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Old 02-28-2014, 01:15 AM   #1
Go Get It
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A Look Back. RE: FTP

As this month draws to a close, and as the US DOJ prepares to pay out the first wave of US based FTP players I thought I'd take some time and look back over all that has happened over the nearly three years since April 15th 2011.

Do you know how long it's been since that day? It's been over one thousand days, 1,049 to be exact. After becoming conscious of this fact I thought I would reflect on how drastically life is since that day. I want to go back, chronologically, and look over all the madness, all the ups and downs, and all the flat out crazy **** that has happened over the last ~1000 days and remember all of what happened so that we never forget, and never make the same mistake of blindly trusting a company like that with so much.....

This is going to be a long post, there will be no cliffs.

It Starts:

April 15, 2011, Black Friday, tax day, the day the poker world changed forever. Insane to think it was all the way back in 2011 that this ride started.

I remember when I first heard the news that FTP had been shut down. I was on XBL with some of my friends from 2p2 that have been around the game far longer than I have been, and had seen far worse than I had at the time. I was discussing the situation with a good friend of mine and I thought it was all over, he initially shrugged it off noting other times it had looked dark for poker. Then we all saw that infamous image...

Do you all remember that? I remember thinking it's all over. All the hours of study put into the game, all the posting on two plus two, all the hard work that goes into grinding out a respectable bankroll, seemingly gone in an instant.

I, personally, never had much of my action on Poker Stars. FTP, due to rakeback and software that I found to be more user friendly had earned my business, as I know they had earned many of yours as well. How could any of us had known that Poker Stars was the only major site that actually cared about it's players? How could we have known that FTP was in such horrible fiscal shape? Are all these sites regulated or not? All of my poker heroes are not only sponsors of the site but invest and own it as well, how could they being players themselves let this happen? All these questions swirled in the days following. We weren't the only ones who thought this, anyone recall....

Full Tilt is run by much more honorable people than Pokerstars. So you're money is much more likely to be safe there.
And he probably believed that whole heartedly. But JFC was that wrong.

At this point I want to go out of my way to say thank you to Poker Stars and their management for doing the right thing by the players, having our money in separate trust and paying us promptly. Thank you.

The Early Aftermath:

FTP, through it's two plus two mouth piece, FTPDoug, sent many mixed messages in the days and weeks after BF. All one needs to do is look back on the "FTP Answers" threads that were posted in the Internet Poker forum on two plus two. This one is taken from April 21 2011....

11. You people put our money with your operational cash and left it in the US?

- No, that didn't happen. I can't comment too much about this stuff, but this isn't true.
You remember this ****? Just read that knowing what we know now.... What. A. Joke.

And then a week later on the 28th of April...

1. Any estimate on when we [US players] can begin cashing out?

- Here's the official statement about this question: "Full Tilt Poker is diligently working on return of US Players funds which is a top priority and will have a further update for US customers by early next week."
"By early next week"....early next week.....NEXT WEEK....Illuminati. How'd that work out?

Later in that same post....

15. i just cashed out large parts of my roll via local bank transfer because i'm still not sure whats happening and i obviously wanna be rather safe than sorry. rumours say that full tilt went bankrupt and is going to have problems to pay out euro players once they start paying the players from the u.s. can you comment on that and explain why my money is supposed to be safe? i dont wanna go to stars or something bc i hate that site but when it comes to security/reliability stars is looking way better these days than full tilt. how can i be sure that my funds are really safe?

- We are not bankrupt. While there is some fallout from the US situation on non-US withdrawals (mostly in the form of delays), we won't have any problems paying out Euro (or any other) players, even after players in the US have their withdrawals processed.
(Bold added by me)

This really happened. We all lived though this pointed, deceitful, well thought out camping of lies concocted by FTP management and their lawyers. "We're not bankrupt". OK, FTP, OK you win. You're right, you had Chris Fergerson give you millions to stay afloat all while paying yourself with our money, yes technically you're right not bankrupt. All is forgiven.

As i write this I am literally laughing at this point as to how absurd and intricate the FTP lies were at this point and how hard I fell for them at the time.

Just a few days after this post on May 5th 2011 this was posted in the Internet Poker forum...

4. So does this mean when I move, I can make a deposit, but you will have to keep my new deposit separate from my old balance?

- I'm happy to announce that this policy has changed. Now, when you move to a new country and prove that you live there (with a bank statement, a utility bill, and a photo ID), you will have access to (and can play poker with) your existing account balance. There won't be a need to keep any new deposits separate from your old balance. The FAQ will be updated to reflect this change soon.
Then later in that same post....

