In a statement made in a 2+2 forums on July 31st, poker pro, Barry Greenstein commented on his intention to pay back money which he borrowed from Full Tilt poker in the area of $400,000. Barry had made an original post back in February confirming his debt to the online poker site.
“I was always going to have to pay whoever owned Full Tilt. (Not what Tapie Group was trying to do which was own assets but not the debts.) Clearly, PokerStars will own Full Tilt in a few days or a little longer, and finally I will know who to pay. I’m curious if they will try to collect from anyone else.”
Greenstein always had the intention to pay but had concerns over whether the money would actually be distributed to the players when Tapie was making their bid.
Greenstein commented on why he didn’t repay the loan sooner: “In addition to borrow money online, I have had lots of credit lines from casinos. At one point I owed over 3 million with no interest. I didn’t lose most of it, but often used it to play and invest (and sometimes lose in that way.) I paid the casinos off, but Full Tilt was last because I had no pressure to pay.”
In total, there are approximately $16.5 million in outstanding loans. Several of the players who allegedly owe sizeable amounts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, Erick Lindgren. Mike Matusow and a few others owing smaller but still significant amounts. Except for Barry Greenstein, players have yet to express any interest in repaying the money to the company.
Back in February when the Bernard Tapie Group and Full Tilt deal was in the near final stages, Bernard Tapie Group lawyer, Benham Dayanim stated that “If the money doesn’t come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn’t the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won’t end on any one issue – but this is a substantial item”.
It is still not fully clear whether these loans to the poker pros most of who were also sponsored by Full Tilt poker were straight up loans or whether they were in part sponsorship funds. Judging from the large amounts and from the Tapie Group lawyer statement, they appear to be loans and money owed back to Full Tilt.
Barry has been a PokerStars Team since July 2006.
Based on the following excerpt from the PokerStars settlement order with the DOJ, it is clear that PokerStars have acquired all debts from professional poker players. However, there is no indication whether or not Full Tilt’s new owners will pursue the other pros to make debt repayments.