In a move that is bound to loft him even higher in the eyes of his many fans, poker pro Phil Ivey has announced that he is not playing in the World Series of Poker until Full Tilt Poker resolves pay outs to its customers.
Ivey, one of poker's biggest stars and a long time member of "Team Full Tilt," has been pretty quiet since the Black Friday Department of Justice seizures of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. But now It looks as though the 8-time bracelet winner is taking up the cause of the people by working to settle the millions of player accounts that he believes Full Tilt has handled poorly.
Just a week after the initial crackdown on the big three sites, the DOJ announced that they had come to domain agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt. They decided to open the .com domains back up to facilitate fund returns. By the end of April, PokerStars was slowly beginning to process cashouts.
Full Tilt has drawn the ire of many players for their handling of the situation. It was not until the middle of May that the company contacted customers regarding refunds. This was the first mention of cashouts that Full Tilt customers received following the April 15th shutdowns. The vague email made the statement "We apologize for the delay and the fact that we underestimated the time it would take to work through these issues."
Phil Ivey is not pleased with Full Tilt and has made an announcement via multiple Facebook posts:
For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.
I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm.
I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.
My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.
I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.
I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.
According to BLUFF Ivey was a no-show at the $25,000 heads-up event on the opening day of the WSOP, prompting many to wonder about his whereabouts, as he was expected to compete in the event. Everyone got their answer last night as these Facebook posts began rolling in around 11 pm EST.
The rest of the Poker World has responded to the announcement via Twitter:
If this whole Phil Ivey press release is real, frown for not having Ivey in the series. He's so fascinating. Only player ppl still fear.
I'm laughing at the people who think it "suits Phil" to release a statement via Facebook. That is the OPPOSITE of Phil Ivey.
I have mixed feelings about @philivey 's announcement... Not sure what to think. Sad we won't get to see him perform. Pretty shocking
What do you think about the announcement? Everything about Phil Ivey in the past suggests that he is a truly genuine person. This decision to sit out the WSOP comes at great financial and emotional cost to him, I'm sure. Is he right to go to bat for the common poker player? Or would you rather see him in action at the WSOP?[Photo Courtesy of Ivey's Twitter Account]