8. Why are you massively limiting the ability of non-US players to cash out? 2k cheque limit? No wire withdrawals? MB disabled?

- It looks like the Neteller backlog is starting to clear up and I think other processors will start coming up and running smoothly over the next little while. Apologies for the delay, we're catching up with withdrawals as soon as possible.
Yeah, Neteller backlog starting to clear up. Little did we know at this point in time how bad it really was...

From May 15th 2011

When are we getting our money back?

- Here's the official statement about where we currently stand on US withdrawals:

"Since April 15th and the days immediately following, Full Tilt Poker faced numerous challenges and hurdles to ensuring the smooth operation of its international business and the orderly return of US player funds. FTP has worked tirelessly to address these issues and has made significant progress on both fronts.

FTP's international business operations are returning to normal while we focus on ensuring the safe and orderly return of US player deposits. We are absolutely committed to making sure that US players are refunded as soon as possible. We apologize for the delay and the fact that we underestimated the time it would take to work through these issues. We will update our US players when we have more specific information to provide."
More lies leading into the big one where it was clear things were not good at all...

From an update on May 30th 2011...

To our customers:

We acknowledge that our lack of communication reflects poorly on us, and rightfully so. We have been too optimistic in estimating how long it would take to sort through the issues we have faced since Black Friday. And as frustrating as the delays have been for us, we recognize that it cannot compare to the frustration you have been feeling.

We further recognize that our lack of communication has led to much speculation and many unsubstantiated rumors, which have often been contradictory. With this message, we hope to clear up as much confusion as we can, while at the same time keeping in mind the constraints imposed on us as a result of the cases brought in the Southern District of New York.

The most pressing questions:

1. When will the US players be paid?

We still do not have a specific timeframe for this. There has been, and remains, no bigger priority than getting US players paid as soon as possible, and we have been working around the clock to get this done.

2. Is FTP bankrupt?

No. FTP's worldwide business is healthy and, although we've had some short-term challenges, it is operating as normal.


"The AGCC’s investigation into the affairs of it licensee Vantage Limited, trading as Full, is ongoing; initial investigations indicate no reason to believe that player fund transactions are fundamentally threatened by any consequence of the US authorities' actions. Delays caused by these actions are in the process of resolution, with normal service now being restored for non-US players. We understand that progress in respect of US player fund repatriation is anticipated and will be the subject of a separate statement from Full Tilt in due course. The Commission will remain engaged in this process."

3. What is the company doing to speed up payouts to the US players?

We are raising capital to ensure that the US players are paid out in full as quickly as possible.

It is important to remember that Full Tilt Poker has always paid out our players, even in the face of previous legal obstacles or factors not in our control, such as payment processor defaults and prior actions by the US government which resulted in US player funds being seized.

In all of these previous instances, Full Tilt Poker has covered these losses and intends to do the same again.

4. Why are the Full Tilt Pros remaining silent?

It is not their choice. But they are constrained by the pending legal actions.

As a final note, we understand -- and have always understood -- the effect that our brief statements have had not only on our customers, but also on our reputation. It has not been easy to stay silent and watch the damage being done to our company brand and personal reputations, but we need to be mindful of the complicated and serious legal issues raised in the pending cases.
(Bold added by me)

Raising capital......Yeah that made it clear it was really bad. And Just what we needed more announcements about announcements....

Just a day later this one happened...

Good Ole Nick Rainey. At least he was able to shed some light on what was going on behind the scenes at FTP. 100% rakeback accounts, David Benyamine in debt to FTP huge, MA'ing by some FTP Pros, handshake deals for their top tier pros, and who could forget the world famous SCOTT MATUSOW. He's so right all of the time.

I hope it's all coming back by this point, how just F crazy this got.

Phil Ivey Lawsuit:

As that article so correctly states, HOLY ****. I vividly remember this happening. I absolutely was wrong about this one. I clearly remember thinking that Ivey was going to save all the US players by taking it from FTP by means of a lawsuit and somehow magically repaying all of us. I really thought he had done that for us, the players, you know his bankroll. I could have not be more in the wrong.

Just a small quote from his initial statement...

As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.
I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.
Boy, did I believe that ****. We now know that he basically did that for his own gain as he was upset that investors that he brought to the table were told to F off by Bitar et al at FTP, so he got pissed and did the American thing, sued their ass. I know it's to late to do anything now, but he skated on this one imo. This was def -ev for us as players. Just one month later he would voluntarily dismiss his lawsuit, only after it came out that he owed FTP millions and was a scumbag.

