Well over three years has passed since Black Friday upended the U.S. online poker industry, and its effects are still being felt in the poker community.
Yes the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the payment processing firm they hired, the Garden City Group (GCG), have returned most of the allotted player funds from Full Tilt Poker, there are still quite a few former Full Tilt Poker players waiting for their funds to be refunded, including the over 150 players who were sponsored pros.
But their wait looks to be over after an announcement this week.
The latest remissions
This week the Garden City Group has announced that yet another round of player balances will be released to what they are calling professional players (and what we would call “Red Pros”) from Full Tilt Poker.
Red Pros were non-shareholding players who were sponsored in some way by the site. Team Full Tilt Poker Pros (read as: shareholders) were expressly excluded by the GCG and will not be able to file a petition.
According to the fulltiltpokerclaims.com website, players in this category were notified by the GCG on August 4th that they may now file a remission, and they have about a month to do so.
However, if you were not notified and feel you fall into this new category can submit a remission petition and you may be eligible to receive any funds that were not derived as affiliate payments or direct payments from Full Tilt Poker. Petitions must be submitted by September 3rd, 2014.
“It has been determined that players designated by Full Tilt Poker (“FTP”) as “professionals”, other than Team Full Tilt Players, will be able to submit Petitions for Remission to recover the portion of their account balance that is not attributable to compensation provided by FTP or Affiliate revenue. If you are a professional player, you will be able to submit a Petition for the portion of your account balance that relates to poker transactions, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
“On August 4, 2014, GCG sent Notices to certain Petitioners who were identified as professional players by FTP. The Notices provided information and instructions for participating in the Petition process. If you received an email Notice, please be sure to use the logon credentials provided in the Notice when you begin the Petition process.
“The deadline for professional players to submit a Petition for Remission is September 3, 2014.”
These remission payments to Red Pros and other professionals will likely be small in number (as mentioned above, about 150 or so players were Red Pros) but should be sizable in amount since these were the high volume grinders on the site.
In February the first and largest batch of remission checks were sent out, and 27,500 former U.S. Full Tilt Poker players received roughly $76 million from the GCG. These first payments went to players with undisputed accounts who had filed their claims properly.
In March / April another 2,200 players received their remission checks, totaling another $5 million. These beneficiaries were also players with undisputed accounts, but included players who had filed a claim with incorrect information – such as address, social security number, or e-mail inaccuracies, most of which were likely happening on GCG’s end when they were entered into the system.
A month later in May a third round of remission payments were sent out to another 3,500 former FTP players. This batch of payments totaled $15 million and were sent to people with disputed claims, or players who had been incorrectly labeled as an affiliate when they were simply receiving rakeback payments from an affiliate.
In all, a total of 33,000 players have received a remission payment from the Garden City Group, totaling roughly $96 million.
Unless this latest batch is quite significant, there will likely be a very large discrepancy between the total amount believed to be owed to former U.S. Full Tilt Poker players, estimated to be about $150 million, and the amount that has been paid out by the GCG.
This has always been a concern in the poker community and has led to a lot of speculation (and even some conspiracy theories) regarding what will happen to these additional funds.
A lot of the missing funds can be chalked up to players who had rather small balances, maybe $50-$100 and decided to not go through the hassle of filing a claim or decided not to follow up if they were told there was an inaccuracy in their filing (yours truly falls into the latter category for instance), while a smaller amount of the missing money likely belongs to players who have left poker and are quite unaware of the remission process even taking place, and players who don’t want governmental attention.