On Thursday, PokerStrategy.com published an interview with Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer Behn Dayanim. In it, Dayamin mentions that the complicated acquisition of Full Tilt Poker was in “serious jeopardy” in part due to a number of players who owe the once-great company between $10-20M.
And to that, we call “bullshit.”
Dayanim claims a number of high-profile pros owe Tilt (and now GBT) money, including Phil Ivey (estimated at $4M), David Benyamine (estimated over $2M), Layne Flack (shocker), Erick Lindgren (who Card Player inaccurately reported owes $4M, a figure sources tell us is closer to $0), Barry Greenstein, and Mike Matusow.
The statement from Dayanim and GBT is odd. As we’ve detailed on Insider, as currently constructed, GBT is already getting the deal the century in acquiring Tilt. So how does $10-20M owed really impact the likelihood of the deal? Not that the pros shouldn’t repay loaned money–they absolutely should. But we can’t see those funds putting any deal in “serious jeopardy” as GBT claims.
Is this just a leverage play then by GBT to get the money? By publicly throwing the debtors to the wolves, is this just a tactic to force them to pay?
Making the Dayanim statement exceedingly strange is that if GBT has any clue whatsoever about Tilt or the poker community in general–they’d know that not one single person they’ve listed is in a fincancial position to fully repay what they owe.
That money either has been gambled away, is owed to a number of other backers/individuals, or both.
Of course, the news isn’t sitting well with those named or within the poker community.
According to sources, Phil Ivey is “absolutely irate” over the statement. We’ve been told that another named individual, Erick Lindgren, can’t believe that they are being scapegoated as a possible reason for the deal not going through. While Barry Greenstein made his statement on 2+2 regarding the debt being from before his PokerStars deal, other sources have told us that at least a small portion of it occurred after he received his sponsorship.
Simply put, the statement isn’t sitting well with anyone we’ve spoken with in the community. As one source put it, “Yeah, Tapie did not know about the $4M Ivey owes until recently–although that was public knowledge back in June. Great due diligence. Something is fishy here.”
What GBT apparently doesn’t understand is that trading sub-prime mortgages is more likely to provide a pay-out than collecting on a gambler’s debt. There was almost no benefit to making this information public.
So why did they do it? We believe there are only two viable reasons:
- They believe by publicly outing the debtors, it’s their last best (and completely misguided) chance to shame them into repaying the money (even though none of them can repay the full amount); or
- Now fully realizing what a mess Full Tilt is, the statement is the first step in GBT spinning their way out of the deal.
Neither one makes GBT look any better–or have a clue about what they’re doing.