Friday September 21,2012 : FINAL EPISODE OF ‘THE LEDERER FILES'
Full Tilt Poker owner explains silence and apologises to players
The final episode of the seven part video interview ‘The Lederer Files' is now up at Poker News, with one of Full Tilt Poker's owners, Howard Lederer explaining the company's much-criticised silence during the 15 months leading up to a final resolution, and an apology to the poker community.
Securing a rescue deal for the players by finding new owners for FTP proved to be a stressful experience for Lederer and his fellow directors, mainly due to the potential cost and complexities involved.
Among other potential buyers, Pokerstars was interested last summer but the US Department of Justice's litigation, and what its expectations might be in terms of dollars and cents, proved to be an insuperable hurdle and Pokerstars backed away.
Lederer is generous in his praise of Pokerstars, observing that a less scrupulous company could have used the excuse of due diligence to obtain information from its erstwhile closest competitor, but that the Isle of Man-based poker giant was at all times honourable and completely professional in the manner in which it handled discussions.
What changed to bring Pokerstars to the table with the US Department of Justice earlier this year?
Lederer does not seem to be sure, and would not speculate, but it came at a time when Full Tilt was down to its last $10 million, and with a monthly burn rate of $1.5 million that would not last beyond the month of August.
In the event, agreement was reached at the end of July after a number of false starts and anxious moments. Again, Lederer applauds Pokerstars for stepping up, saying that its management genuinely cares about the poker community.
Turning to the lack of official statements from Full Tilt Poker during the crisis, Lederer explains that the various people and organisations with which he and his colleagues were in discussions at various points insisted that the negotiations remained confidential.
This was imperilled by several leaks, with the DoJ at one time threatening to curtail discussions if there was "one more leak."
The situation was also subject to changes, and any attempt to brief players would have resulted in wildly swinging possibilities and expectations.
Asked whether he would continue to play poker, Lederer pointed to his 30 year career in the game and said he plans to continue playing. How the poker community regarded him was its decision, he said.
He had been one of the owners of a company that got into serious trouble through no fault of his, and he had done everything in his power to address the problems and ensure that the players were ultimately paid.
"As an owner of Full Tilt Poker, I take full responsibility for what happened. What happened wasn't right and it caused a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, and in some cases just inconvenience for 3 million customers. That wasn't right. And for that I am truly sorry," Lederer concludes.
"I look very much forward to the reopening of the site under PokerStars' leadership. I am incredibly thankful for their incredible professionalism in the way they handled the situation. I'm going to be rooting for the company every day."