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A Year Later: Absolute Poker’s U.S. Player’s Money Still Held Hostage From FBI Takedown

February 21, 2012

Gus Hansen at Full Title Poker

The visage of Gus Hansen still presides over the FBI takedown notice at FullTiltPoker.com

You may remember that nearly a year ago, on April 15th 2011, the FBI seized the domain names of the three largest online poker sites catering to U.S. players.  Those sites were AbsolutePoker.com, FullTitlePoker.com and PokerStars.com.

Well as of this writing, Absolute Poker’s US based players are yet to be able to withdraw any money from their accounts.  I know because I am one of them.

I had only about $75 in my account.  It’s still there, being held hostage.  At least I hope.  Yesterday I emailed their cashier department to inquire about the funds again, to which I received the following, which is the same canned response, verbatim, that I received more than six months ago:

Thank you for contacting us.

We recognize that there is a considerable degree of speculation surrounding the status of account withdrawals and the process of distributing funds to qualified players.  We want to assure you that the distribution of player funds has been, and remains, our highest priority.

To this end, you should know that we are currently in active discussions with a number of parties about potential sales opportunities, and we continue to work diligently to devise a solution that will allow us to distribute funds to players.  This has been, however, a complicated process, and the determination of appropriate mechanisms for the safe and efficient distribution of funds to players has proven to be an especially difficult task.

Nevertheless, despite a series of formidable obstacles, we believe that we are close to finalizing a well-considered process of distributing funds to players that will be fair for all account holders.  We expect, therefore, to issue a statement in the near future, providing the details of this process.

Please understand that we would have preferred to provide you with more frequent updates.  However, ongoing legal negotiations have restricted our ability to communicate publicly.  We hope that you will understand.

We appreciate your patience during this difficult period, and we will provide you with further information at an appropriate time in the near future.

Well I’m comforted to know they are still “currently in active discussions with a number of parties”, six months later.  I can’t be too hard on them though. After all, it’s not their fault they got screwed by the folks doing business as the U.S. government.

What’s interesting though is that not all of the company’s seem to be in the same predicament.  Of the three sites, only AbsolutePoker.com no longer resolves, while FullTiltPoker.com and PokerStars.com currently do.  Although both of their home pages still contain reference to the seizure, they also include the following notices to US Players concerning the availability of their funds:

Full Tilt:

Pursuant to an agreement between the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and defendant Full Tilt Poker, Full Tilt Poker may use this Domain Name in the United States to facilitate players’ withdrawals of funds held by Full Tilt Poker.


An agreement has been reached with the US Department of Justice to allow United States PokerStars customers to cashout their funds.  PokerStars will work diligently to expedite those withdrawals.  All PokerStars player deposits are completely safe.  More information here.

Since I had no money on either of those sites, I can’t speak to the status of those payouts.  If anyone does know feel free to drop a comment below.

It’s a shame that what probably amounts to millions in US dollars is still frozen after all this time because of some silly prohibition..

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