By Wednesday, this had already been a busy week with regard to the presumably impending deal between PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Early in the week, three members of FTR’s board of directors, Rafe Furst, Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer, filed motions to have the civil charges against them dismissed. And on Tuesday, PokerStars filed a motion to have the civil charges filed against some of its subsidiaries dismissed.
Barely a day later, some began to speculate that the motion filed by PokerStars could jeopardize its negotiations with the Department of Justice to finally purchase Full Tilt Poker. Others, on the other hand, voiced the possibility that if PokerStars’ motion to dismiss is ultimately approved, the online poker giant might be able to complete its purchase of FTP with comparative ease.
PokerStars’ ongoing attempt to buy Full Tilt Poker remained a hot topic throughout the day thanks, in large part, to a series of tweets attributed to James Barnes, an attorney who once served as Party Gaming’s legal counsel. The controversial tweets that originated from Barnes’ Twitter account read as follows:
“Pokerstars folds on FTP deal. Never real deal, just bluff to prevent Tapie from bringing FTP back to market – great bargaining chip with DOJ.”
“DOJ have rejected proposal by Isai to have civil charges dropped. He’s worried about jail time. Pokerstars have gone all-in! Will DoJ fold?”
“@_tizzle I’m afraid I can’t divulge source or go into detail, but I stand behind it. And TBH not entirely surprising! #FTP #PokerStars.”
Barnes’ tweets clearly communicate his personal belief that PokerStars will not purchase Full Tilt and indicate that he does not believe PokerStars ever really intended to follow through with the purchase in the first place. In response to the doubt Barnes’ tweets created in the minds of poker players everywhere and those who are hopeful they will get the money that is owed to them by FTP once Full Tilt is bought by PokerStars, ESPN.com’s poker columnist, Andrew Feldman, tweeted the following on behalf of Eric Hollreiser, the Head of PokerStars’ Corporate Communications:
“The Head of Corp Communications for @PokerStars @erichollreiser says the Twitter rumors of PS folding on the FTP deal is ‘false.'”
Feldman followed his initial tweet with another which read, “To clarify, @erichollreiser said the tweets from today were ‘false.’ That’s it.”
In his effort to quash the rumors swirling all over the Internet, Hollreiser re-tweeted Feldman’s original tweet that labeled the rumors presumably initiated by Barnes “false.” Hollreiser reaffirmed his stance that the rumors were untrue in two successive tweets sent to staff members at PokerNews.
According to the information that is available about Barnes on the Internet, he is a credible, reputable industry insider who has no reason to deliberately tell an untruth about any issue, let alone the deal between PokerStars and FTP. Some have questioned the accuracy of his unnamed source, however, saying that Barnes may have simply relayed information that was brought to his attention that is just not true.
Despite Hollreiser’s refutation of Barnes’ tweets, quite a few online sources speculate that Barnes’ messages may prove to be accurate in the end. If PokerStars is able to prevent another entity from purchasing Full Tilt Poker by perpetuating either sincere or insincere negotiations to buy the website’s assets, PokerStars will likely continue to be the world’s largest online poker provider, you see, because none of its competitors will be able use FTP’s brand to attract players and possibly reduce PokerStars’ player base.
Although it may sound cliché, the only known truth that can currently be written about whether PokerStars is actually actively attempting to purchase Full Tilt Poker is that time will tell. With time, poker players around the world will know whether the tweets from Barnes or those initiated by Hollreiser were true or untrue.