For the week's top stories in poker from India and around the world, you've come to the right place. News from Full Tilt Poker has pretty much been dominating the headlines. That and more including Rafe Furst's open letter, find out what the Epic Poker League did with Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson's member cards on this Weekly Turbo.
Furst's Open Letter
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced it was amending the original Black Friday indictments to include Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and Rafe Furst.
Given that the folks at Full Tilt have been pretty tight lipped throughout the proceedings, you'd forgive us for being surprised when Rafe Furst tweeted the link to an open letter on his blog.
Rather than post the entire letter, here's an excerpt:
"What I would like to express here is concern for my family, friends, colleagues and supporters who believe in me and who feel my pain as if it were their own. It sucks to have to endure the character assassination and potshots being taken at me in the media and social networks without being able to defend myself. Privately though I have received incredible support from many of you, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me. May you never have to endure something like this, but if you do, I hope you have friends as good as mine."
"To the skeptics, please consider that not everything you read is true, and our society is built on a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. It’s difficult to take back hurtful things that you might later regret, when the damage has already been done."
You can make your own conclusions, and if you'd like to read the entire letter, you can, at EmergentFool.com.
Can't say we didn't see this coming. This past Wednesday, the Epic Poker League announced that the Standards and Conduct Committee suspended Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson indefinitely.
“The Committee voted to suspend Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson indefinitely, pending the outcome of the Department of Justice’s action," said EPL's Standard and Conduct Committee's chairman Stephen Martin.
While the complaint filed against Lederer and Ferguson is of a civil and not criminal nature, the committee deemed that "the specificity of the allegations and the fact they came from the United States government made this the right course of action in the best interests of the players in the League."
The committee also said that it would continue to monitor the actions of the DOJ and should any other League members be named, "the Committee will consider additional disciplinary action."
According to the committee, Lederer has signed his League documents granting him a 5-year card, however, Ferguson has not yet signed the League documents. Regardless, Ferguson's card has been suspended.
It should also be noted that Andy Bloch, who is on the Standards and Conduct Committee refused to take part in the consideration of the issue and commissioner Annie Duke does not take part in any committee discussions.
Read more at EpicPoker.com.
World Gaming Festival draws tepid response
We'd mentioned early last week about the World Gaming Festival which took place from 23rd-35th September onboard the Casino Royale in Goa.
The WGF was being touted as a skill-based gaming event which would guarantee a massive 1 crore prizepool in each of the 5 games being offered over the weekend i.e. Roulette, Blackjack, Indian Flush, Baccarat and of course Poker. From the entire lot, Poker seemed to be the only game which came close to its guaranteed amount of 1 crore with a total of 92 players participating in that 2-day tournament.
The other games drew a poor response with the Baccarat tournament, in fact being cancelled by the organisers. Not only that, the guarantee amounts on Indian Flush, Roulette and Blackjack ended up being slashed in the range of 25%-50%.
The big winner at the poker tables though was Mumbai's Bobbe Suri who is a well-known face in the Goa Poker scene. After taxes, Suri took home a cheque of INR 2.2 million for his efforts in this 100k buyin tournament as well as the title of WGF Poker Champion.
Dealing with The Mob
No, not this mob. A few days after announcing it ended its exclusive relationship with Full Tilt Poker, The Hendon Mob has snatched up another sponsor — Genting Poker. Weirdly enough, the first sentence of the announcement painted a mob-like picture in our head, so maybe it's not far from the mob linked above. Kidding!
"In a deal struck over a meal at Soho’s Little Italy The Hendon Mob shook hands with the godfathers of Genting, securing the future of the Hendon Mob website and guaranteeing the boys all the pasta they can eat."
According to the announcement, the partnership crosses over both live and online.
If you'd like to find out more, read the announcement on TheHendonMob.com.
"Not a So-Called Ponzi Scheme"
It's the equivalent of them going, "No, it's not!". According to the Wall Street Journal, Full Tilt Poker attorney's slammed the U.S. Department of Justice for its allegation that the company ran a Ponzi scheme.
"A Ponzi scheme requires an investment vehicle in order to receive a certain rate of high return," Jeff Ifrah, one of Full Tilt Poker's attorneys, said. "None of those things happened here." Ifrah says Full Tilt Poker "should be likened to that of a problematic bank, rather than an illegal investment scheme."
The attorney for recently accused Chris Ferguson, Ian Imrich said, "While the government has obviously taken issue with the underlying activities of FTP, under any reasonable interpretation, the world-wide operations of the online cardroom are not a so-called Ponzi scheme."
The Wall Street Journal reports that as of Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department had no comment.
WSJ.com has more.