Thoughts on the Full Tilt findings by Subject: Poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 31, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed, Poker Gossip | No Comments »

The poker news website Subject: Poker, headed by 2+2 moderator Noah Stephens-Davidowitz (NoahSD), has been breaking a lot of Full Tilt Poker news since Black Friday –thanks to an inside source at the site—and there latest bombshell has sent the poker world into a tizzy. The latest breaking news by Subject: Poker show Phil Ivey’s and David Benyamine’s Full Tilt Poker account records, which include numerous loans, payment amounts, and in the case of Benyamine, a withdrawal post Black Friday for an account registered in the US!

The really odd thing about the latest story is that they received information on just two players Phil Ivey and David Benyamine –and only partial records at that: “we do not have as much data as we’d like. For example, we do not have data on most player-to-player transfers or other transactions that are done in the system without notes, we do not have much data for Ivey before June of 2009, we have two very small gaps in our coverage for Ivey, and we have a large gap in our coverage for Benyamine.”

Now, most of Subject: Poker’s FT information has revolved around two things, Phil Ivey, and some accounting figures, so I’m not surprised that information on Phil Ivey’s financial records at Full Tilt Poker came to light –so my guess is that Benyamine was chosen because he also had numerous transactions with the site, so it wouldn’t appear that only anti-Ivey information was being leaked.

What I am surprised at is that this is receiving so much negative attention for Ivey! Let’s face it, Full Tilt Poker was referencing player withdrawals as online payments for jewelry and golf balls, so should we be surprised that payments to an owner of the site might be marked as something else? I’m not saying that these weren’t loans, but I am saying that they might not be loans! These could in fact just be fancy accounting to avoid being taxed on income of some sort.

These transactions could be anything from payments, to dividends of some sort, to bonuses, to fronted money for high-stakes cash-games, and so on. As far as Ivey’s repayments, couldn’t these be stake-money returned from tournaments and cash games, or perhaps Phil was in charge of the site’s staking of players –something we know Ivey has done with many players in the past—and these payments are winnings or makeup of some sort? Couldn’t Full Tilt have transferred Ivey $500k and asked him to give the stake money to Full Tilt Pros at xyz tournament?

Obviously I’m just conjecturing here, but my point is that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions as to what these transactions represent –especially when it seems very apparent that the Subject: Poker insider has an axe grind with Phil Ivey. Where are Howard’s or Ferguson’s, or even durrrr’s financial records from the site? Why is Ivey always at the forefront of these leaks? And why are huge swaths of time missing from the records?

To me is seems one of two things is taking place:

#1 – A disgruntled Full Tilt Poker employee has access to some FT records and is leaking them, a la BrainWashDodo

#2 – Full Tilt Poker is playing politics and feigning a leak in the company –or allowing it—in order to A) keep the poker press’s attention on side stories and drama and B) to offer up excuses as to why they haven’t repaid players

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