By Shari Geller
The biggest news story of today was supposed to the official start of the 2011 World Series of Poker. Speculation as to how Black Friday would affect this year’s series has swirled around for weeks and when the first official event began, there were a notable number of no-shows. One of them was Team Full Tilt pro Phil Ivey.
Any questions about what his non-appearance meant was quickly answered after Ivey went to his official Facebook page and issued a lengthy, serialized statement that has sent shockwaves through the poker community.
Ivey, one of if not the game’s best, stated that he would not be attending this year’s WSOP and went on to say that he had filed suit against Tiltware, the parent company of Full Tilt Poker. The entire statement reads as follows:
For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.
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.
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.
My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.
I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.
I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.
When questions arose about authenticity of the statement, due to the unorthodox chosen outlet, Ivey’s representative, Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty agency, confirmed that the statement did indeed come from Ivey. It was later posted on his official site.
Ivey’s statement has received a few hundred “likes” from Facebook followers who support his statement, but so far has resulted in no response from Full Tilt. Perhaps if there were an unlike button, they would have weighed in. Instead, this looks like it will be a matter for the courts. One of undoubtedly many that will be filed in the aftermath of the biggest event to rock online poker. Stay tuned.