poker fires continue to burn out of control, there is hope that the US will clear the smoke from its eyes long enough to regulate and legalize online poker. If that miracle happens, the question remains whether Full Tilt Poker will ever be able to repair their tarnished reputation and regain the trust of US players. At this point it is a long shot and the odds are not in Full Tilt’s favor.

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