Poker player hopes feds return big bankrollon August 1, 2012 @ 9:54 am (Updated: 11:56 am - 8/1/12 )
Mercer Island native Lee Goldman tells Ross and Burbank he hopes to recover a "substantial six-figure sum" he had frozen when the Justice Department cracked down on Full Tilt Poker (AP image)
Poker players are known for their patience. Professional player Lee Goldman, a Mercer Island native, has needed every bit of it after the Justice Department cracked down on the two largest poker websites, freezing him out of what he calls a "substantial six-figure sum."
"Most poker players keep money on these sites like a bank, like day to day we have money to play. We just trust you're playing on the top two sites on the world the money is pretty much safe," Goldman says.
It wasn't. He was one of thousands of American's affected when the Justice Department shut down PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. The feds accused the two companies of breaking federal Internet gambling laws by tricking banks and credit card companies into illegally processing payments for U.S. players.
Officials also alleged Full Tilt was running a Ponzi Scheme of sorts, not keeping enough money on hand to pay out players like Goldman.
"After all these months transpired, we realized the site actually just didn't keep the money on hand to cover player balances like they had told everybody," Goldman says.
With so much of his money possibly gone for good, Goldman says he began to worry that he'd never see his money again.
"I had a substantial six figure sum on Full Tilt and it just so happened that was where most of my money was kept at the time," he says.
Under the terms of the complicated settlement, Full Tilt will forfeit virtually all its assets to the government and then be acquired by rival PokerStars.
Goldman and other U.S. players will then be able to apply to the Justice Department for reimbursement.
"We'll have to see how cumbersome the process is, but at the moment, it's going to be a real shock to everybody if we all get paid 100 percent by the DOJ," he says.
Goldman admits it was a bit of a gamble. After the federal crackdown on what was called "Black Friday" April 15, 2011, Many players sold off their bankrolls to speculators for a fraction of the value.
He tells Ross and Burbank he could have done so and at least gotten a small payout. Instead, he held out like a poker player trying to catch a card on the last deal and he's hopeful it'll amount to a winning hand.
Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Editor
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