Full Tilt Poker: Where Are They Now?
At the height of the online poker boom Full Tilt Poker, and the men who ran it, were the very embodiment of igaming success. They had wealth, fame and power and weren’t afraid to flaunt it at every turn.
Full Tilt’s amazing run came to a screeching halt on Black Friday and those same men suddenly found themselves behind bars; on the run; and the targets of multiple civil lawsuits.
Now that the dust has settled and justice has been served, the FTP crew have mostly settled their cases and are moving on with their lives. Here’s a look at where they’ve landed.
Raymond Bitar, CEO – After two years as a fugitive in Ireland, Ray Bitar returned to the U.S. in 2013 to face his charges. Bitar settled up his case by surrendering millions of dollars’ worth of assets and time served.
Like most of the FTP crew, Bitar is keeping a pretty low profile and is believed to be awaiting a heart transplant in his home state of California.
Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, Director - With his long hair and cowboy hat, Ferguson was probably the most recognizable FTP executive. Though Ferguson avoided serious criminal charges in the case, he was hit with a civil suit which he settled in 2013.
Ferguson is still an active poker and blackjack player in Las Vegas and is reportedly planning a return to professional play.
Howard ‘The Professor’ Lederer, Director – Lederer, who was also hit with a massive civil suit, settled up in late 2012 by forfeiting millions of dollars’ worth of personal assets.
His settlement stated that he’s not to work in online gambling until it’s legalized. Though he keeps a low profile today, don’t be surprised to hear from him again.
Like his friend Ferguson, Lederer is still an active poker player and is considering a return to professional play.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of folks in the poker world who’d like to see Lederer and Ferguson catch a permanent ban from tournament play for their role in the scandal.
Rafe Furst, Board Member – Though never as high profile as the other FTP players, Furst was hit with a civil suit from the DOJ all the same. The Stanford graduate was one of the first FTP execs to settle up his case and was out of hot water in November, 2012.
These days, Furst has re-invented himself as a Silicon Valley “crowdfunder” and promotes his service on a blog that’s loaded with pictures of his kids and California-friendly links like, “Being” and “Reflecting.” (The FTP guys were nothing if not great showmen.)
Daniel Tzvetkoff, Payment Processor – After spending four months in prison for his role in the payment processing end of the scandal, Tzevtkoff turned State’s Witness (or “snitch” – depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on).
After his work for the Feds was done, Tzevtkoff lit off for Australia where, according to Cardplayer.com, he’s currently working for a, “respectable organization.”
Not all the FTP execs and minor players have remained in the limelight and some names like John Campos and Nelson Burtnick have moved on and their whereabouts remain unknown.