He's been dead silent for almost a year, but not anymore – Full Tilt's Ray Bitar has finally made a statement and apologized to all of those affected by Full Tilt's misfortunes. Not that the apology actually made things better, but it may be seen as a start, we aren’t sure for what at this point. Even PokerNews' CEO Robbie Davies made several points about Bitar's apology. In non-FT news Erik Lindgren's poker debts were disclosed in the poker forums causing a bit of a fuss since it appeared that the list of people he owed money was not that short. PokerStars introduced a new fast-play poker option and launched a strategy video site. Keep reading for more.
Ray Bitar Apologizes
Full Tilt officials' silence began on April 15th, 2011, when the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) seized the Full Tilt domain, indicted the site owners, and froze the company's bank accounts. Since then not one of the three major Full Tilt shareholders, Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, or Howard Lederer has made any official statement about the situation nor have they apologized for their actions or made any comments whatsoever. That changed on Tuesday, March 6th, when Bitar gave an interview to PokerStrategy explaining why he's been silent for so long and what he's been up to this past year.
According to Bitar he could not make any statements other than saying some things in general that pertain to nothing solved, that players had learned from the media anyway, so…according to him, he decided not to make any public comments at all and concentrate on saving Full Tilt and making sure that the players are paid back.
“I have been working every single day since Black Friday to ensure players are repaid, which has been my top priority, as well as working on the future plans of FTP. This work had to be done out of the scrutiny of the public eye,” said Bitar in the interview.
He also apologized to those affected by Full Tilt's inability to continue with its liabilities as well as not being able to return money to the site's users: “I would like to offer my sincere apology to all who have been affected by these events and to clarify that my silence was not an attempt to “hide,” or “ignore,” the situation. It was done out of necessity to ensure the focus remained on the continued efforts to reach the best outcome for the players.”
Read the full interview on PokerStrategy.com.
PokerNews CEO Comments on Bitar's Apology
Bitar's first interview after a too long post-Black-Friday silence caused a lot of debates within the poker community. One of the people posting his thoughts about Bitar's interview was PokerNews CEO Robbie Davies. However, Davies says that the apology doesn't really change anything since Bitar did not give out any details about the process of repaying the players and it wouldn't have made any difference if the statement was made immediately after Black Friday.
Davies believes that the interview is nothing but a new PR campaign meant to show the poker community that Full Tilt is actually still doing something for their own and the players' sake. “Waiting this long to drop a well-crafted PR statement, which tells affected customers nothing, is just short of worthless,” says Davies. “If this is simply the start of a PR campaign. Fine. I get it. But it is still not sincere. Too much damage has been done. The sincere thing to do is to respect your customers. Explain the mechanics of working toward refunds with a method that reverberates with each affected individual. Couple that with an honest strategy for a commercially viable future, and the damaged company could be getting somewhere.”
For more Davies' comments visit PokerNews.
Is the U.S. Free to Seize All .com Domains?
Last week's events of the US Department of Justice's (DoJ) seizure of the Bodog.com domain name, despite the fact that it belonged to a Canada-based company, raised some concerns of just how far the US legal authorities' jurisdiction goes. It may appear to be legal when a domain name of an entity registered in the United States is seized following a court order, but what about those outside the US? According to an article by David Kravets on Wired.com, all of the .com domains are granted and controlled by VeriSign, a company which is based in Virginia and therefore is a subject to any U.S. court order. So in order to seize any .com domain the DoJ doesn't have to report themselves to other countries' legal institutions, even if the company owning the domain is based outside U.S.
Read more on this on Wired.com.
Tribal Casinos Concerned About Poker Legislation
As it is with most at the American gaming community, the main topic of the recent iGaming North America conference was the legalization of online poker in the United States. The major concerns came from those representing tribal casinos as they were not sure if the intrastate online poker legislation would take their interests into account. The same feelings were expressed in regards to the federal poker legislation.
“It affects everyone differently,” said Sheila Morago, executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. “Tribes are still (hurting) from the loss of revenue from the recession. They are still wary about something new coming down the road.”
She also added that the new laws would affect the current compacts that different states have with the Indian casinos. Morago was concerned about the federal bill's impact on the 29 states which have tribal casinos as well as different terms and agreements. “We can all agree that no one wants to open their state compact,” she said.
