Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Norbert No-Show: Bwin.Party Boss Teufelberger Skips French Court Date

From the "Do as I say, not as I do" department comes the tale of CEO Norbert Teufelberger, who was in the news for recent days for skipping a court date in France for a hearing on his and fellow ex-bwin executive alum Manfred Bodner overseeing of bwin's illicit bookmaking activities in France in the middle of last decade.

Teufelberger and Bodner were arrested by French authorities back in 2006 for operating in France without a license.  It's not the only time Teufelberger has run afoul of European law and licensing requirements; he was also detained last November in neighboring Belgium on a similar national complaint, this time taking bets from Belgian punters, again without the requisite licensing.  It's a common theme for and the organization the company leads, EGBA: Licenses are only needed when convenient. was also among the leaders of the European online-gambling world's exodus from British climes to Gibraltar, purely for tax-shelter reasons.

As for Teufelberger, he was supposed to show up in person for the latest French hearing but dispatched his lawyers instead, according to a recent CalvinAyre report.  That behavior drew the ire of presiding French judge Magali Tabareau, who reiterated that Teufelberger must appear in person, and set a new court date for April of 2014.

Whether or not Teufelberger complies is anyone's guess, since he and his company,, have that longstanding reputation of being international scofflaws in such matters.  Worse, as the CA piece correctly notes, is that the scofflaw antics end exactly where someone else's behavior enters a legal grey area, as in's (and before that, PartyPoker's) repeated attacks on PokerStars for offering online poker in the the US, post-UIGEA.

Settlements with the US notwithstanding, it's safe to say that the actual offering of poker by PokerStars was more legally clean than the old PartyGaming's activities, which included being the first major US-facing site back then to include online blackjack within its poker client.  Parent PartyGaming also allowed US players to participate briefly in two other gambling ventures of even more dubious legality, PartyCasino (online slots and casino games) and PartyMarkets (betting on elections and the like), so the claims they've made over the years about various rivals' supposedly illicit activities are best viewed as an effing joke.

Then again, even was wise enough to part ways with Teufelberger's former co-CEO, James Ryan.  Ryan's stained tenure with UltimateBet ownership entity Excapsa posed a possible threat to's ongoing plans to return to the US market, which were in the news last week when the company announced tentative plans to slither into the upcoming New Jersey online-poker scene. is one massively hypocritical company the US could do without, though whether New Jersey regulators have the common sense to give them the cold shoulder remains to be seen.

Robert Williamson III in Vodka Lawsuit with "Real Housewives" Star

Sometimes the weirdest stories just pop up out of the blue.  This weekend's example: Veteran poker player Robert Williamson III has filed a lawsuit against a longtime cast member of the "Real Housewives of Orange County," Vicki Gunvalson.

Gunvalson is the only remaining member of the long-running Bravo series' original cast, which is now entering its ninth season.  (I've never seen it, being allergic to such cheesy faux Hollywood-lifestyle reality shows.)

Anyhow, RW III has issued a statement of sorts on the purported dissolution of the company making the Gunvalson-fronted hooch, Vicki's Vodka, claiming that statements made by Gunvalson that she's shutting down the operation can't be true, because Williamson is the majority owner.

The following statement was published on PR Newswire by a paid publicist hired by Williamson.  It shouldn't be treated as the gospel truth, even though it's been reported as such in a couple of small outlets without note of the story's source and obvious bias.

"... Explains How He was Set up" [sic], LOL.

Still, it's a cute read.  Umm, Robert?  Next time, don't forget to put the name of the company in your hack piece.  Whether it's true or not hasn't emerged as yet.  Readers, enjoy...:

Majority Owner Of Vicki's Vodka Says Real Housewives' Vicki Gunvalson Can't Pull The Plug On Vicki's Vodka; She Doesn't Have Controlling Interest

Robert Williamson III's Lawsuit Explains How He was Set up

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The attorney for Robert Williamson III, Stan Johnson, says he is at a complete loss in trying to understand Vicki Gunvalson's outlandish published claim that she is "Pulling the plug" on the Vicki's Vodka project because the majority owner of the company is Robert Williamson III.

