Then today comes yet another FTP-related headline, this one the announcement of an agreement between the Board of Directors at Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie -- a French group of companies headed by its namesake -- for the latter to acquire the company and its assets.
Not dead, insists the embattled site. Don’t be closing the book just yet.
The news again came as an “exclusive” delivered by FTP to the affiliate site PokerStrategy.com. Can only surmise that Full Tilt Poker might owe the site something for which it is now paying in press releases. Who knows? In any event, the agreement apparently has “several conditions” attached to it, the only one mentioned being the “favorable resolution” of FTP’s considerable legal troubles with the U.S. government.
Reactions to the news quickly barreled through several phases.
First came the expressions of hope. Then, guarded optimism fueled by the statements of Laurent Tapie (son of Bernard) about paying back players and actually relaunching the sucker by January 2012 (outside the U.S., natch).
Next were the cautious reminders of those not insignificant “conditions.” Soon after came skepticism, mostly directed at the tycoon Tapie for having a past marked by various controversies, among them serving jail time for fixing a soccer match involving a team he ran and tax fraud.
Before long I think most of us had pretty much returned to our previous postures of extreme cynicism from which any news regarding Full Tilt Poker is taken with a 26 oz. cylinder full of salt. After all, this announcement of a possible sale comes just one day removed from FTP saying their licenses being revoked “makes it more difficult to execute the sale of the company and hence repay its players.”
Introducing a character like Tapie into the story at this late juncture seems about right. In truth, anyone stepping in here to buy the site a day after its licenses to operate were revoked and a week after the DOJ’s amendment to the civil complaint was necessarily going to appear something of a wild card, thereby fitting neatly with the already assembled cast.
As Bill Rini tweeted just a little while ago, “I wonder if Tapie has spotted the sucker at the table yet.” Or for more grins, check out Otis' inspired tweet from earlier listing some other projects being considered by Groupe Tapie.
For me, I’m going to put the book of Full Tilt down for now and do something else for a while. Maybe watch some baseball. Or start studying chess. Or perhaps I’ll just pop in Young Frankenstein...