ROW Get's A Taste:

The AGCC said in a statement this morning: “The decision to suspend these licenses follows a special investigation prompted by the indictments unsealed by US Attorney General’s Office in the Southern District of New York on 15th April 2011, during which grounds were found to indicate that these licensees and their business associates were operating contrary to Alderney legislation.
OHHHHHH HAAAAIIIII AGCC how I had forgotten about you. Gosh you were the best regulatory body, right next to the great folks out at the Kahnawake. Scrubs.

This was a big one. ROW players had no idea they were in for the same treatment as US players, but after this it was clear FTP was ****in up.

Shortly after FTP was shut down for good by the AGCC it came out that there might be a ray of hope for those of us who had invested out play into FTP...

Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) is in discussions, all be it at an early stage, with its licensees trading as Full Tilt Poker and a third party concerning the prospective refinancing of Full Tilt Poker.
It was apparent even to the biggest FTP supported at this point that there was not enough money to go around. While it was good news that FTP was thinking of refinance, it's clear now that this was all a ruse.

A New Hero Arrives, From France?:

"Mr. Ivey intends to dismiss his lawsuit as he believes Full Tilt is taking steps to see that the players are paid," Chesnoff said.
BOOOOOOOOM. Errr ummm wait. Huh well that didn't go as we wanted did it?

Full Tilt Poker has entered into an exclusive bargaining agreement with a prospective European investor.

The agreement, reached on June 30th, requires Full Tilt to stop negotiations with other prospective investors for at least three weeks while the primary suitor conducts due diligence investigations and negotiates with the poker site’s executives.

reliable source who spoke on the condition of strict anonymity said that Full Tilt’s primary request is enough money to repay players and to cover a potential settlement of the United States Department of Justice’s civil complaint against the poker site.1 Since Full Tilt agreed to this exclusive agreement in spite of the presence of other suitors, the poker site’s executives presumably believe that the primary investor is likely to meet these terms.

This exclusivity agreement is the same agreement reported by the Los Angeles Times, which was widely misinterpreted as a finished agreement to sell some of the company.2 Subject: Poker wishes to stress that no such deal has been finalized, and to our knowledge, Full Tilt has not yet raised any capital from any investors. The actual deal simply involves exclusive negotiations, though it may lead to a sale in the future.
Oh God, good news. Can it be true that we are finally going to get some positive news out of this whole debacle?

They, FTP, finally take a step in the right direction and begin to meet with potential investors. I had no idea at the time who these people were. How many rumors and bad guesses were out there when this thread started up? Remember when we thought we were gonna be saved by Jack Binion? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

While we know that Jack went out to look over FTP's books, we know that he basically laughed at how bad it was and sailed right back to LV. Don't blame the guy one bit.

All of this lead up to the big meeting, you know that rly serious hearing on how the AGCC was gonna wag their finger at FTP and FTP was going to show them that they never stole anything and everything was fine and all the AGCC was doing was wasting their time trying to find an investor for their non problem.

Gonna take a quick sec to say **** the AGCC.

Which brings me to everyone at 2p2's fav lawyer Jeff Ifrah. WEEEEEEEEEE.

Boy he was a big help, wasn't he? ****ing Jeff Ifrah. Has anyone made more money off this whole thing that Ifrah? Seriously? He was like 5 pros lawyer, and FTP's lawyer. Him and Imrich. You remember Ian Imrich right? Chris Ferguson lawyer. Other than his great and apropos last name, F that guy too.

As much as Ifrah came to 2p2, and he deserves credit for stepping into a super hostile environment, we had a red FTP pro come and answer questions right after Ifrah...

Durrrr. Basically the only big time FTP player to come and talk like a man with us here at 2p2. Still have respect for Durrrr from this one.

tom edit: the situation is very ****ty, but its not completely hopeless. ftp was not a ponzi scheme, it was an insanely profitable company that made a ridiculous decision and then a host of other ridiculous decisions trying to avoid owning up to the 1st mistake. Theres still hope, although we shouldn't need to be talking about ***** hope right now obviously.
(Bold added by me)

Yes hope, durrrr, yes there is. Until....

Major Blow To FTP:

At a hearing held in London over six days, it emerged that FTP had fundamentally misled AGCC about their operational integrity by continuously reporting as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by US authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator. Serious breaches of AGCC regulations include false reporting, unauthorized provision of credit, and failure to report material events

Welllllll ****. This one hurt, bad. AGCC who are complete idiots and basically sit on the sideline for years letting FTP do whatever the hell they want come out and step on FTP heart. Tearing away what hope FTP had as far as a self managed comeback. Howeva....


"Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie Sign Acquisition Agreement

Dublin, Ireland (September 30, 2011) Laurent Tapie, Managing Director of ‘Groupe Bernard Tapie’ announced today that the group has signed an exclusive agreement with the Board of Directors of Full Tilt Poker to acquire the company and all of its associated assets.

This agreement, which includes the repayment of Full Tilt Poker’s world-wide players in full, is subject to several conditions; the first of which is a favorable resolution with the United States Department of Justice. Discussions with the United States Department of Justice will begin immediately.

‘Groupe Bernard Tapie’ has over 30 years of experience in the salvation of financially distressed businesses, with over 40 companies acquired and managed to profitability, the most well-known being the sport equipment giant, Adidas."
Holy **** it's real, the roller coaster ride, when does it end?

Man what exhilaration I felt reading this. I mean it was over. FTP was ****ed, no one was gonna pick up a company that lost it's licenses and had no money and was ****ed. Except, you know, some French guys.

This agreement, which includes the repayment of Full Tilt Poker’s world-wide players in full, is subject to several conditions; the first of which is a favorable resolution with the United States Department of Justice. Discussions with the United States Department of Justice will begin immediately.

Now all we have to do is wait. We know there are steps to be taken before we get paid and can play on FTP again, but God Damn it's def gonna happen, this guy is legit, he's rich and saving companies is what he does.

Headlines shortly after that agreement:

I mean we're golden, pop the bottles, kill the hookers, take the blow baby GG. Totally like 2 weeks till we get paid yo... The last link above is from December 15 2011... Now we wait....

Fall Of GBT, Rise Of PS<3FTP:

So while we were waiting it seems like GBT's plans weren't all that good for us players who had "real" money on FTP...

Groupe Bernard Tapie regrets to announce that, after seven months of intensive work, our efforts to obtain final approval of the United States Department of Justice of the agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success.
Ultimately, the deal failed due to two major issues.

The parties could not agree on a plan for repayment of ROW players.

GBT proposed a plan that would have resulted in immediate reinstatement of all ROW player balances, with a right to withdraw those funds over time, based on the size of the player balance and the extent of the player’s playing activity on the re-launched site. All players would have been permitted complete withdrawal of their balances, regardless of whether they played on the site, by a date certain, and 94.9% of ROW players would have been fully repaid on day 1. DOJ ultimately insisted on full repayment with right of withdrawal within 90 days for all players– a surprise demand made in the 11th hour, after months of good-faith negotiations by GBT.
The DOJ demanded that US players get paid in full or **** you GBT. After all this is done don't ever forget that quote. The DOJ obv was not 100% in our corner but that **** was boss to tell GBT to F off.

But wait 11th hour demands, months of good-faith negotiations, 94.9% of players getting paid back, what exactly happened?

Let us not forget the man(woman?), the myth, the news breaking legend PS<3FTP...

PokerStars has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to buy FTP.
OHHH **** PS saves the day? I want to believe!

* All players will be refunded 100%
* Both sites back online
* Both sites have promotions
* Employees remain in both places

Expect more news today.

Mod note, NoahSD:

I don't know if this is actually true, but a number of inside sources contacted me to tell me to undelete this thread. So, this thread is staying open for now.

Goodbye fried rice hello fried chicken.

In what is probably the most insane twist in this whole thing PS comes out of no where trumps GBT's offer by a mile and gets the DOJ to cosign on it.

As we all know, at this point in time there are many steps to go till we get paid but this is the first time when we knew it was going to be some number higher than $0 for our rolls 100% of the time. PS is beyond reproach as far as taking care of their players and for them to not only take care of their own but save their biggest rivals players too is amazing.

Again, going to take a sec to say a huge THANK YOU to Poker Stars. Let's be honest without them no one gets paid for a while if ever.

Bitar Surrenders:

To all Dublin Staff,

By now you probably have heard that I have returned to the US to deal with civil and criminal case that are pending against me in New York. We have all worked hard over the last 15 months to preserve Full Tilt’s assets and potential in order to provide for the repayment of all players, and that continues to be our top priority. It is as important as ever that we all do everything possible to make that happen and, hopefully our deal with Poker Stars will very soon make our goal a reality. My return to the US is part of this process.

