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may
20

Howard Lederer's Apology To The Poker Community

Tags: black friday, Howard Lederer.
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016 by "T".

On Wednesday, ex-Full Tilt Poker owner Howard Lederer released a statement via Daniel Negreanus's blog on Black Friday (April 15, 2011) when Full Tilt Poker (along with another 2 major poker sites) was closed down by the United States Department of Justice and thousands of players couldn't withdraw their funds for years to come. Negreanu's blog post in red and Lederers statement in black

Since Black Friday back in 2011 we have heard from Howard in a radio interview as well as an extensive "Lederer Files" interview conducted by PokerNews. Neither was received well and one of the more common objections to those interviews was the lack of personal responsibility for what ultimately happened. Much of the Lederer Files interview was spent deflecting blame and there was no real sense of a meaningful apology for his role in all of it. My assumption is that Howard did those interviews to clear his name to some degree, but I think it just enraged people even more. There was a smugness and an arrogance present during that interview that was off-putting to many.

During that period I was extremely vocal about my displeasure with him personally and with how everything was being handled. Looking back, while I stand by what I said back then, I would have handled it a little differently. It's been five years now and I've grown up a little since then. I don't regret being vocal about it all, but I would have left out the talk of baseball bats and handled my response more responsibly.

I've spoken to a few people about whether or not I should be the one to release a statement from Howard Lederer and I didn't get much support. I heard:
"Why should it be you?"
"Let him just post it on his own. You posting it is an endorsement of him and what he is writing."

Ultimately, I think the poker community will want to read this message and the vehicle is less important than the message itself. My posting of it, is neither an endorsement or a condemnation. I'm simply the messenger and I will provide my two cents on the statement below. Here is Howard's statement to the poker community:

Howard's Statement:

I am writing to apologize to everyone in the poker community, especially to all the players who had money on Full Tilt Poker on April 15, 2011. When Full Tilt Poker closed in 2011, there was a shortfall in funds, a distressed sale to recover those funds, and a long delay in repaying players. Throughout this period, there was little explanation for the delay, and no apology. Players felt lied to. They trusted the site, and they trusted me, and I didn't live up to that trust.

I take full responsibility for Full Tilt's failure to protect player deposits leading up to Black Friday. The shortfall in player deposits should never have happened. I should have provided better oversight or made sure that responsible others provided that oversight. I was a founder in the company that launched Full Tilt, and I became the face of the company's management in the poker community. Many of our players played on the site because they trusted me.

Even though I was no longer overseeing day to day operations, my inattention in the two years leading up to Black Friday imperiled players' deposits. My involvement in Full Tilt from 2003-2008 put me in a unique position of trust-a trust that I disappointed by failing to ensure that Full Tilt was properly governed when I stepped away in 2008. My failure to make sure proper oversight was in place when I left resulted in the situation that began to unfold on Black Friday. Players were not able to get their money back for a minimum of a year and a half, and, for many, it has been much longer. I've been a poker player my entire adult life. I know the importance of having access to one's bankroll. The lost opportunity, frustration, and anxiety many of FTP's customers experienced in the intervening years is unacceptable. I cannot be sorry enough for what happened.

During Full Tilt's rise, I received a lot of praise. I couldn't see it at the time, but I let the headlines change me. In the first couple of years after Black Friday I made lots of excuses, to my friends, my family and myself, for why I wasn't the bad guy or big-headed or wrong. In the months immediately following the crisis, I focused a lot of energy on trying to refute allegations that were factually untrue. I convinced myself that I was a victim of circumstance and that criticism was being unfairly directed toward me instead of others. I was missing the bigger picture.

At a wedding in the fall of 2014, I was sitting with a friend, talking about Full Tilt. I was grumbling about how unfair my lot in life had become. My friend didn't let me off the hook. I'm paraphrasing here, but he said, "Howard, it doesn't matter whether you knew about the shortfall or what you did to help players get paid. These players feel like you lied to them. You were the face of the company in the poker community. Thousands of players played on the site because they trusted you. Many pros represented the site because they thought you were in control. And you happily accepted the accolades while falling short of their trust."

At the time, my friend's response felt like a slap in the face, but it is clear to me now that it was fair. An apology is not enough, but it is what I am able to offer to the poker community in the wake of a travesty that I should not have allowed to happen. I am sorry.

************************************************************

I think this is the kind of apology people would have liked to read five years ago. It may be too little too late for some, but it's a far cry from The Lederer Files. Does it definitively answer all the questions surrounding what he knew and what he didn't know? No. Does it change the fact that people who trusted Howard, both investors and customers alike, were let down? No. Does it mean that you should be any less pissed at him for what happened? That one is up to you I guess.

