Cereus Owes $54M, Has $5M-$6M Liquid

June 13, 2011 - 11:50 PM EDT

Correction posted 11:45 PM EST.

Subject: Poker’s Scott Bell has learned that Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet’s total outstanding debt to players is $53.7 million, but their cash on hand is only between $5 million and $6 million.

These numbers came from a reliable source inside of AP management and have been corroborated by a different person inside a different department in the company. Our source, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us that $29.5 million of this liability is to US players. He explained that this number had been artificially lowered by US players systematically moving money to non-US accounts in an attempt to get their money off of the site sooner. He said that such attempts would not be successful.

The $5 million to $6 million figure, which is not exact, takes into account about $3 million in severance pay to Cereus’s Costa Rican employees.1 It does not include money that was frozen when some of Cereus’s bank accounts were seized by the United States Department of Justice on April 15th.2

This news certainly does not bode well for players who have money on Cereus. Since Black Friday, non-US players have been able to slowly cash out funds, in amounts up to $2,000. However, anecdotal evidence provided by a thread on the Two Plus Two Poker Forums in which players have been discussing the two sites suggests that withdrawals for non-US players have slowed down.

This story is based on the word of anonymous sources who did not provide us with ways to independently verify their claims. Though our principal source would certainly have intimate knowledge of such things, we are unable to guarantee that the information presented here is accurate. However, we believe this story is almost certainly true, and given its importance, we decided to publish it. Though we’ve known of this story for some time, we waited until we heard the information from another source before publishing.

Correction 6/14 11:40 PM EST:
We erroneously reported that Cereus’s total outstanding debt to US players is $24.2 million. This is actually the reported debt to NON-US players. The reported debt to US players is $29.5 million, and this has been fixed in the above article. (Again, our source cautions that the total US player debt is artificially lowered by players’ attempts to transfer their money to non-US players.)

Subject: Poker apologizes for any confusion caused by our mistake.


  1. See the section entitled “Large Layoffs and a Costa Rican Labor Dispute” in this article. There is some dispute as to whether or not the severance has actually been paid.
  2. We are still working to learn how much money was frozen on April 15th and how much of it belonged to each site and payment processor.

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14 Responses to Cereus Owes $54M, Has $5M-$6M Liquid

    June 14, 2011 at 3:22 AM EDT


  2. Seth Shafer
    June 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM EDT

    I think the most surprising part of this isn’t the shortfall but the fact that there’s even $5-6 million left in the corporate coffers at this stage of the game.

    • Rob C
      June 14, 2011 at 2:04 PM EDT

      If you estimate rake generated from the remaining player pools and the salaries of the fired/laid off employees they might have been able to squeeze that much out of the turnip since Black Friday.

  3. poker cash game
    June 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM EDT

    This REALLY is NOT good.

  4. Bozgoru
    June 14, 2011 at 5:24 PM EDT

    Obama kills the entire american online poker industry! U.S.A Gov is in possesion of all U.S players money.. so they have no money to pay…

    • Trent
      June 15, 2011 at 1:44 AM EDT

      LOL, sure blame Obama for it, afterall, he was president in 2006 when the bill to kill online gambling in the US was passed…right?

      Blame the law not the enforcement of it! If you don’t like the law, get educated on the facts, and then work to repeal it.

    • Lolpoker
      June 15, 2011 at 9:38 PM EDT

      Dont be a ****in idiot. This bill was passed by a republican years ago.

      • jonatan
        June 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM EDT

        ok is not Obamas fault but is the feking USA government fault the same way. gready feking bastards, if you think AB/UB or FTP are crooks take a look at USA. Im from Sweden and been playing on UB for years and they now owe me $38k.I understand I should blame UB but if US wasnt crooks this would never had happened. Tax money on already taxed money, close down .com domains, freeze non US player accounts, who the hell do US think they are? what´s going to happen next? are you going to Libya and fake a war and steel oil? Naaaa…..US “land of the free” would never do that!?!?!?

        • Dlish
          June 21, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

          The one who truly deserves the blame is YOU. It’s been well known for damn near 2 years that UB/AP were shady. You took the risk playing on a scummy site and now you’re paying the price. Next time don’t give your money to scum if you want it back.

      • JSpazz
        September 26, 2011 at 7:57 AM EDT

        Yeah and Obama had four years to try to take down the bill. It’s his fault as much as Bush’s

  5. Nicholas Barnett
    June 15, 2011 at 3:18 AM EDT

    “It does not include money that was frozen when some of Cereus’s bank accounts were seized by the United States Department of Justice on April 15th.”

    So, it might be possible that AP/UB will have enuf money if they can get their hands on it?

    Really really sux, tho…took 2 yrs to build a decent online bankroll and now i’m running terrible offline and now i can’t even augment my offline bankroll with my online winnings, can’t play cheap tnmts, can’t get a variety of games to play, etc.

    f’g congress needs to get this legalized and regulated and stop letting DOJ/law enforcement shake down poker sites for new police cars………..

  6. Ronny Luther
    June 15, 2011 at 10:52 PM EDT

    Cereus is done i think! Was checking the trafic 3 days ago and i saw only 4-5 active cashgame tables. Ive read trafic has dropped as much as 96%..

  7. boco
    June 17, 2011 at 9:03 PM EDT

    If this is the case then you were screwed anyway what hope did u have where did the money go,who was holding it Phil, it was always a prick of a site it was fun before they merged and i was only playing fake chips at that stage with my 31 accounts and 469 million fake chips that 21 mil limit was a pain

  8. Lee
    June 28, 2011 at 9:26 PM EDT

    UB/AP,FULLTILT Have no intention of refunding any USA Player money-Next year the situation will remain the same “Count On That Auntie”

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