Phil Ivey Suing Full Tilt Poker for $150 Million

June 16, 2011

Phil Ivey was one of the nine final table participants in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event, though he didn’t win that year, he took in two bracelets. Last year, he won his 8th bracelet making him the fifth highest bracelet winner for WSOP bracelets and giving him a $5.3 million total WSOP lifetime earnings making him the 13th all-time WSOP winner, but this year, he won’t be attending the WSOP. Ivey, along with a select few of other poker pros has decided to boycott the series this year.

“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,” Ivey commented in a statement.

But that’s not all, Ivey, who was once known as the Tiger Woods of poker, has filed suit against Tiltware LLC, parent company of his sponsor, Full Tilt Poker for $150 million for “irreparably” damaging his reputation.

Ivey claims that since Full Tilt used “fraudulent methods” to skirt around the laws that pertain to banking and online gambling transactions and have not made attempts to return funds owed to former Full Tilt Poker players that was seized along with their rights to play on Black Friday, he blames Full Tilt for breeching their agreement to provide “software and related support for the conduct of legal online poker” to him.

“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,” said Ivey.

According to the suit filed by Ivey against Tiltware, LLC in Nevada’s Clark County court, Full Tilt owes approximately $150 to their former US players who loyally trusted and played on their site for years. Ivey contends that Full Tilt did not maintain sufficient reserves to account for players’ funds. And because these funds have not been returned to players, Ivey claims he will not be present at the WSOP tournaments this year.

Since February of 2004, Ivey has engaged in a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker through which he has endorsed the brand and been in a non-compete agreement that prevents him from investing in or playing on a competitive brand site.

Full Tilt Poker’s response to Ivey was less than amiable. They stated, “Contrary to his sanctimonious public statements, Phil Ivey’s meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player – himself. In an effort to further enrich himself at the expense of others, Mr. Ivey appears to have timed his lawsuit to thwart pending deals with several parties that would put money back in players’ pockets.”

Full Tilt continued, “In fact, Mr. Ivey has been invited — and has declined — to take actions that could assist the company in these efforts, including paying back a large sum of money he owes the site.”

David Chesnoff, Ivey’s star attorney who has assisted other celebs in the past such as Paris Hildton, offered no comment, and Full Tilt had no additional comments to offer as well.

Daniel Negreanu, PokerStar sponsored pro says of Ivey, “I admire that he’s willing to give up something like the WSOP, that I know is so important to him, for what he thinks is principally right.”

However, not everyone agrees with Ivey. High-stakes poker pro, Andrew Robl wrote in his blog that “Phil Ivey is one of the primary equity holders of Full Tilt and has profited off their business more than almost anyone. If he really cared about the players he would pledge to return every cent of the MILLIONS of dollars he’s made from Full Tilt to the players as like Tom Dwan (who is not a owner) has done.”

Dwan, also a member of Team Full Tilt said that he would take his earnings incurred from Full Tilt Poker and used them to repay players who did not receive refunds of their player accounts.



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