Jack Binion Considers Investing in FTP

June 26, 2011 - 11:02 PM EDT

Subject: Poker has heard from numerous sources that Jack Binion is in advanced talks with Full Tilt Poker about potentially investing in the poker site.

Full Tilt has failed to repay US players since some of its executives and payment processors were indicted on April 15th. After Black Friday, many have speculated that Full Tilt simply did not have the money to repay US players. The site has confirmed in public statements that it is attempting to raise capital and later mentioned “pending deals with several parties that would put money back in players’ pockets.” It is not clear whether the talks with Binion are the ones referred to in that statement or whether this deal would in fact lead to player refunds were it to be finalized.

Binion, a long-time staple of the casino industry, was reportedly in Ireland over the last week meeting with Full Tilt executives about possibly purchasing a significant stake in the poker site. Phil Ivey was reportedly present at at least some of his meetings, and our sources all stressed that his presence was important to Binion. We reported Friday that Ivey was in Ireland meeting with Full Tilt executives, and that their relationship seemed much improved. Our sources say that Mr. Ivey appears to have been placated by the potential deal.1 Sources think that the parties are close to reaching a deal.

Jack Binion has worked in the casino industry for over forty years, and he founded the World Series of Poker. His father, Benny Binion, founded Binion’s Horseshoe casino. Jack sold almost all of his stake in the Horseshoe in 1998, after long legal battles with his fellow shareholders. He has since been involved in many enterprises throughout the gaming world, including founding Jack Binion’s World Poker Open and acting as chairman of Wynn International, where he was in charge of Wynn Macau.

Since Black Friday, Subject: Poker has learned of numerous instances of mismanagement at FTP, including a $60 million deposit shortfall, a dispute with Moneybookers, and instances that we have yet to make public. We have also heard many rumors of planned investments in the company, but this is the first time that we heard such a story from multiple independent sources.

Subject: Poker has been hearing a lot from sources close to Full Tilt Poker over the past few days, and we will continue to try to confirm or disprove what we have heard and to report to our readers as soon as we can.

Edited on 6/27/2011 12:45 AM EST: Changed “failures” to “instances of mismanagement” in the second-to-last paragraph plus a few minor changes.
Edited on 6/27/2011 1:54 AM EST: Changed “failed to repay player” to “failed to repay US players.” Thanks to Nat Arem.
Edited on 6/27/2011 12:04 PM EST: Removed mention of specifics of Benny Binion’s past in footnote.
Edited on 6/27/2011 5:56 PM EST: Changed “assumed owner of the company” to “presumed part owner…”


  1. Phil Ivey, a Full Tilt Poker sponsored pro and presumed part owner of the company, filed a lawsuit on June 1st against the poker site, and has been engaged in a very heated public dispute with his business partners. Tiltware, one of the companies behind Full Tilt Poker, went so far as to accuse Ivey of attempting “to thwart pending deals” with his lawsuit.

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7 Responses to Jack Binion Considers Investing in FTP

  1. Steppin Razor
    June 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM EDT

    Interesting. If Binion owns a significant share of FT, would that make FT eligible for license under Barton’s bill, should the slim chance that it pass actaully happen? Does he qaulify for the running a 500 game casino for the past 5 years requirement in the bill?

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      June 27, 2011 at 8:47 PM EDT

      This isn’t clear for a lot of reasons unfortunately.

  2. Kevin
    June 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM EDT

    Considering all of the problems and mismanagement that appear to be occuring at FTP, i’m kinda shocked that Ray Bitar hasn’t been replaced or removed as its CEO. Typically when a CEO is “indicted” they would be replaced by the board of directors, or they would voluntarily step aside in the interim “for the good of the company”, not so in this case.

    No communications…no ‘reasonable’ messages…on the part of FTP. Every day that goes by without either results in a further loss of confidence and ‘value’ in the company as a whole. Can they really be that inept that they don’t understand this?

    • James
      June 28, 2011 at 7:19 PM EDT

      Ray Bitar shouldn’t have to step down. He’s only indicted in the US, not in Ireland or any of the other countries where they are licensed. Its debatable whether the indictment would even hold up if it went to court. If he were indicted with any kind of violent or dishonesty crime, obviously he should step down. But the current indictment is based on an interpretation of their business practices, which they were not hiding. They knew the risks of trading within the US, and taking them is what propelled them to a solid #2 market share.
      Pokerstars has put them to shame when it comes to paying back players and not mixing player funds with operating funds, but that also just goes to show how much more money PokerStars has.
      The reason that they don’t communicate with players is that their situation is dire; if they tell the truth, they would spook players into withdrawing, which would put them in an even worse position. If they lie and say everything is ok, then they lose all credibility when it comes out that things were not ok. So they remain quiet, and desperately try to put their house in order before they lose all their players.

  3. Andrew
    June 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM EDT

    So is this a good sign of US players getting their money back?

  4. shawn
    August 24, 2011 at 7:35 PM EDT

    its all bullshit, the damn us government is fkin its own citizens once again. we did nothing wrong – give us our damn money back. government barries itself and finds a way to get millions yet fk the us people.. land of the free – fkin right – land of us government takes whatever they want uses are money to get rich and pays us back some of what we work our ass’sof for.

  5. pokerbandit22
    August 29, 2011 at 1:15 AM EDT

    i agree with shawn.
    and as of 8/29.
    we still have not been payed any of our money back.
    or let us come back to play on a real poker site.
    these other sites are crap.
    who wahts to play paly chips or play for points??
    there a wast of time even downloading them.
    the games they have are just play chips or for pints.
    the look and feel of them sucks.
    fulltiltpoker is the best or was the best site to play on.

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