High Stakes Economy Went Through Recession When Full Tilt Poker Collapsed

Published on February 10th, 2019 11:40 pm EST

Full Tilt Poker - Once upon a time.When Full Tilt Poker collapsed after "Black Friday", many of the biggest names in poker that you grew up watching on TV saw their golden goose die literally overnight.

As the years have passed by since Full Tilt Poker's collapse, it has become more and more apparent that the site was fuelling much of the high stakes cash game economy.

There were members of "Team Full Tilt", who owned equity stakes in the company, that were drawing hundreds of thousands of dollars (and more in some cases) from the site every single month. Some of these stakeholders were very good poker players who were winning anyways, while others were not so good.

These lesser players lost their fountains of cash on a monthly basis, either on Full Tilt Poker or the high stakes cash game tables in Las Vegas. There was no issue though - Full Tilt Poker was a profit machine and there would be another mountain of cash sent the following month. After all, Full Tilt Poker was the clear #2 site behind Pokerstars and was printing money.

Million dollar loans were taken out by some members of "Team Full Tilt", backed by their equity stakes in the company. Lend me $1 million, they'd say, and it will only take a couple of months to pay you back. After all, I have an equity stake in Full Tilt Poker, and hundreds of thousands of dollars arrive in my account every month.

There were many of these loans outstanding when Full Tilt Poker collapsed in 2011. Many of the people who had been loaned money had only one income stream - Full Tilt Poker - so they had absolutely no chance of paying anybody back when the site collapsed. The fountains of cash stopped overnight, taking much of the high stakes poker economy (especially in Las Vegas) with it.


Recent revelations about how much "old school" pros owe in unpaid loans brought Full Tilt Poker back into the spotlight, and reminded the poker community of how many loans went unpaid after the site collapsed.

Those who owed the money, in many cases, simply shrugged their shoulders and said that they would repay the money when they could.

Those who were owed the money largely wrote the debts off, as it was very apparent that many of the people who had borrowed had no way of paying back after Full Tilt Poker's collapse.

There is literally millions of dollars in unpaid loans in the high stakes poker world that will almost certainly never be repaid, and much of this debt has ties to Full Tilt Poker.