Johnson says Williamson, a professional poker player, invested more than $300,000 dollars into Vicki's Vodka. Vicki Gunvalson invested approximately $12,500. When the project imploded, Williamson filed a federal lawsuit against Gunvalson, her sometimes boyfriend Brooks Ayers and others alleging fraud, civil conspiracy and breach of contract in addition to other serious claims.

The reason that the lawsuits were filed is that Vicki did not honor her original contract to Vicki's Vodka nor her settlement agreement that was initiated by her and her publicist Richard Heard.
"Her latest public statement is nothing more than an obvious charade," said Johnson. "It is absolutely clear who owns Vicki's Vodka and who is supposed to have operational control over the project. Gunvalson has stated in a written, signed, and notarized agreement that Williamson owns 66.7% of the project, she owns the remaining equity. She also agreed not to interfere in day-to-day operations. She doesn't have the ability to 'pull the plug' and it's pretty clear she knows that."

According to the lawsuit, Gunvalson tried to repair the business relationship with Williamson, as recently as July 15th of this year, signing a settlement agreement to pay him $121,000 and agreeing to strict performance standards for her promotion of the company. The lawsuit alleges Gunvalson breached the agreement almost immediately.

The company has a tortured history. The lawsuit states that one of the founders who originally owned one third of the company, Michael Nicholson, returned his equity to Williamson and Gunvalson in August 2012 because "Nicholson had misused and/or could not account for company funds." Williamson and Gunvalson once again became 50-50 partners. That ended when Gunvalson gave 16.67% of her ownership of the company to her on-again-off-again boyfriend Brooks Ayers.

According to the lawsuit, Ayers then asked Williamson to buy Ayers' shares because he owed child support and back payments to the IRS also, and if he did not immediately make a payment to both of them, he was imminently facing jail time.

The lawsuit states that Gunvalson repeatedly asked Williamson to purchase Brooks Ayers' shares for $50,000 in the best interest of the company; Williamson then paid and took over Brooks 16.67% of the company.

"That was the biggest mistake of my life," said Williamson. "Since that time, Vicki has been completely unresponsive and ineffective in marketing from the day that she and Brooks got the final payment."

"I have complete faith in the judicial system and based on the facts and truths, I have absolute confidence that justice will prevail and that the wrongs committed against me will be made right," said Williamson.

Robert Williamson III is a world-class poker player who has a World Series of Poker bracelet that he won in 2002, among other titles. He created and headlines the "Derby Poker Championship" a nationally recognized charity poker event at the Kentucky Derby that is attended by more than 1,000 of the biggest charitable donors in the sport of horse racing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 Poker Hall of Fame Finalists Announced

World Series of Poker officials have announced the 2013 list of ten finalists for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame.  Seven of the ten have been nominated before, and six of those seven return from the 2012 finalists' ballot, when Eric Drache and the late Sailor Roberts were honored.  These were the top ten vote-getters based on fan nominations, which had been available for a couple of months this summer on the site.

The six returnees from last year's crop of finalists are Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Thor Hamsen, Jennifer Harman, Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen, while a seventh, Huckleberry Seed, returns to the final 10 after last being considered as a finalist in 2011.  These seven are joined by three first-timers: Humberto Brenes, Carlos Mortensen and Mike Matusow.

Final voting is done by a panel of 37 poker veterans, consisting of 19 living members of the PHOF and 18 members of the poker media.  The rules for nomination and enshrinement have been tweaked a bit in recent years, since Caesars (formerly Harrah's) acquired the PHOF brand; the latest tweaks include an age-40 minimum, and finalist-voting rules designed to ensure that two people are added almost every year.

