Rumours are all over the Internet that an approximate $700 million deal will see Pokerstars acquire the assets of Full Tilt via the Department for Justice (DOJ to poker players). The Bernard Tapie Group formally announced its withdrawal from talks to buy the Full Tilt which did not come as a surprise to me as talks were so drawn out it was becoming obvious there were major sticking points and a deal was looking unlikely. But is it a case of Tapie Group out, www.pokerstars.co.uk in? Many online poker players will be hoping so.
Pokerstars emerged from Black Friday one year ago with their reputation largely intact. They had structured their accounts in the correct way ensuring player funds were segregated and this allowed US players to be refunded quickly. Full Tilt were not so lucky. Bad business decisions and complacency that plenty of money would always be around meant that when backed into a corner the company collapsed. Discussions with the Bernard Tapie Group gave players hope that their money would be returned, but the Full Tilt waters were further muddied when it emerged large loans to well-known poker players remained outstanding. This was the first step towards the Tapie Group deciding this was a no-go and walking away.
The DOJ continue to discuss settlement with Pokerstars so it may not be the best move for Pokerstars to buy Full Tilt because they will inherit their liabilities to the DOJ, which are substantial. The DOJ, however, will see this as a great way of restoring some credibility to Full Tilt, get what is owed to them and move on. Pokerstars become the biggest site in the world by a greater distance and would hold the biggest real money database of poker players possible in the current market. It might be too good to the true though with Pokerstars, despite operated in Europe and being the biggest online poker site in the world by far, continues to have their own issues with the DOJ.
This story represents a rare glimmer of light at the end of the poker tunnell and, as ever, both myself and GDog hopes everyone who suffered losses as a result of the mismanagement surrounding Full Tilt Poker gets their full bankrolls returned as soon as possible.