Ray Bitar, CEO of dormant online poker outfit Full Tilt Poker (FTP), has issued an apology (of sorts) to everyone negatively affected by FTP’s implosion since the US Department of Justice handed down its indictments on April 15, 2011 (aka Black Friday). While Bitar had issued a single-sentence statement in November praising the DoJ’s approval of discussions between itself and Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) to acquire FTP’s assets, plus an even briefer statement made via a third-party in July that Ray’s feelings had been hurt by rumors that he’d been ousted from FTP, this new exclusive 450-word ‘interview’ with Poker Strategy represents Bitar’s first real direct comment to FTP’s former players in the nearly 11 months since Black Friday.
Not that Bitar actually said much. He offered a “sincere apology to all who have been affected by these events,” but stressed that his Marcel Marceau routine “was not an attempt to ‘hide’ or ‘ignore’ the situation.” Bitar’s reasons for staying shtum were twofold: first, his unwillingness to jeopardize the “ongoing legal process” by providing any “relevant information surrounding the on-going investigation.” Bitar admits he could have made “general statements” as time went by, but “any such statements would be so general in nature that they would not provide answers to the many questions people understandably have.”
Second, Bitar claims to have been too busy “working every single day since Black Friday to ensure players are repaid.” Unlike that grandstanding Hercules fellow, Bitar’s labors “had to be done out of the scrutiny of the public eye.” Making full use of his martyr card, Bitar argued that while keeping the public informed on the day-to-day negotiations “would certainly take some of the heat off myself,” he was content to throw his reputation on the nearest grenade rather than “diminish the likelihood of a successful outcome [to the negotiations], which is what we need to be focused on.” In other words, Ray’s pointing at the moon, but FTP players keep staring at his finger, and thinking of all the ways they’d like to catch that fat little digit in a steel door frame. Viewed in that light, it’s practically the players’ fault. Shame on you, players. Shame on you.
Cryptically, Bitar also said he was “working on the future plans of FTP,” although the DoJ has made it plain that no former FTP board members will be a part of any reconstituted FTP. Will we need to wait another 11 months for Bitar to issue a statement that he’d, um, misspoke?