Here are the complete requirements for enshrinement, which are what the panelists are supposed to consider when making their votes:

• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition;
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination;
• Played for high stakes;
• Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers;
• Stood the test of time;
• Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

As happens with the fan-based nomination process, all living players were nominated, although in recent years removals and substitutions have been made to give the list more of a historic flavor.  This time around, however, no deceased players or industry people have been added to the final ten, guaranteeing that the WSOP will have one or two warm bodies on hand to receive the honor, with a ceremony held in conjunction with this year's WSOP main event final table in November.

Gambling Legend Archie Karas Arrested for Blackjack Card Marking

Gambling legend Archie Karas (real name Anargyros Karabourniotis) was arrested in Nevada on Tuesday and extradited to California on charges of cheating at the San Diego-area Barona Casino.  Karas was alleged to have gained roughly $8,000 through illicit play at the Barona tables, making "subtle" marks on cards that were still significant enough to be identified on the casino's security cameras after the Barona staff became suspicious over Karas's wins.

The kicker to the tale emerged in follow-up reports, in which a Nevada gaming official confirmed that Karas / Karabourniotis has already been arrested four times for gaming offenses in Nevada, though probably none at Harrah's properties, since he was able to cash in a WSOP event as recently as this past summer.

Karas, of course, has one of the most famous histories in all of Nevada gambling lore, having run up his last $50 in cash to at least $17 million -- and perhaps as high as $40 million -- before blowing it all in less than a year.  By the middle of 1995 Karas was broke, though forever a part of Vegas gambling history, courtesy of what is known as "The Run."  Karas won most of his money at blackjack -- though the latest charges, if true, will add a small question mark to the legitimacy of the "run" itself.

Karas did more than play blackjack, however.  In addition to those exploits, in which several Las Vegas casinos closed their tables to him, he also took on the top Vegas poker pros in high-stakes heads-up matches, and was a top-level pool shark as well.  Karas had worked in a California pool hall for several years before his fateful trip to Las Vegas, and for a couple of years in the early '90s he was the toast of the town.

As I mentioned in another feature I wrote, I talked with Karas a few times during the 2008 WSOP, in which he was backed into several events by an unnamed benefactor.  That marked a return of sorts for Karas, who'd bounced around for years after his halcyon days, and presumably returned to just that after '08 and a nice $54,000 score during the '09 WSOP, which wouldn't have lasted him long.

The Karas I met was a quiet, soft-spoken type, who could sit down in a buffet absolutely anonymously, surrounded by rollers unaware of his famous past.  I remember him getting upset because his end-of-day chip count had been misreported by a PN staffer, and he was worried it would upset his unspecified backer.  (Instead of the "300" that had been reported, which literally put him in last place entering Day 2 of the main event, he had something like 30,000.  I fixed it.)

But Karas was seemingly up to something else in recent years, if he's been in trouble that often.  Nevada Gaming Commission security honcho Karl Bennison, told a San Diego TV station that Karas had been investigated many times and arrested on four separate occasions, calling Karas a "threat to the gaming industry in many jurisdictions."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Leo Fernandez Suspended from Team PokerStars, Account Sharing Alleged on Forums

One of the South American members of Team PokerStars, Argentina's Leo Fernandez, has been suspended from the site for a period alleged to be six months after unspecified violations of the site's terms and conditions (ToC).  The news was originally broken by Spanish-language poker site, which covered the recent LAPT Panama, where a patchless Fernandez participated.

Allegations regarding the reasons for Fernandez cluttered a major 2+2 discussion thread about the Argentinian, a global tournament traveler and cash-game player whose first big score was a fifth in a 2009 EPT high-rollers event for more than $160,000.  That something did happen regarding Fernandez was confirmed by PokerStars reps, however, one of whom told SuperPoker, "Leo made ​​a big mistake that we didn't agree and of which we cannot speak right now."  However, Stars' official page for Fernandez remains up and active as of this posting, with no mention of the suspension.