Thankfully, PokerStars came to the rescue a few years ago and made a deal with the DOJ to take over the company and make sure that the customers with money on the site were paid. Without PokerStars, it seems highly likely that none of the players who ultimately got paid would have ever gotten their money. I do know that Howard was working on multiple deals during that time, but from what I heard, it didn't seem like any of those deals would have panned out if not for PokerStars.

With Full Tilt Poker merging with PokerStars this week, it marks the end of an era. Some call it the "golden era." The perfect storm that created a poker boom like we'd never seen before and may never see again. The Full Tilt Poker chapter has been closed, and It appears as though Howard wanted to write this apology to turn the page on his own life. My guess is that many will have no interest in an apology from him. I do think there are some who, despite it changing nothing, will appreciate it.

If anything, I think writing this statement is good for him. It's the right thing to do. Of course, I wish it happened five years ago but it doesn't seem like Howard was in a place where he was ready to take responsibility for his role back then. In this statement, he does, and at the very least, I would imagine that its a relief for him to get it off his chest. The choice to accept his apology is a personal one. There is no right or wrong way to receive it. For what its worth, I personally believe the apology to be genuine.

I don't, however, expect Howard to ever be in charge of making decisions in the poker community in the future and I don't think he has any aspirations to. My guess is that he just wants to be able to play poker again without the vitriol sent in his direction. Will this apology accomplish that? I don't know. I can only say that for me, I'm not bothered by him being at the poker table anymore. The players have been paid and he seems to be finally acknowledging and owning that he really screwed up. I have no interest in continuing to hold my grudge against him. I don't expect us to ever be "pals," as we never really were even before, but the venom I once held inside for him has subsided and I'd also like to close that chapter of my own life.

 

source: http://fullcontactpoker.com/poker-journal.php?subaction=showfull&id=1463698953&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&


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20 comments for "Howard Lederer''s Apology To The Poker Community "

 ChopperDave5/20/2016 8:27:01 PM GMT
Please send this guy to jail!!
 RoninHarper5/20/2016 9:22:28 PM GMT
G'day mates

I think this apology is "too little, way to damned late".
Howard Lederer lied to players and took advantage of peoples trust.
When "Black Friday" happened I was living in the United States.
I was totally screwed over because of it.
I lost my only avenue to play poker because I suddenly was unable to play online.
He hardly was even punished for his part in what happened.
Why you ask?
Because he had enough money to buy his way out of it from a legal point of view in the US.
If a poor person had lied to and defrauded people the way he did they would have went to prison. Howard spent money on a great legal team and just bought his way out.

Apology not accepted Howard!
 pinotte5/20/2016 10:04:03 PM GMT
Ronin you were directly hurt by the Black Friday and i understand your frustration. I was not a customer of Full Tilt and did not suffered directly of this. Know is he saying the truth nobody know he is the only one to know exactly what happened . I am not saying that i believe it but i like very much the comment of Daniel Negreanu.

I read his blog a few time and fid that he is a very bright guy and his comment are all interesting.
 ChopperDave5/21/2016 2:28:47 AM GMT
I believe they are both Puppets for Stars and should not be believed. They are both very smart and as such, it would be foolish to believe HL got 40mil and did not know exactly what was going on...he's is and always will be liar a cheat....
 Tony_MON7ANA5/21/2016 2:44:48 AM GMT
Where is Annie Duke?
Is she running for office now?
 pinotte5/21/2016 2:53:39 AM GMT
Posted by ChopperDave:
I believe they are both Puppets for Stars and should not be believed. They are both very smart and as such, it would be foolish to believe HL got 40mil and did not know exactly what was going on...he's is and always will be liar a cheat....


You really think that Daniel care about Stars. Big Smile Big Smile Big Smile

For sure he is getting money from them but go read his blog and when Stars does something he does not like he say it and don't care.

He does not need them anymore with the money he have he could live without working no problem. Big Smile Big Smile
 pochui5/21/2016 8:24:11 AM GMT
i have to admit that once i saw the text of this story spread out on more than two paragraphs i was immediately hooked onto NOT reading it, therefore i can only add that i don't really give a sh1t on whether this dude is apologising or not and whether it's sincere or not. keep it shorter, pochui's brain is boiling when he tries to read anything too long
 doubletop7775/21/2016 9:27:39 AM GMT
This apology is way too little. Lots of people lost money over this or had to wait an awful long time to get any money back. It seems he has got away with this and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself but i doubt it
 shokaku5/21/2016 10:57:17 AM GMT
As other said before, this is just to little, to late. 5 years have passed since the blow up of the original FT, and now this half harted attempt of an excuse by Lederer. I guess not to many players will buy that.
 magatt9665/21/2016 2:28:23 PM GMT
Posted by RoninHarper:
G'day mates

I think this apology is "too little, way to damned late".
Howard Lederer lied to players and took advantage of peoples trust.
When "Black Friday" happened I was living in the United States.
I was totally screwed over because of it.
I lost my only avenue to play poker because I suddenly was unable to play online.
He hardly was even punished for his part in what happened.
Why you ask?
Because he had enough money to buy his way out of it from a legal point of view in the US.
If a poor person had lied to and defrauded people the way he did they would have went to prison. Howard spent money on a great legal team and just bought his way out.

