Ivey Pulls Out Of WSOP

June 2nd, 2011 Poker

Poker player Phil Ivey has announced he will not be playing in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament this year, and that he plans to sue Full Tilt Poker for not reimbursing online players after their sites were forced to shut down last April.

Ivey, a longtime supporter of Full Tilt Poker and one of its main endorsers, said he was “deeply disappointed” at the company’s refusal to give players back their money. The fact that many players are unable to join the tournaments because of the financial blow also embarrassed him, he added in an official statement published on his website.

According to Ivey, it was highly unfair that he and other star players can compete while others cannot, given that the point of online play was to give everyone a fair chance. He said he is doing everything he can to solve the issue as soon as possible.


Full Tilt Poker was shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in April, along with two other poker sites, Absolute Poker and PokerStars, after a nationwide bust on online gambling. The events are jokingly referred to now as “Black Friday.”

Eleven people were charged of bribery, fraud, and money laundering, after having allegedly tricked banks into processing funds earned through illegal gambling. Their accounts were also frozen in the crackdown.

PokerStars later announced it has reimbursed its players after the government allowed it to reopen its domain name. Full Tilt Poker was given the same permit, but the site says it’s still working on the reimbursements.  A notice on the site says they “do not have a specific time frame,” but reassures players that their money is safe.


Ivey, however, is tired of waiting. He said enough damage had been wrought on his reputation by the site owners’ lack of activity and initiative. He filed a lawsuit online against Tiltware, Full Tilt Poker’s software company and marketing manager, on behalf of the players who remain unpaid and unable to play.

One thing that does seem to be going for Full Tilt is its TV series The Poker Lounge, which is expected to make a comeback after being cancelled in light of the April events. The series, which features both Internet players and real-life poker pros, stopped airing after organizers were unable to afford production. A joint statement from Full Tilt and its production arm Presentable recently announced that filming would pick up again soon.

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