What that mistake might have been could be allowing other players to participate on Fernandez's sponsored PokerStars account, with Dan "mrgr33n13" Coleman among the accusers and several posters on multiple forums claiming that Fernandez friend Fabrizio Gonzalez might be sharing the account.  Additional allegations surfaced concerning suspect and possible collusion play involving Fernandez in some of Stars highly-promoted "Home Games" offerings, which if true, would be plenty of reason to draw Stars' ire.

If only it was the first skirmish for Fernandez, but it's not.  Poker veterans remember Fernandez, fellow Argentinian player Veronica Dabul, and two unnamed others being targeting by the Wynn Casino in a $700,000 lawsuit a couple of years back.  That lawsuit alleged team cheating at craps by Fernandez, Dabul and the others, including the "sliding" of dice by Fernandez while Dabul and the other allegedly distracted the croupiers.  No resolution of that lawsuit was ever publicized, however, though it's a safe bet that the team's members are no longer welcome at Wynn properties.

While everyone can make a mistake, the allegations regarding Fernandez tend to paint him as equal-opportunity, repeating cheat across multiple forms of gaming, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the six-month suspension purportedly dished out by Stars turned into a permanent form of severance.

Stutz's Shoddy LVJR Reporting Slammed by Wicked Chops

An interesting twist on the "crap poker writing" theme has emerged in recent days courtesy of old standby blog Wicked Chops Poker, which has accused prominent Las Vegas Review-Journal gaming reporter Howard Stutz of doing a shoddy job of reporting on the recent WSOP press conference in connection with the launch of the new online poker site.

As excrutiatingly detailed in the Chops report, Stutz essentially made up quotes out of thin air and destroyed the meaning and content of others in doing a writeup on the WSOP presser.  Here's one example, first with the real quote, as recorded and later transcribed by Chops, who also attended the virtual press conference:

“We expect to be competitive because we know what players want,” Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber said during a media conference call Monday. “We’ve been talking with players and we listened to what they said that they want to see in the online game.”

And as reported by Stutz:

“We’re not out to talk about our competitors, but we’ve certainly watched the offering. We expect to be at least as competitive and we understand what players want. We’ve been listening to players. When we went about signing up players at the WSOP at the Rio, and as Geoff Stewart mentioned we signed up 12,000 players, that’s 12,000 people that told us what they were waiting for, what they were expecting, what they didn’t like, what they did like.” 

That's goddamn awful, and it's one of several gross examples cited in the WCP piece.  This is a strong indicator of two things: (1) that Stutz had already decided what the story was and decided to change a few quotes around to fit that slant; and (2) that Stutz was writing to a predetermined story length or a pre-set number of column inches and decided that... ahem... such liberal reinterpretation of such quotes was okay.

In case you're wondering about the WCP fire toward Stutz and the LVRJ, there's some history there as well.  It was the LVRJ who contracted with Las Vegas attorney Steve Gibson and Gibson's made-up copyright-protection firm, Righthaven, to file more than 200 bogus plagiarism lawsuits against mostly small bloggers... one of whom was Wicked Chops Poker.

Righthaven and the LVJR got sand pounded up their asses in court, and Gibson and Righthaven slimed their way back under the desert rocks, leaving hundreds of thousands in unpaid court fees at last report.  So for any LVJR writer, including Stutz, thinking that they're not going to be put under fire for their own shitty writing practices would be a pipe dream.  Ain't gonna happen.

Then again, plagiarism and bad reporting remain the twin literary evils of the poker world.  It's unusual in this case only because it was a prominent news outlet, instead of the usual bottom feeders such as or, where plagiarism and content theft have been an endemic practice for years.  This LVJR piece represents the other end of extreme, showing that they as a news outlet -- and Stutz in particular -- really need to clean up their acts.  Instead they'll probably complain about the logo above being used in connection with this report, when it's a crystal-clear example of "fair use" in an editorial piece, to visually identify them and their bad practices as the focus of the story.  See how that's done?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Complete Text of Garden City Group Full Tilt Claims Notice

Your loyal blogger has received the official Full Tilt Poker claims notification from DOJ-appointed claims administrator Garden City Group.  Since I don't remember applying for the few pennies I had on account at FTP on Black Friday, it's an indication the GCG may be sending out the letter to all known players registered with US addresses, as they existed in the FTOP database.

