Full Tilt Poker Most Wanted

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Full Tilt Poker

Some say time is the healer of all but in the case of Full Tilt Poker, with every passing day, the news gets worse and worse for players.  Following an April 15 indictment in the US against the company and two of its executives for bank fraud and money laundering, players in the States are yet to see a single dime.

Europeans and those across the globe just assumed this was a “US problem” and continued playing at FTP.  On Wednesday these individuals learned the hard that a leopard doesn’t change its spots just because it suddenly becomes French. 

Full Tilt Poker had its license yanked along with any ability to pay out clients residing in Europe and around the world for that matter. 

An illustration of FTP’s all too common misrepresentations, the company included on its website a message implicitly stating the site was “down for maintenance”.  Perhaps there is some degree of truth to that statement, but it is misleading nonetheless.  Customers were left wondering when this so-called “maintenance” might conclude.  They were flocking to the Gambling911.com site throughout the last 24 hours seeking answers. 

Those affected by this crisis are beginning to see Full Tilt Poker associates as villains.  Some of them quite very well could be. 

Let’s take a look at the Who’s Who of Full Tilt Poker.


Raymond Bitar – Apparently from what we understand, Bitar is target number one of the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York and its leader Arlo Devlin-Brown. 

Keeping in mind that Gambling911.com filed a Motion to Intervene over two years ago in an effort to unseal court documents related to this case sensing at the time this was going to be catastrophic for the online poker sector, we have always enjoyed some degree of communication with those involved in this case.  That said, Devlin-Brown has long stayed tight-lipped.  This despite Gambling911.com being rewarded access to said court documents by the Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain. 

Judge Taylor Swain’s decision was supposed to require the US Attorney’s Office to notify Gambling911.com ahead of any upcoming “developments” in the investigation related to Full Tilt Poker.  While that clearly didn’t happen, savvy readers of the site could observe we knew something was about to go down just hours before the “Black Friday” news broke as another media outlet, the Courier News, got wind of something big about to happen the days leading up to Black Friday.  Here is the article we had published the morning of “Black Friday” after lengthy discussions with the Courier News’ Paul Toohey.

What we don’t know about the activity in the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York offers some glimpse into what Raymond Bitar is up against.

Mr. Devlin-Brown, we are told, is fairly determined to get his man and won’t let anything get in the way of that (including a Motion to Intervene where the US Attorney was kind enough to reveal the names of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars while essentially redacting everything else). 

The multi-million dollar fines mentioned as part of the complaint can be viewed as a mere afterthought. 

“Unlike what went down in Baltimore where the US Attorney there clearly wanted money, setting up a payment processing sting operation, Arlo wants prison time,” a source close to Gambling911.com said. 

This can’t bode well for Bitar, who reportedly spent more time day trading than paying attention to his flawed online poker room. 

Bitar remains on the lam but it is quite obvious the US Attorney’s Office wants him badly.  They have already seized a few of his homes in the US. 

Bitar and another company executive are alleged to have laundered money through a bank they invested in, disguising online poker transactions as sale of golf balls and dog food. 

Devlin-Brown works just a few blocks away from Ground Zero in Manhattan.  I’m sure the millions of golf balls being processed through a tiny Utah bank wasn’t going to catch his attention while that office is always watching out for suspicious bank transactions potentially linked to terrorism, you dope!


Howard Lederer – As the main talking head for Full Tilt Poker, it should come as little surprise Lederer is being sought out by angry poker players and could ultimately take the fall in the same vein as Miss Cleo back in the 1990’s, touting the infamous Psychic Friends Network.  Neither Lederer or Miss Cleo had ownership stakes in their respective companies, but they were the face of those companies. 

Oh but wait, Lederer may have had his hand in the cookie jar a little bit deeper than Miss Cleo.

Lederer is reported to be one of the founders, co-owners and CEOs of "Tiltware Inc", which created Full Tilt Poker.  The corporate structure is so complicated, Lederer’s actual “ownership” role (assuming there really is one) could be viewed as quite a stretch.

Then again, living in the US, boasting about one’s “close association” to FTP and doing this all post-UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) – and it is safe to say – giving the finger to the likes of Arlo Devlin-Brown – might very well make Lederer an easy target.

Gambling911.com has already reported on how the US Attorney’s Office had considered going after the Full Tilt Poker pros.

This would be a public relations disaster, however.  Lederer, as opposed to a massively popular Phil Ivey (another Team Full Tilt Poker pro) could become the sacrificial lamb for whom the public probably won’t give a damn. 

Lederer last week was located and approached by the folks from Quadjacks.com still speaking on behalf of Full Tilt and using the word “We”.

His only remarks while attempting to get into his luxury vehicle:  That a comment will be provided “When we are ready”.


Michele Clayborne – The handler of the Full Tilt Poker pros, a so-called “consultant” for the company whose job it is to ensure FTP gets “good” PR instead has chosen over the years to isolate her company from industry media outlets like Gambling911.com.

A few years back, G911 refused her demand to remove an article citing a Pokerati.com report that Full Tilt Poker had approached notorious cheater and World Series of Poker winner Russ Hamilton.

She could have been cursing him out for all we know but Ms. Clayborne absolutely refused to clarify whether there was any such discussion with Hamilton and, if so, what that discussion may have entailed.

Instead, her response to us was:  “If you don’t take down that article you will never speak to any of our Full Tilt poker pros”.

Needless-to-say, we never spoke to any of her Full Tilt Poker pros after that incident.  Alas, the article never came down.  We haven’t lost any sleep over it either.

Ms. Clayborne will be thrilled to know she is a bona fide star now.  Gambling911.com received a few hundred searches for her name yesterday from all across the world immediately following Full Tilt Poker having its license yanked. 

Clayborne in recent weeks has gained notoriety for assuming the role of a former male FTP representative, appearing on popular posting forums like Two Plus Two, providing hope to suffering US players.  FTPDoug for years was the “trusted” intermediary between the company and players. 

This latest faux pas from Full Tilt Poker is reminiscent of the classic sci fi horror film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, minus the body since nobody quite knows what has become of the “real” FTPDoug. 

Once Clayborne leaves FTP, she might be wise to consider a job with Ringling Bros as a circus handler.  She’s already got the experience, both in terms of the “handling” and cleaning up/stepping in all the shit. 


Patrik Antonius – Antonius held a “very public” three-figure tennis match with a fellow poker player.  All the while players Stateside were still waiting to be paid by Full Tilt Poker. 

Why would he care?  Antonius is from Finland and Full Tilt Poker continued to pay its European customers like clockwork (albeit the clock did not always keep correct time).

Now Antonius is in the same boat as his fellow US pros and thousands of other players who can’t get their monies out of Full Tilt Poker.

Hopefully he donated the monies won from that tennis match to a charity, but somehow we doubt it.  And we won’t know since Clayborne won’t allow him to speak to us.

Antonius doesn’t have anywhere to play right now, but at least he can still model.

Hey Patrik, did you hear of maybe “protesting” against Full Tilt Poker over these past few months while all those US players were getting screwed?

God, you’re such a tool, but at least my lovely wife Sadhvi still finds you adorable. 


- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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