AAAARRGGHH!!! (a rant)

In a report from CardPlayer Magazine today, Garden City Group, the company placed in charge of returning money to players from the Full Tilt Poker fiasco, said that they haven’t even begun the process and that it will most likely take more than a year. This is real money that really affects poker players and their families. I live in the house I live in because I can’t afford to sell it because I don’t have my money from Full Tilt. With the easiest solution possible staring them in the face, the Department of Justice decided to throw some extra red tape into the equation and hire an incompetent company to distribute the funds. Let’s look at this piece by piece.

1. Pokerstars offered to pay US players, much like they paid the players in the rest of the world. They have already been through this process twice, once paying US players within two weeks of Black Friday, and once after they bought Full Tilt and paid back international players within two weeks. The Department of Justice would not allow that, and that’s where I knew we were in trouble. They wanted their piece, and they wanted it to be a big piece. It took them nearly a year just to select a company to be in charge of the distribution, and what did they do with that year anyway? They picked incompetent idiots who can’t even get a job started in four months that another company had handled completely in two weeks!

2. The Garden City Group has been in charge of this mess since March (the original DOJ deadline for choosing a company was last August) and yet they have done nothing. The website they put up is something I could have done in two hours, and they can’t even send us a single email update? That is also something that could be done in two hours. Somebody introduce these idiots to wordpress and Constant Contact!

3. It appears that we will not get all of the money. We were not committing a crime, and the money is legally ours, but when the government gets hold of your cash, you should never expect to get it all back. You’re lucky if you get any of it back. The DoJ got a lot more than we are owed when PokerStars bought Full Tilt, so paying us our full balances, paying someone to cut the checks, and coming out with a nice profit should be enough wouldn’t you think? Nope, not for the gangsters down at the DoJ, who pretty much do whatever they want.

The whole thing is ninety-four kinds of bullshit. We know that Full Tilt screwed up, and I am definitely not absolving them of any blame, but after seeing the way this played out, maybe we should be looking at the other side of things too. I see varied numbers in all the accounting mess that has come out of the seizures and the eventual purchase, and I have heard different numbers every time someone mentions how much is owed to players, but I know one thing for sure –

The Department of Justice seized enough money to insure that Full Tilt went bankrupt. I have seen accounts that anywhere between 120 and 240 million dollars were seized in the two years before Back Friday from Full Tilt’s bank accounts and the accounts of payment processors. It’s very possible that the DoJ seized more than we are owed before Black Friday even happened. A grumpy poker player might look at this and say something like –

“The Department of Justice stole my bankroll, blamed Full Tilt for not having the cash, seized the company itself for not having the money after they stole it from them, and screwed everyone. Then they forced another company to buy the bankrupt company in order to avoid going to jail, and kept that money too. Now two years later they can’t even decide how much they are going to give us or when we will get it. No matter how much we get, the DoJ will be making a huge profit and nothing can be done about it because they are the cops and there’s no one to call to put them in jail for stealing from us.”

When the government gets into profiteering it’s always scary. Sure it’s annoying when the police force can pay it’s bills by writing hundreds of extra speeding tickets, but it gets really scary when they start seizing assets and making you fight in court to get them back. That has been happening more and more as suspected drug dealers are having their assets seized and then having to fight to get them back even if they are never charged with a crime.

When the privatized prison industry lobbies for tougher laws so that they can put more people in prison, which makes them more money so they can spend more on lobbying so the laws get tougher and even more people go to prison, it starts to get really scary. Pretty soon we end up with a higher percentage of our population in prison than any nation in history. That’s a fact. Neither Stalin’s Russia, nor Hitler’s Germany, nor Spain during the Inquisition, had as many people in prison as the modern day United States of America. Prisons are wonderful training grounds for criminals, so the next time you are wondering where all these criminals are coming from, the answer might be “from prison”.

No matter what kind of profiteering they are engaged in, it’s much too easy for the government to get out of control when they are making money by taking it from people by force. When you combine the government for profit model with the fact that politicians can essentially buy elections by spending unlimited amounts of money through Super PACs, you get a bunch of gangsters, taking your money and spending it on elections so that they can take more of your money.

And what happened to the fourth amendment? My money was seized. I did nothing illegal, was never accused of anything illegal, and there was no reason to take my money. Isn’t that an unreasonable seizure? Isn’t there a lawyer out there somewhere who wants to sue the government over this debacle?

I know, I’m starting to sound like my dad.

“The world is going to hell in a hand basket, the sky is falling, and these damn politicians are so corrupt that the American Way is terribly tarnished. Kids nowadays and their loud music and their iphones and their sext messaging! In my day we did things right and we kept our money in a jar buried in the backyard where the tax man couldn’t find it!”

While I’m not quite old enough for the hell in a hand basket speech, I’m starting to consider buying gold and burying it in the backyard. It would be much safer than trusting the DoJ with it, but at this point I don’t have any money because the DoJ got their greedy little paws on it and now they won’t give it back. Can I buy gold with a government IOU? Errr. Wait. A government IOU is cash. And they took all of it. I better quit ranting, there’s an unmarked sedan sitting in front of my house and some guys in suits are getting out of it. You never saw me. I wasn’t even here. Tell them I left.




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  1. #1 by Rich Edinger on July 19, 2013 - 7:17 pm

    A class action law suit by the Full Tilt customers needs to be filed. Or they need to intervene in the legal action between the US and Full Tilt. I guess there is a reason that Ferguson or Lederer will never show their faces @ the WSOP again.

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