Read more on Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Erick Lindgren's Debts
PokerWorks' editor-in-chief Linda R. Geenen recently published a piece on borrowing in poker and the vicious cycle of many poker players constantly borrowing money and being continually in someone's debt. Just a few days ago one of such debt stories burst out into the daylight when Max “$kill Game” Weinberg posted on the TwoPlusTwo forums about well-known poker pro Erik Lindgren owing him money. Soon another thread appeared on the forum by a user named Limpcallcallfold who claimed that Weinberg himself owed him $25K.
The threads soon got much attention from users who also borrowed money from other players or just had something to say on the topic. However, most agreed that Full Tilt going down was one of the major reasons why players were not able to repay their debts. Still, once the topic got out in the open, some people started getting their money back. A user named Interpleader claimed he received $2,800 on Monday, March 5th via eBay from Lindgren's wife Erica Schoenberg.
Max “$kill Game” Weinberg who started the original thread about Lindgren's debt contacted PokerNews and said he settled things with Limpcallcallfold about his own debt and that he received a call from Erik who said he was going to take care of the problem ASAP. Although Weinberg was not sure if that was actually going to happen.
Read more on PokerNews.
PokerStars Launches Zoom
And talking about poker forums – a few month ago one TwoPlusTwo thread got a lot of attention as it discussed the possible launch of the PokerStars' version of Rush Poker. One forum member discovered a file called “Blitz” upon downloading the PokerStars software and wondered if this was actually what he thought it was. Most of the forum members came to the conclusion that Blitz was PokerStars' version of Rush Poker and this was then confirmed by the forum's PokerStars representative.
Since then the name of the application has been changed to “Zoom,” however, that did not change the idea behind it – a “fast-paced way to play online poker.” PokerNews' Matthew Pitt reviewed the new application, sharing his thoughts with the rest of the poker community.
“As a poker player who has limited time available to play, this is the perfect solution for me and could pave the way to PlatinumStar or even Supernova,” Pitt said. “And for those of you who are high volume players anyway, then Supernova Elite has just been brought within your reach.”
Read the full PokerStars Zoom review on PokerNews.
Fun Trivia: Poker
While Google has answers to all the questions in the world, there are some “question and answer” websites that are just fun to visit for fun's sake, like Fun Trivia for instance. While the site won't give you answers to all the questions you might have, it can answer some that you don't. Have you ever wondered who was the youngest ever Hall-of-Famer to be enshrined, when he was inducted at age of 40? Or who went to win the world championship of poker in Las Vegas from just one chip?
Even if you have and even if you know the answers, you should still visit the FunTrivia.com poker section for some fun poker trivia.
PokerStars Launches Poker Strategy Site
There are a lot of poker strategy sites on the internet that help you learn the basics of the game, the rules, various poker strategies, a few tricks maybe, tell you which hands you should play and which ones you shouldn't and how certain hands should be played in various situations and so on. Some of these sites are more useful than others; some may even give you poker money if you pass their tests, etc. So now PokerStars has decided to launch their own poker strategy site to teach you how to win money from the other PokerStars' players.
The site is called Everything Poker and should read “everything you wanted to know about poker, but was afraid to ask” between the lines. What the site is, is basically a collection of 13 poker strategy videos going from explaining basic poker rules and hands to advanced game strategies. However, these are not your regular poker strategy videos.
“The show was devised by the PokerStars TV Team in June 2010 and then a lengthy research process began as we sought to write the perfect 'How to Play Poker' show. We brought in the experts of Sunset&Vine to oversee the TV production and worked very closely with their producers to create a show that not only flowed but had just the right tone to keep new players interested without bamboozling them with information,” the PokerStars' head of TV editorial and production, Neil Morris explained.
Check out the poker strategy videos and learn a thing or two yourself at EverythingPoker.com.
Liv Boeree Can Fly
One of the best female poker players around, a member of Team PokerStars Pro, Liv Boeree has recently posted a video on YouTube of her learning to pilot a jet. Knowing that Boeree has a degree in astrophysics, handling a jet for her should be fairly easy. Liv also tweeted about the new experience saying: “Learning to fly a jet somewhere over California! Definitely a top 10 life moment.”
Here's the video: