World class poker player Phil Ivey has boycotted this year’s World Series of Poker in a stand against Full Tilt Poker owners Tiltware LLC who he is suing.
The suit against Tiltware LLC was filed on Wednesday in a move that appears designed to distance Ivey from the online poker company and their alleged ties with illegal activities brought to light on Black Friday when Full Tilt Poker and two other prominent poker websites were shut down by the US Department of Justice. Ivey is also staying away from this year’s WSOP which is being held in Las Vegas because he says he feels strongly that it would be wrong for him to participate when so many professional poker players cannot afford to because their funds are being held up by Tiltware.
Following the legal action against Full Tilt Poker in April and the confiscation of their website’s domain, that domain was subsequently allowed to go back online to enable Full Tilt to pay back its US based members’ account deposits. So far it has not paid back any of those deposits and this is what has made Ivey want to distance himself as far from the company as possible.
The lawsuit filed by Ivey’s Attorneys says that he entered into the endorsement deal in 2004 with Tiltware for what was then completely legal online poker. However, since banking restrictions had been put in place to prevent online gambling funds to be transacted, he was at no time informed by anyone at the company that fraudulent methods were being used by Full Tilt Poker to transfer gambling money. They also stated that the Dept of Justice had given clear notice and repeated warnings to companies operating online poker sites that such conduct was not lawful within the United States although Ivey had not been advised of those warnings.
The suit also alleges Tiltware were in breach of contract where it had promised that software created for use by Full Tilt Poker was for providing legal online poker. For this, Ivey is seeking over $150 million in damages.
It has been reported that Tiltware have responded to this suit, claiming that Ivey owes money to the Full Tilt Poker site and is attempting to frustrate players’ efforts to get their money returned. The Poker company doubts that Ivey’s lawsuit will make it to court, calling it self serving, frivolous and putting his own interests before those of the players that he claims to be helping. If the case does see the inside of a court room, it seems both sides will have some strong arguments to support their respective cases.