Important for all players: Check your Spam folders to find your copy.  Mine went to a Yahoo! e-address and was directed to the Spam folder, whereupon I retrieved it for further examination.

Here's the complete sample text, with control and petition numbers (unique to each player) removed:  Yours should be similar.  The actual application process, as we've posted previously, is scheduled to open on Wednesday.  I may go ahead and check to see what my balance is, as all players should do, and if mine is higher than 12 or 14 cents, I'd be amazed....

. . . . . . . . . . .

TO:         United States Full Tilt Poker Players Who Were Victims of Full Tilt Poker’s Fraud
I.        Purpose of this Notice
       The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that you may be entitled to receive a distribution from the assets forfeited by Full Tilt Poker (the “FTP Fund”), which resulted from the settlement agreement resolving the allegations in the amended civil forfeiture complaint in United States v. PokerStars, et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS), pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (the “Action”).  You must complete the online Petition filing process in accordance with the steps in this Notice in order to be potentially eligible to share in the distribution from the FTP Fund.  This Notice is being sent to all potentially eligible victims of FTP’s fraud who have been identified by The Garden City Group, Inc. (“GCG”), the Claims Administrator retained by the United States, utilizing data supplied by FTP.  As explained in greater detail below, Petitions for Remission must be completed online through the administration website at
Petition Number: *******
Control Number: **********
II.        Background
       In July 2012, the United States entered into settlement agreements with FTP and PokerStars, two of the three online poker companies named as defendants in the Action brought by the United States alleging bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses.  Under the terms of the settlement with FTP, the company agreed to forfeit virtually all of its assets to the United States in order to fully resolve the Action.  The amended complaint filed in the Action alleged that FTP defrauded its players by misrepresenting to the public that player funds held by FTP were safe, secure and available for withdrawal at any time.  In reality, the company did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all of its players and instead, utilized player funds to finance more than $400 million in dividend payments to FTP's owners.
      Under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars (the "PokerStars Settlement"), the company agreed, among other things, to forfeit $547 million to the United States and to assume FTP's liability for the approximately $184 million owed by FTP to foreign players.  The PokerStars Settlement also provides that PokerStars will acquire Full Tilt’s forfeited assets from the Government and precludes PokerStars from offering online poker for real money in the United States unless and until it becomes permissible to do so under relevant law.
       Utilizing funds forfeited from PokerStars, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (“AFMLS”) of the United States Department of Justice have established a Petition process by which eligible U.S. fraud victims can seek compensation for their losses.
III.         Eligibility Criteria
       To qualify for a payment from the FTP Fund, you must satisfy certain eligibility criteria described below.  Those criteria include the following:
    1. You must be a U.S. citizen or you must have resided in the United States at the time of playing on the FTP gaming site.
    2. You did not receive compensation as a foreign FTP player in connection with the PokerStars Settlement.
    3. You must have deposited funds into an account with FTP.
    4. Your account with FTP must reflect a balance owed by FTP to you as of April 15, 2011.
    5. You are excluded from participation in the remission process if you are:

