Lederer, Ferguson Sued; Raising the Stakes; One Million Buy In on Tap
By Steve Green, Vegas Inc.
Check out the Vegas news at www.vegasinc.com
Two Full Tilt Poker directors were hit with another class-action lawsuit Thursday by online poker players upset because they can’t withdraw funds from the company.
Attorneys for four lead class-action plaintiffs filed suit in federal court in Las Vegas against Full Tilt directors Howard Lederer and Chris ”Jesus” Ferguson, alleging conversion.
The lawsuit complains that before and after ”Black Friday” — nearly one year ago on April 15, 2011 — Lederer and Ferguson ”exercised unlawful dominion and control” over players’ funds in Full Tilt accounts.
It was Black Friday when federal prosecutors unveiled a crackdown and criminal fraud charges against online poker sites Full Tilt, PokerStars and Absolute Poker.
Later in 2011, the government claimed Full Tilt ”was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.”
Thursday’s lawsuit in Las Vegas focused on the Ponzi scheme allegation, charging U.S. players have been wrongfully denied access to some $150 million in their Full Tilt accounts in part because of the actions of Lederer and Ferguson.
The lawsuit claims Lederer received some $42 million in distributions and ”profit sharing” payments, some of which was loaned from Full Tilt and may or may not be outstanding; while Ferguson similarly received $85 million, some of which may have been in the form of loans.
”Additionally, defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts,” the lawsuit says. ”The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts.”
The suit seeks a court order requiring the defendants to refund players their money and punitive damages.
Phil Ivey plays during the World Series of Poker H.O.R.S.E. event at the Rio.
The lead plaintiffs in Thursday’s suit are poker players Steve Segal of New York, Nick Hammer and Robin Hougdahl of Minnesota and Todd Terry of New Jersey.
The same four players last year filed a class-action suit against Lederer, Ferguson and other Full Tilt officials and corporate entities in New York alleging racketeering because of an alleged pattern of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering; but in January a federal judge found that court lacked jurisdiction over the individual Full Tilt defendants.
In trying to establish jurisdiction for the new Nevada lawsuit, the players’ attorneys cited ”diversity jurisdiction” in which all parties are residents of different states; and ”personal jurisdiction” and ”venue” because Lederer lives in Nevada, Ferguson has ”conducted substantial business” within Nevada and ”because many of the wrongs and acts complained of herein were contemplated and executed by defendants in this district.”
The Full Tilt defendants have not yet answered the new Las Vegas lawsuit, but they’ve denied similar allegations in other suits including one filed in October in Los Angeles by different poker players.
The Los Angeles lawsuit names not just Lederer and Ferguson, but also Full Tilt CEO Raymond Biter and celebrity players including Phil Ivey.
Besides the New York and Las Vegas cases involving Segal and his three co-plaintiffs, and the Los Angles case; there are three other federal civil suits pending against Full Tilt and its officials involving different plaintiffs in New York.
One of those plaintiffs is the United States, which in an amended complaint in September unveiled the Ponzi scheme allegations against the company. The government claims that as of March 31, 2011, Full Tilt Poker owed about $390 million to players around the world, including about $150 million to U.S. players, but had only about $60 million in its bank accounts.
Thursday’s Las Vegas lawsuit was filed by attorneys at the firm Shook & Stone Chtd. In Las Vegas and the firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP in New York.
This is a reprint from vegasinc.com
by Shane Smith, ARTICLE COURTESY OF WWW.GAMINGTODAY.COM
In these tough times, paying more than you need to doesn’t make good economic sense. Same thing in low-limit hold’em – why pay a lot to see the flop? Unless you have A-A, K-K or Q-Q, you’re better off not raising before the flop in low-limit games.
Why? Because so many players call raises before the flop – and they call with a wide (make that “wild”) assortment of hole cards. Whereas big pairs can win the pot without getting any help from the board, almost all your other starting hands will need some improvement to win.
When you’re in the big blind, the small blind or early position, you’re in a tough spot on all subsequent action because you’ll have to act before most of your opponents – and that’s a bad thing. Further, when you’re the “middle man” sitting between the raiser and the re-raiser, you definitely want to avoid three-way raising action on the flop or turn.
Remember this basic winning tip: The later your position, the more often you can call a raise on any betting round.
I often see players jam the pot with A-K before the flop, flop nothing except overcards, and still continue playing the hand. They call raises after the flop and sometimes even go to the river trying to snag an ace or king.
Occasionally they catch one and still lose; or they miss and complain Loose Louie called several raises before the flop with 6-5 off suit, made two pair and beat them. Who played worse, the guy who made two pair and raised or the player with the A-K who flopped nothing but overcards?
Even if your A-K is suited, it is still a drawing hand, not a made hand such as A-A, K-K, or Q-Q. The big pairs can win pots without any help from the board, but A-K usually needs a good flop to win.
Keep in mind that when you have Big Slick, you will only flop a pair to it about 30 percent of the time, and will flop a flush draw only about 11 percent of the time when it is suited.
Here’s the lowdown on raising in low-limit games: Unless you hold a big pair, do your raising after you see the flop, not before. That way, you can save money by folding if you don’t flop anything.
And if you hit the flop, you can make money by charging your opponents extra bets to draw against you.
Shane Smith is the author of Tournament Tips from the Poker Pros and three other books for low-limit poker players.
by Staff & Wire Reports
The announcement really took place at last year’s World Series of Poker when officials planned an inaugural Big One for One Drop event that would top all previous money tournaments in the sport. This week was the confirmation.
A record $1 million buy-in for the three-day event slated to begin July 1 at the Rio is expected to generate more than $12 million to the winner – the richest payoff ever in poker.
WSOP officials announced Thursday that 30 players have committed to participate in the Big One for One Drop. That number of players puts the top prize at $12.3 million, which series spokesman Seth Palansky said tops the $12 million Jamie Gold won in 2006 for outlasting 8,773 players at no-limit Texas Hold’em in the main event.
ESPN will telecast the tourney, which will also feature a specially designed platinum bracelet for the victor. The newest event is one of 61 tournaments held as part of the 43rd annual World Series of Poker. So far, 20 of the 30 players who have signed up are nonpros.
The 30 confirmed players have already committed their buy-in, and series organizers expect to reach their cap of 48 entries. If the cap on participants is reached, the first-place prize awarded to the winner would be more than $18 million, Palansky said.
Eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel is entered along with Bob Bright, CEO of the stock trading firm Bright Trading LLC, and Paul Newey, co-founder of London-based private investment firm New Wave Ventures.
Professionals such as Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan and Daniel Negreanu will play poker with nonpros like Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil and One Drop, and Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island .
Caesars Entertainment Corp., which owns the WSOP, will fund two tournament participants. The gaming company said one seat will go to the winner of a Mega Satellite event June 30 at the Rio while the other will come from a yet to be determined promotion.
One Drop is a nongovernmental organization that helps fight poverty by funding access to water projects worldwide.