Apology not accepted Howard!



Completely on your side about this buffoonery Ronin

As Shokaku just said: I will not buy it


Fuck you Lederer
 TheMachineQC5/21/2016 4:34:59 PM GMT
Howard Lederer just thinks "What am I gonna do when I'm 80 years old like Doyle"? He was on his way to be a poker legend untill that happened.

If it was really like he said, all mismanagement and greedy people (he chose them though) running the company, then I could actually forgive him... But I don't buy into that crap without proof that he wasn't aware of any illegal activities... and I doubt he has proof of that.
 pinotte5/21/2016 7:07:23 PM GMT
We have seen many companies going bankrupt due to poor management after having building a very profitable one they did exactly what Lederer said i did.

Is it true like Daniel Negreanu said it is to everyone to decide.

And i like very much Daniel comment when he say i would not care sitting at the same poker table but he will never be my friend. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
 vic755/22/2016 5:07:28 AM GMT
Oh this got away with this fraud in the millions then laughs at all the Full Tilt players 5 years later with this lame apology a big piece of SHIT scum of the earth you want to flush down the toilet.
 Calmplay5/22/2016 5:11:25 AM GMT
We as online poker players whatever the stakes we play, our life was nice until that black friday. The guy can't come out of his cave like that to apology... I think he is part of the illegal activities full stop. I'm not a victim of BF but Its unacceptable...
 IceQueenAce5/22/2016 8:22:03 AM GMT
You will all hate me for saying this but...

It was absolutely common knowledge that it was illegal in the US to put money into poker sites and that the sites circumvented the law illegally. And it is also well known that back then there wasn't the protection of money in place like there is today (and protection is pretty poor, even today.)

Not only was this situation predictable, but with the way the US was talking about reclaiming money and taxes etc etc, it was entirely expected.

You (as did I) took a risk, we all knew it was a risk. But now, well it is just easier in today's society to blame someone else, isn't it?

We all did something knowing we could lose all our bankroll, and then get all disgusted when that very thing happens.
 damosk5/22/2016 8:40:31 AM GMT
Interesting comments guys. However it seems to me that just because it is poker, that some people in charge of the company who appear to have been allegedly negligent in their management and oversight of the company receive little consequence for the inconvenience and losses to, and lack of care shown towards individual customers. Had it been another organisation, then the outcome May have been different. Saying sorry seems to make Mr Leferer better, but not anyone else!
 Calmplay5/22/2016 12:42:30 PM GMT
also I saw on an other site that probably he is apologizing because it appears that he wants to play this year's WSOP... so if its the case its a bullsh1t apology then.
 STACIONAR5/23/2016 12:41:34 PM GMT
Full Tilt are really guilty that they worked illegally, as well as other websites. They think knew what so will occur, but wanted to undertake nothing or just refused to them as a lot of money has been laundered in the illegal way.
 DaCapo715/25/2016 8:02:03 AM GMT
Thats true, but i think the real owner behind the public are the real bad guys, not poker pros like Lederer, Ivey and so on. Ok Lederer hold share on ft in the past, but i´m sure that didn´t knew all things. But ok, thank you to poker stars that we got our money later Thumbs Up
 T3ddyKGB5/27/2016 3:51:42 PM GMT
Posted by IceQueenAce:
You will all hate me for saying this but...

It was absolutely common knowledge that it was illegal in the US to put money into poker sites and that the sites circumvented the law illegally. And it is also well known that back then there wasn't the protection of money in place like there is today (and protection is pretty poor, even today.)

Not only was this situation predictable, but with the way the US was talking about reclaiming money and taxes etc etc, it was entirely expected.

You (as did I) took a risk, we all knew it was a risk. But now, well it is just easier in today's society to blame someone else, isn't it?

We all did something knowing we could lose all our bankroll, and then get all disgusted when that very thing happens.


well, many things on earth are on the boarder of legality. i doubt that the majority knew what was going on and if its legal or not. most pokerplayer are still occasion player and rarely read whats going on behind the scene.
it was after PS the biggest pokersite with a dozen known pros, WSOP winners and whatever promoting the site - that alone gives someone a safety feeling, to have his money on the right place.
surely there were alot others involved but he was the face of FT, so its normal that everyone blames him. i just cant believe someone whos leading (or one of the leader) a big company and tells me he didnt know over all the years whats going on. he gotta be dumb, but a dumb person isnt even capable to launch a company.

billy boy: i did not have sexual relation with that woman Big Smile

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