The statement PokerStars made earlier today sat better with me than Full Tilt Poker’s reaction. PokerStars seems ready to take care of U.S. player deposits and cash them out. Full Tilt Poker, who had a much bigger U.S. player base than PokerStars, seem to not have the cash on hand. If you go to Fulltiltpoker.com the Department of Justice page is gone and you get forwarded to Fulltiltpoker.co.uk. U.S. IP addresses then see this message pop up:
Full Tilt Poker has always maintained the highest levels of integrity and compliance with the law. Due to recent events, Full Tilt Poker is unable to accept ‘Real Money’ play from customers residing in the United States. However, please know that your funds are safe and secure. We are working with the United States Attorney’s Office in order to get players their money back as soon as possible.
To further clarify any confusion, although the government did not seize individual players’ accounts, it did seize the bank accounts in which those funds are held. At this time, the government has refused to release the seized bank accounts.
Full Tilt Poker continues to believe that neither its affiliated companies nor its executives violated the law in the United States, and it plans to mount a vigorous defense.
Stating that the government seized the accounts that held player balances is not comforting. PokerStars did not seem to have this problem. Either PokerStars has reserves set aside or they did not get player balances confiscated. I think in the end we will see that Absolute Poker and UB also had their player funds seized. The difference will be at least Full Tilt Poker will have an ongoing business and some way to pay their players, Absolute Poker and UB were having liquidity issues before Black Friday. Full Tilt was having their own processing issues with many players playing off of echeck deposits that never cleared.
Maybe the feds will release some of the seized funds so that players can get paid back. If they do I do not see that as being a fast process. My prediction on U.S. poker withdrawals is PokerStars players are almost all paid 30 days from now, Full Tilt Poker takes 30-90 days to pay players and Cereus players never see a dime. I hope I am wrong about the Cereus part but I really do not see them as liquid. On top of this both Cereus skins have been a scam from day one and there is no motivation for them to pay up on their way out the door even if they could.