This was the last major step before the assets of FTP could be taken over by PS imo. And as much as **** Ray Bitar's lobster eating fat broken heart having ass, thank you. Thank you for risking your lively hood when you could have stayed gone and been rich in Dublin and left us players to rot, you didn't. I will never know/meet you more than likely but thank you for this. Maybe you do have a soul.

Between this and:

There was a lot of red tape, waiting, dirt that came out on everyone at FTP. But that just about did it. Yes we had to wait for the GCG to get the DOJ's approval, but they did it and now we are going to get what we should have never had to been without.

And while it's not over for all of us, it's clear that it will be in the near future. Sure there will be some outlying issues that players have but overall I'd like to think that there will be a smooth process for getting our money back.

Obv I've missed somethings in this look back, but I hope this will stand as a general reminder as to what we went through.

And now at the end I want to thank some people who helped us through this, no particular order:

SrslySirius (Songs obv)
Quad Jacks, specifically Marco (never ending broadcast after BF hit was a great service to the players)
Poker Stars
Patrick at the GCG
Mason Malmuth (providing us with a unified place to share our thoughts over the last 3 years, 2p2)
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:27 AM   #2
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Originally Posted by Go Get It View Post

This is going to be a long post, there will be no cliffs.
i made it this far
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:28 AM   #3
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Do your self a fav and read it imo.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:42 AM   #4
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Great summary of that ridiculous roller coaster we went thru.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:56 AM   #5
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Solid read and well done, thanks.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:24 AM   #6
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Great thread. As someone who completely stopped following poker after black friday I missed most of this. Didn't think we were ever gonna get paid for a very long time.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:39 AM   #7
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Solid recap. No Chinamaniac on the list?
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:43 AM   #8
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

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Old 02-28-2014, 04:59 AM   #9
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Not a day goes by since April 15th 2011 that wasn't affected from this ****ing **** show.
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Old 02-28-2014, 05:08 AM   #10
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

It's very kind of you to include me OP, but I do not belong on that list.
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Old 02-28-2014, 05:47 AM   #11
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Lol, I remember listening to quad jacks non stop trying to figure wtf was going on. Jesus its been a long ride.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:42 AM   #12
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Originally Posted by pinkpantherr View Post
Lol, I remember listening to quad jacks non stop trying to figure wtf was going on. Jesus its been a long ride.
+1. QJ did an amazing job back then. kudos for them all!
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:09 AM   #13
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

good post.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:14 AM   #14
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

All that's missing is lightsabers and John Williams music playing in the background
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:28 AM   #15
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Brings back a lot of memories, and I didn't even have any money on FTP. Quite the rollercoaster though.
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:28 AM   #16
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Originally Posted by BlackjackAJ View Post
Solid recap. No Chinamaniac on the list?
haha, yeah couldn't get it all.

Originally Posted by SrslySirius View Post
It's very kind of you to include me OP, but I do not belong on that list.
Oh come on dude. We all laughed at your videos, kept us distracted during this thing.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:04 AM   #17
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Nice read.

But you forgot to include Wendeen's photo.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:46 PM   #18
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

great post OP. thanks for taking the time to memorialize in one place this unbelievable chapter in the book of poker .

my cliff notes: lobsters are expensive and you shouldn't use other peoples money to pay for them.

Originally Posted by SrslySirius View Post
It's very kind of you to include me OP, but I do not belong on that list.
your humility is noted but not warranted here. You were part of all this and added value in the same way Stephen Colbert add's value to fixing all the wrongs in our govt. humor is effective tool.

Last edited by PTLou; 02-28-2014 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:02 PM   #19
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

@ Go Get Em - Thanks for including me in the list. We are all in this together, and its very important that we never forget.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:04 PM   #20
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

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Old 02-28-2014, 02:08 PM   #21
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

reminds me of all the hours Ive passed refreshing the ftp chatter thread and the now infamous next week answer.

Still cant believe at one point we were all sweating the tapie deal and using our 1 time for him to succed.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:18 PM   #22
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

cliffs should read: next week

edit: cool of you to put all of this together though
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:40 PM   #23
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Great post OP.

Brought back some painful memories. I forgot how many times during the past 3 years I thought "we're getting paid" to later disappointment of "we're not getting paid" and back and forth.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:51 PM   #24
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

excellent cliffs on the situation.

thanks for posting this.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:10 PM   #25
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Re: A Look Back. RE: FTP

Originally Posted by Go Get It View Post
This is going to be a long post, there will be no cliffs.

Originally Posted by Go Get It View Post
Goodbye fried rice hello fried chicken.

Great write up nick, really astonishing how much **** has gone down since BF. Thanks a ton for taking the time to post this!
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