News, Views, and Gossip – September 21st, 2011

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Within the recent weeks, there has been several exciting developments within the world of poker, however, few were able to top the importance of the latest Full Tilt Poker Hearing.

Full Tilt Poker Meeting Scheduled For September 19th

We’re still awaiting the results of the meeting between Full Tilt Poker and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, a joining which was set to help conclude the fate of the once-thriving online poker site.

The cause of Full Tilt Poker’s latest meeting was to decide whether or not its operating license would be reinstated by the AGCC, however, this is unlikely to occur without the assurance that FTP will be able to manage its financial responsibilities appropriately.

Put simply, the $150 million+ that Full Tilt Poker owes its American players, is the primary issue that needs to be addressed before the AGCC can agree upon such terms.

Before the meeting commenced Monday morning, Full Tilt Poker and the AGCC both expressed their intentions through public statements they released through separate mediums. The AGCC, whose statement was more developed around Full Tilt Poker’s propensity to delay and demand private meetings, seemed to contradict with that of FTP’s, who consistently stuck with their goal of repaying players as quickly as possible. Full Tilt Poker also commented extensively on the amount of potential job cuts it could endure due to their intense legal liabilities, likely in a another attempt to stray readers from the real focus — a timeline on re-financing player cashouts.

“If all of the required cost savings were to be achieved through redundancies, approximately 250 positions could be affected; however the exact number cannot be confirmed until the conclusion of a consultation process with its workforce,” as stated by Full Tilt Poker.

The AGCC, however, was more forward in their approach to public, commenting on their direct intentions, as stated by Executive Director Andre Wilsenach:

“I am pleased that the FTP hearing will continue as scheduled, as was argued on my behalf. However, I am disappointed with the tribunal’s decision that, notwithstanding my arguments to the contrary, the hearing will be held in private. I believe the public has a right to know the reasoning behind the decisions to suspend FTP’s licences and call a hearing, and to hear the evidence that will be put forward on my behalf. It is my understanding that the tribunal conducted a difficult balancing exercise of the interests of the various parties, taking into account the legal arguments for and against further postponing the hearing, and for and against allowing the public to attend the proceedings.”

Regardless of privacy issues, Full Tilt Poker should come to the meeting prepared, with a secured financial investor, and operational plans that can see players being paid back within an appropriate time frame.

With statements from FTP’s previous attorney, Jeff Ifrah, it’s not impossible for other detrimental outcomes to develop from this September 19th consultation, such as FTP re-establishing operational control under its secondary Kahnawake Gaming license, postponing meetings even further, or worse, claiming insolvency.

There are tons of unanswered questions, and hopefully we’ll reveal the solutions to those in the upcoming hours.

Professional Poker Player Arrested For Involvement in Cocaine Smuggling

Well, not all professional poker players are geniuses.

David Saab tried to smuggle over 14kg of cocaine through an Australian checkpoint, after being caught in collaboration with two other poker pros, Darren Francis Hughes and Robert Reemus.

The three comrades were caught in Melbourne, where Saab will face drug charges that could lead to up to 14 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 10.

His co-conspirators will only endure 8-year sentences, being eligible for parole in as little in five years.

The difference in the sentencing of the individuals comes via the understanding that Saab was the primary organizer of the illegal activity, with his friends playing a lesser role. Being arrested in January, the sentencing comes after spending most of the year in confinement after the three criminals were found guilty of carrying the drugs through agricultural equipment from Canada to Sydney.

Because of the vast quantity, the charge was given the condition of importing a commercial quantity of illegal substance.

The estimated street value of the goods was labeled at AU$6.5 million.

This comes as a disappointment, considering that Saab was a good tournament player with $550,720 in earnings, and a 46th place finish in the 2008 World Series of Poker.

Team PokerStars Continues to Grow

While Full Tilt Poker is stuck in legal limbo, PokerStars is busy trying to improve its brand by bringing in yet another new face. Online player Mickey “mement_mori” Petersen has joined Team PokerStars Online, as he’s displayed impressive results through his online tournament play.

Garnering most of his attention with his Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) statistics, Petersen actually got his start with online poker while he was playing Magic: The Gathering competitively. Despite still holding a love for the game, after spending several years encompassed with the game of poker and making thousands of dollars, Petersen made the smart decision to play poker full-time.

Petersen cashed for $169,286 in the 2010 SCOOP $2,100 No-Limit Hold’em event, which was a runner-up finish, and he’s amassed over $500,000 total from the SCOOP, making him one of the biggest winners in the noteworthy list of successful SCOOP participants.

Petersen regularly tops the online leaderboards for tournament victories, and he’s also earned 3rd place in a Sunday Warm-Up event.

During this year’s World Series of Poker, in his first visit, he cashed 3 times for a total of $36,157. But despite his short list of live successes, Petersen is hoping to extend his resume by being more active in big-name tournaments and representing PokerStars.

“I see signing with the world’s biggest online site as the next logical step in my career and hopefully I’ll be able to build on my resume live as well as online and promote both PokerStars and the game in a positive light,” he stated.

We’ll be on the lookout for Petersen in the live tournament scene during the rest of 2011, and also the 2011 WCOOP, which is finishing its last half over the next week.

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