      • A past or present employee of FTP or any of its past or present affiliates;
      • A past or present vendor of FTP that received compensation through FTP players’ accounts;
      • A past or present Team Full Tilt player;
      • A past or present shareholder of FTP, Tiltware LLC, Kolyma Corporation A.V.V., Pocket Kings Ltd., Pocket Kings Consulting Ltd., Filco Ltd., Vantage Ltd., Ranston Ltd., Mail Media Ltd., or Full Tilt Poker Ltd.;
      • A past or present officer or director of FTP, Tiltware LLC, Kolyma Corporation A.V.V., Pocket Kings Ltd., Pocket Kings Consulting Ltd., Filco Ltd., Vantage Ltd., Ranston Ltd., Mail Media Ltd., or Full Tilt Poker Ltd., or any of their past or present affiliates;
      • A defendant in any civil action or a claimant in any forfeiture action brought by the Department of Justice related to the violations alleged in this action, or any related action (or any of his or her affiliates, assigns, heirs, distributees, spouses, parents, children, or controlled entities); or
      • A person who, as of the Bar Date, has been the subject of criminal charges related to the violations alleged in this action, or any related action (or any of his or her affiliates, assigns, heirs, distributees, spouses, parents, children, or controlled entities).
      Please be advised that receipt of this Notice does not indicate that you have been determined to be eligible to participate in the FTP Petition for Remission process; if AFMLS determines at any time, before or after you submit a Petition, that you are not eligible for remission, your Petition will be denied.
IV.        The Distribution Formula
       The amount that an Eligible Petitioner is entitled to receive will equal the final balance in the Petitioner’s account with FTP as of April 15, 2011 (the “FTP Account Balance”).  You may view your FTP Account Balance through the online claim filing process at  Once you log on using the Petition Number and Control Number set forth above, you will receive directions for accessing your account information and filing a petition and/or disputing the reported account balance.  
         If the funds available for distribution from the FTP Fund equal or exceed the aggregate FTP Account Balances for all eligible Petitioners, each eligible Petitioner with an approved claim shall receive the entirety of his or her FTP Account Balance.  If the aggregate FTP Account Balances for all eligible Petitioners exceed the monies available for distribution, payments shall be made to eligible Petitioners on a pro rata basis.
       Prior to the payment of funds to a Petitioner, GCG will provide the Petitioner’s Social Security or other Taxpayer Identification Number to the Government, in order to offset and collect any qualifying debts currently listed in the Treasury Offset Program Database.
V.         Online Filing Deadline
VI.         Petition Determinations
       GCG will email to each Petitioner AFMLS’s determination concerning his or her Petition.  If a Petition is denied in whole or in part, GCG will state the reason for such denial and the Petitioner can appeal the ruling through the reconsideration process.

Caesars Interactive has announced that the new real-money online poker site will go live for Nevada residents on Thursday, September 19th at 9:19 a.m. Pacific Time (PT).  The site will also be available to visitors to the state while they are within the state's boundaries, pending ID and location verification.  Both PC and Mac versions will be available

The site, which as with the UK Caesars/WSOP offerings, will be powered by the 888 Holdings software platform.  888 has entered partnerships with several major American casino companies, and has become well positioned to be a dominant force in the future US online-poker market... quite a turnaround for a company once known as the worst spammers in all of online gaming.

As for, it will indeed be the sole online home for US-based qualifiers to the live World Series of Poker, and will be kicking things off modestly in its first week, with promotions including $700 in Welcome Week Freerolls for early registrants, $1,000 and $2,500 nightly guaranteed tournaments, and a special Sunday tournament each week, beginning September 29 and guaranteeing $15,000 in payouts.

The launch makes the second real-money player in the regulated Nevada market, joining Ultimate Poker, which has had a nearly four-and-a-half-month monopoly since its live launch in early May.  Other sites rumored to be early players continue the testing phase and wait for state approval, including South Point and Golden Nugget.

At launch, the new site will offer the following:

  • Cash games, sit-'n'-go’s, satellites and multi-table tournaments;
  • Buy-ins for cash games that start as low as 1¢-2¢ and tournaments that start at $1.10;
  • Daily $100 and $25 freerolls for players of all levels;
  • Limit and No-Limit Hold’em with full table and short-handed games, plus the popular Omaha variant will be offered, including Omaha Hi-Lo, as well as Seven Card Stud;
  • Deposit methods including ACH (e-Checks), Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards and withdrawal methods including ACH and paper checks. will also incorporate a live version of Caesars' worldwide Total Rewards loyalty program, called the Action Club, with online players building a stash of "WSOP Points" as they play, which will likely be spendable on various rewards.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Full Tilt Claims Administrator Opens Remission Process

Garden City Group, the claims-administration firm in charge of overseeing the remission process for former United States customers of Full Tilt Poker, has begun the mailing of applications to players who have already contacted them about frozen balances on the site.

