DOJ Puts Kibosh on 1,500 Full Tilt Poker Player Payments

3 min read

Not all Full Tilt poker players have received funds back from their pre-Black Friday accounts. A majority have; in fact, 94 percent of the payouts have been made since the Garden City Group (GCG), a legal administration company, took over the reimbursement process.

Full Tilt denies 1500 players their money
Money to 1,500 Full Tilt Poker players is still on hold, and they will likely never see it, based on DOJ assessments of their claims.  (Image:

But there are still 1,500 players who haven’t received money. The reason? The Department of Justice (DOJ) won’t allow GCG to pay out the money to these individuals due to “claims deficiencies.” The payment administrator explained the situation without going into exact detail.

“GCG has been informed that the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section has denied approximately 1,500 petitions. Petitioners flagged for denial have been notified via email. Please be sure to check your email account’s spam or junk folder to ensure the message was not filtered. Denied petitioners have 10 days to appeal the decision,” a company spokesperson said this week.

GCG did not elaborate on why certain players have yet to be paid, nor did the company provide a list of player names or the total amount of payments yet on hold.

The process of reimbursing Full Tilt customers began three years ago. But players have been waiting for their money back since April 2011, when the DOJ dropped the hammer on FT (then called Full Tilt Poker), PokerStars, and other major poker sites.

GCG has been paying out players in groups since taking over the account. For the most part, the process has gone smoothly, and former FT customers have been happy to finally get their money. But for that six percent of players still waiting for a check, unless they have damned good appeals attorneys, the likelihood is that their money will never see daylight again.

The End is Near

While all this transpires, for the Full Tilt platform itself, the end looms nearby. Amaya Inc. recently announced FT’s platform will merge with PokerStars on May 17.

Unfortunately, for those who have been playing on Tilt since the early days of online poker, that finality may be somewhat bittersweet. At one point, it was one of the most popular online poker sites of all time.

Players such as Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, and Mike Matusow were the faces of the site in its heyday. Hundreds of players, including the aforementioned names, wore the iconic red Full Tilt Poker patches to televised live poker tournaments, including the globally viewed WSOP.

During the heyday of the poker boom, FT went toe-to-toe with PokerStars for online poker supremacy. But the site’s reputation took too big of a hit following Black Friday to ever fully recover.

What Took So Long?

When Full Tilt was shut down in the United States, the company paid out massive bonuses to shareholders such as Ferguson and Lederer. But it did not have enough in reserves to pay back its more regular Joe players.

PokerStars purchased the site in 2013, with the requirement of paying out the FT players who were owed money. In the United States, more than $500 million was set aside for this. Reviewing and approving so many player accounts understandably took a great amount of time.

And now the remaining six percent of players who had hoped to be in the bread line may not even see a single crumb from their cases. It might be enough to put them on full tilt, indeed.

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