Pokerstars Buys Full Tilt Poker for $750m, Tapie Taps Out


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Full Tilt Poker bought by Pokerstars, for $750 million dollars? Is this a late April Fools joke… or maybe not.

When I woke up this morning, it seemed like a normal day. I cooked my eggs, nuked my oatmeal, and heated up a cup of coffee before heading to the office. I typically read the headlines, okay fine… I typically log into Facebook, and find out what my friends wrote when they were drunk the night prior. Facebook is also a great place to find the latest news. I scrolled deep into my news feed and came across, nothing seemingly interesting, until…

So, I login to my office computer and, almost as soon as I login to Skype, am bombarded by messages with links to rumors, news articles, and press releases about Full Tilt Poker being bought out by Pokerstars, for $750 million. “Could it be true?” I thought to myself. I did some more research and it seems that everybody is talking about Pokerstars buying Full Tilt Poker.

At the time this was written, nobody knows for sure. However, Pokerstars made an announcement in their software:

Pokerstars Buys Full Tilt Poker

I went on to read poker articles stating that Groupe Bernard Tapie regretfully announced that their efforts to work with the US Department of Justice was a failure, and how there were two major issues that they parties could not come to agreement on:

  1. Repayment play of ROW players
  2. Legal complications

First, the Tapie group had spent over six months negotiating with the Department of Justice, and had proposed a repayment play in which player balances would be returned immediately, and players would be given a right to withdraw the funds over time. The timeframe and amount that each player could withdraw had some contingencies however. For example, the amount of funds the player had, and the post reinstatement activity would be taken into consideration in the Bernard Tapie plan. The proposed plan would have allowed 94.9% of ROW players to fully withdraw their funds on the first day of reinstatement. The Department of Justice declined such proposal and countered that full repayment with withdrawal rights should given to players within 90 days, a proposal that was made in the final days of the Bernard Tapie / Full Tilt Poker purchase agreement.

Secondly, the deal was complicated by unresolvable legal complications that surrounded the Tapie / Full Tilt Poker deal. Mainly due to unanswered questions surrounding the legality of the forfeiture under non-US laws. All of Full Tilt Poker’s assets lie outside of the United States, so a forfeiture may not even be legal, and Full Tilt Poker could force the issue of a fraudulent transaction taking place for the economical benefit of the negotiating parties.

Will Pokerstars Buy Full Tilt Poker?

The price on the table with Tapie and the Department of Justice was $80 million, but a large amount of cash would be needed to relaunch the Full Tilt Poker brand, as well as to repair the damage that had been done to Full Tilt Poker’s brand image. I can only speculate that Pokerstars is taking these legal issues and large amount of capital needed into consideration. From the articles that I’ve read today, it seems that Pokerstars is looking at spending a total of about $750 million on buying Full Tilt Poker.

Will Players Get Their Money Back If Pokerstars Buys Full Tilt Poker?

Pokerstars is a very well capitalized and well managed company. We saw that on April 15, 2011 on Black Friday. Pokerstars held player funds in a completely separate account and had their US poker players paid out within just weeks of the indictments. If Pokerstars purchases Full Tilt Poker, you will most certainly see your money, and you will see it fast.

Who would have thought that online poker would come down to this? It was just over a year ago that the Big Four online poker sites were indicted, and during that year, the man on the main stage was Bernard Tapie.

If Pokerstars Buys Full Tilt Poker, is it a good thing?

Perhaps not. Think about it, Pokerstars is already a the giant of all giant online poker sites. Should Pokerstars acquire the entire database of players that Full Tilt Poker had, it will have approximately 43% of the online poker market share, an industry that is worth multi-billions of dollars per year. When you give a single player all the cards in a competitive corporate setting, you begin to develop what could be a monopoly. In a monopoly, the company that holds the products or services pretty much gets to set their own prices. If you want to use that product, you’re stuck playing by their rules. Pokerstars could acquire Full Tilt Poker and do things such as shrink poker bonuses, charge higher rakes, and cut affiliate partners out of their marketing strategy. Who needs affiliates when you have a database of poker players that accounts for almost half of the online poker players in the entire world?

Next up to pay us back are Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. Will they follow suit, or are their hands folded forever?

With all this said and done – you should consider opening an account at PokerStars and playing there as you might be able to get you money back from Full Tilt via Stars. With that said, make sure you use the bonus code: PSA3321 in order to get your initial deposit bonus of 100% up to $600 via MacPokerOnline.

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