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Doyle Brunson Talks Full Tilt Poker: Confirms Jack Binion Interest in Company

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Feb/21/2012
Doyle Brunson Talks Full Tilt Poker:  Confirms Jack Binion Interest in Company

Legendary poker pro Doyle Brunson is the latest to offer his opinion on the folks behind Full Tilt Poker who have made miserable the lives of many thousands of players over this past year.  Daniel Negreanu did the same last week.  Neither gentlemen are known to mince words. 

The company and its principals still owe millions of dollars to customers, some of whom haven’t seen a dime since the US Justice Department indicted two of Full Tilt Poker’s executives last April.  Once the world’s second largest online poker room, FTP was shut down completely last June.  Shareholders in the company included the likes of pros Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer and reports have surfaced over the months that both made out with several million dollars in funds. 

Brunson also confirmed reports that were not quite substantiated at the time that Vegas icon casino operator Jack Binion had explored purchasing Full Tilt Poker after its exit from the US market. 

Brunson writes:

I feel I was privy to things lots of people weren't because my best friend Jack Binion, was interested in buying FT and did a lot of Due diligence. I want to stress that anything I say isn't written in stone and is just my opinion. This is America and everyone can believe what they want.

Was FT guilty of gross negligence and terrible mismanagement? Yes of course but what happened and why? It's my understanding that an unknown person to the poker world Ray Bitar, was a very good friend to FT's largest stock holder Chris Ferguson. Upon Fergusons recommendation Bitar was named CEO and put his name on all the documents, BANK accounts, different corporations, etc.

FT did an amazing job of advertising and marketing under the supervision of Bitar and Howard Lederer, Lederer held the position of President of FT and was very instrumental in helping FT's remarkable growth. But remember, this was 2008 and Lederer retired from management after a year. Bitar remained in power and knew all of the inner workings of FT.

There was a board of directors, I'm not sure exactly who was on it but it was FT stockholders. The bottom line was they were poker players, not corporate executives. I can tell you for sure that poker players including myself are terrible business men. Why didn't they step in and hire a top professional person to supervise and direct business? No one has ever answered that to my knowledge.

While Brunson isn’t exactly defending either Ferguson or Lederer, he does question why other shareholders in the company are not taking their “fair share” of the blame. 

I’m not defending anyone nor am I wanting to persecute anyone. The question of how and why may never be explained to everyone's satisfaction. It seems inconceivable that the board of directors or some of the major stockholders didn't investigate the affairs of a billion dollar company. It looks like Bitar, Ferguson and Lederer are taking all the heat. Ferguson had a lot of faith in his friend Bitar. It is widely perceived that Howard Lederer was still heavily involved in running the company even though he retired two or three years earlier. I've been in contact with Lederer the last few months. When someone I've known for years, trusted and respected looks me dead in the eye and says he didn't know about the financial problems, call me a big old Texas sucker because I will believe them. I have not talked to Ferguson but I understand he says what Lederer told me, that they didn't know. There are at least 4 stockholders that own more of FT than Lederer. Where were they? The guilt should be shared IF its true Lederer and Ferguson didn't know of the financial mess.

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

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