GCG also released an expanded FAQ page today enumerating many of the most common questions and concerns players are likely to have, including who is eligible for refunds (most regular players, though some affiliates and players may be denied), when the cutoff date to apply for refunds is (November 16th), and what players should do if they have yet to contact GCG (get in touch via a new link which will be activated on Wednesday, September 18th.

The mailing of applications, formally called petitions for refund, will continue through tomorrow, and on Wednesday GCG will open the 60-day window during which refund petitions will be accepted.  Players will be provided with their balance information as it existed on April 15, 2011 ("Black Friday"), and will have to accept that amount or file another petition, complete with supporting documentation.

After Nov. 16th is when the concerns of US-based affiliates, vendors, and secondary pros will be addressed, when they should all learn whether or not their own applications for refunds will be accepted or denied.  Further language in the United States Department of Justice coded regulations covering remission processes, as linked to by GCG, indicates that a lot of these affiliates and vendors might be denied, despite having only minor business relationships with the old Full Tilt.

Those concerns have dominated much of the talk on poker-forum threads in recent days, as the nature of these relationships suggests that tens of millions in frozen Full Tilt bankroll funds could be frozen in these accounts, many of which belonged to high-profile players and important business connections, the forfeiting of which would coincidentally provide an extra government windfall in the resolution of the case.

More news is likely to be provided in the near future at the official GCG web site for the remission process,

UK Daily Mail: Phil Ivey Admits Edge Sorting in Casino Flap

The UK's Daily Mail reported on Saturday that court documents and statements in the lawsuit filed against Crockfords Casino by Phil Ivey confirm that Ivey and a companion did indeed an old method of identifying key cards by subtle variations visible on the cards' backs.

Ivey's lawsuit against Crockfords, which remains in preliminary stages in the British court system, came after Crockfords refused to pay out a massive £7.8 million payout won at punto banco, a form of baccarat.  Ivey, with the assistance of a woman of Asian origin known only as "Kelly" in the court documents, began winning consistently after he and his companion found a way to identify the key punto banco cards, sevens through nines, and used that info to decide whether or not to take the next card off the deck during game play.

Crockfords refused to pay out Ivey's massive win after allegedly examining security tapes, though while the casino has accused Ivey of unfair play (being careful not to use the word "cheating" specifically), they have not addressed their only security lapses, which include using a ridiculous full-bleed card design in a high-stakes game, allowing the cards to be rotated and closely examined by Ivey and his companion (who still were not allowed to actually touch the cards), and most amazingly, to not rotate out the deck with which Ivey was going on his multi-million-pound heater.

Collectively, that behavior suggests some level of culpability on the part of Crockfords management, which may have been more aware of what was going on then they're admitting in court documents.  They may have simply decided to let Ivey have his fun, and if he won, then not pay out the winnings.

The Daily Mail report asserts that Ivey has admitted to the edge sorting, in which subtle cutting variations on some of the cards in a given deck make them stand out from the others, especially when rotated 180 degrees.  Crockfords' use of decks with no borders (called "full bleed" in the card business) is especially shameful, since it's been a known security problem with playing cards since approximately the 16th century.

Despite Ivey's admission, nothing else seems to have changed.  The two sides seems as adamant as ever that the other side is at fault.  Crockfords alleges that Ivey used a non-allowed method to gain an unfair advantage, while Ivey in responses has asserted that the security flaw he exploited was widely known (that much is true), and that Crockfords bears the responsibility of its own lax security measures.  Barring some sort of settlement, this is likely to go to trial, with the final outcome unclear.