Timeline: Full Tilt Poker Post-Black Friday

On April 14th, few could have imagined the extended soap opera that Full Tilt Poker would become.  Below is an evolving timeline of relevant events that make up what is without a doubt the online poker story of the decade to date.

April 2011

4/15 –  Following the seizure of its domain name by the US Department of Justice, Full Tilt Poker announces that they will no longer allow players from the US to play real-money games at FTP.

4/18 –  NYT publishes piece detailing failed lobbying efforts of FTP and PokerStars.

4/21 -Full Tilt Poker’s domain is returned by the DOJ after the two sides reach a deal.

4/24 –  Following widespread reports of cash out delays from players outside of the US, FTP issues statement on MoneyBookers cashout problems.

4/25 –  More evidence of pressing money woes for Full Tilt surfaces when FTP is unable to make prize money payments to a poker TV show.

May 2011

5/29 –  Reports surface that a bank account belonging to Full Tilt Poker containing $150m has been unfrozen by the DOJ.  Later reports put the number at closer to $50 million.  This news does not appear to translate directly to any player payouts.

5/31 -Phil Ivey announces that he’s suing Full Tilt Poker and skipping the 2011 World Series of Poker.

5/31 -FTP makes one of the first in a series of statements that communicate next to nothing. These statements, often preceded by promises of “big news” from FTP by their rep on 2p2, occur with regularity throughout the summer months and generally serve to do little more than fuel anger at Full Tilt.

June 2011

6/1 -Full Tilt releases an angry statement trashing Phil Ivey after Ivey sues the company.

6/8 -Brandon Adams writes pro-FTP blog post and asserts he’ll continue to wear the FTP patch.

6/11 -Wicked Chops releases photo dump of houses seized from FTP head Ray Bitar by the DOJ.

Subject: Poker Closes6/16 -Subject: Poker reports that Full Tilt Poker had apparently credited players with tens of millions of dollars in funds for deposits that the room never actually received due to seizures and other payment processing issues, creating a massive financial shortfall at the company.

6/20 -The 2011 WSOP breaks attendance records, confounding pundits who asserted that Black Friday would decimate attendance.

6/24 -Rep Joe Barton introduces online poker regulation bill in the US House of Representatives.

6/29 -Alderney suspends FTP’s license, effectively shuttering the second-largest online poker room in the world with little notice to players.

July 2011

7/1 -Ivey pulls his lawsuit, and the LA Times reports that a group of European investors are set to buy Full Tilt.

7/1Wicked Chops reports that the European investors referenced by the LA Times are a group assembled by Full Tilt pro Phil Ivey and that a deal is imminent.

Howard7/3 – Group of US players files lawsuit against Full Tilt and several key members of the company, including Howard Lederer (later dismissed).

7/5 – The French license for FullTiltPoker.fr is yanked by regulators.

7/7 -More rumors of a buyer or partner for refinancing surface.

7/11 -The British Government announces it will investigate and potentially strengthen oversight of online poker in light of Full Tilt’s failure to pay back players promptly.

7/25 -Rumors fly that the potential buyers of Full Tilt Poker are only interested in the non-US assets of the company.  Nothing comes of said rumors, and the potential European buyers assembled by Phil Ivey later drops out of negotiations.

7/26 -Purportedly public regulatory meeting moves behind closed doors after Full Tilt refuses to participate in open hearings.

7/29 -The Kahnawake Gaming Commission renews Full Tilt’s license.

August 2011

8/22 -FTP issues a statement essentially saying one potential deal has fallen through and that the company is in discussions with other potential buyers.

Full Tilt Poker8/26 –  Subject: Poker reports that the amount Full Tilt Poker had credited players for echeck deposits that the company had never actually received totals over $125 million dollars.

September 2011

9/14 -Full Tilt releases statement announcing cost-cutting and claiming to be “fully committed” to returning US player funds.

9/14 -Highly anticipated regulatory hearing for FTP changed, no longer open to public.

9/19 -DOJ amends original Black Friday complaint to include Lederer, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst and moves to freeze their assets.

Tom Dwan9/21 -Tom Dwan gives an interview with PokerNews discussing DOJ allegations.

9/21 -Hendon Mob ends relationship with Full Tilt Poker.

9/21 –  DOJ calls Full Tilt Poker a “global Ponzi scheme”, FTP disagrees.

9/22 -Laurent Tapie is identified as a potential suitor for Full Tilt Poker.

Empty Full tilt Poker9/29 -Alderney revokes Full Tilt Poker’s license.

9/29 - DOJ issues statement addressing possible payback for US players.

9/30 -Groupe Bernard Tapie signs initial acquisition agreement with Full Tilt Poker.

9/30 - Ray Bitar files papers contesting the seizure of his property.

October 2011

10/6 -Alderney backtracks on earlier statement that they will no longer mitigate player complaints against Full Tilt.

10/26 -Spanish source reveals that GBT has been contacting players with large balances at Full Tilt Poker and soliciting feedback on repayment options.

November 2011

11/1 -Subject Poker reports that the DOJ has conditionally signed off on GBT’s purchase of Full Tilt.

11/17 -Groupe Bernard Tapie agrees to purchase Full Tilt Poker pending DOJ and FTP shareholder approval.

December 2011

12/15GBT announces that Full Tilt Poker’s shareholders have approved the deal.

January 2012

1/25 - Reports emerge that Chris Ferguson may be holding up the GBT deal over $16m he believes he is owed; that claim is disputed by Ferguson.

1/31 - GBT announces that they have reached a final deal with the DOJ regarding settlement of claims.

February 2012

2/1  –  Judge dismisses US class action lawsuit against FTP.

2/3 - GBT claims Full Tilt pros such as Mike Matusow and Phil Ivey, along with some other poker players like Barry Greenstein, owe millions of dollars to Full Tilt.

2/4 –  Tapie insists in interview that Full Tilt deal is still on track.

2/18 - Vague rumors regarding both the impending death / success of the deal continue to circulate.

2/21PokerNews reports that winners of the Montreal Open aren’t able to collect their prize money due to FTP implosion.

2/21 – Poker legend Doyle Brunson pens a blog defending Howard Lederer and placing most of the fault with Ray Bitar.

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Chris Grove
Chris Grove - Chris is the co-founder and an editor of OnlinePokerReport.com. He's written for dozens of gambling publications and has been involved with various aspects of the online poker industry since 2004.