News emerged this week that stunned the poker community. Apparently the deal we all thought was going through between Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) and Full Tilt Poker had gone sour and the new suitor was none other than online poker giant PokerStars?
The news broke on internet forum twoplustwo through a post by a user who had never posted before. It looked for all the world like another hoax, but heads started to turn when forum moderators decided to leave the thread up, stating that they had corroborating stories from trusted sources to suggest that there might just be some truth to the rumour. For the rest of the day, Twitter was the main source for information on the story. The first indication came from the Tapie group who confirmed through a statement that the deal had indeed fallen through, due to the fact that they couldn’t agree a deal with the US Department of Justice over how American players who had funds on the site should be refunded. In the same release, GBT cited sabotage as part of the reason that the deal fell through.
Later in the day, the most credible piece of evidence that PokerStars were stepping in came from the CEO of Chili Gaming Alex Dreyfus who tweeted:
Pokerstars buys FullTilt for a consideration of $750m, including settlement with DOJ and full balances of players (330m). I’m impressed.
PokerStars however have said nothing on the subject, and taken a ‘no comment’ line in the media. High profile players like Daniel Negreanu who expressed surprise when the story broke has said nothing since. The fact that there has been no denial from PokerStars leads us to believe there must be at least some truth to the story.
While some are heralding ‘Stars as the white knights of online poker, others are worried that the acquisition of Full Tilt would give them a complete stranglehold over the online poker industry and put them in a position of monopolistic dominance which would ultimately be bad for the industry. Its likely that we’re going to have to suffer radio-silence for a while before we find out the truth behind this story.