$82m in Full Tilt Payouts coming - Mike Sowers due $490k

by Jeremy Olson on January 24, 2014

There’s definitely reason for the poker community to celebrate because the US Department of Justice has approved $82 million worth of old Full Tilt Poker payouts. This means a large injection of cash back into the poker world, with over 30,000 players set to benefit from the long overdue repayments.

Some players have more reason to be excited than others. Mike “SowersUNCC” Sowers is one of them because he won a $2 million guaranteed “$1k Monday” tournament before Black Friday (April 15th, 2011). Sowers earned a $490,296 payout after outlasting star players like Ben Tollerene, Chris Hunichen, Chris Moorman, Mickey Petersen and Mohsin Charania. Now, Sowers can finally rejoice because the $490k is soon going to be his.

He isn’t the only one who’s getting back a fortune from the locked-up Full Tilt money. Blair Hinkle is due even more money since he won the FTOPS XIX Main Event just months before Black Friday. Hinkle collected a $1.2 million payout, or so he thought. But he was shocked to find out that he couldn’t even withdraw $48,000 of his money after receiving numerous excuses from Full Tilt leading up to April 15th.

As much of the poker world knows, Black Friday marked a terrible occasion for players. PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and UB Poker were all reprimanded by the US Department of Justice for money laundering and wire fraud. Both Absolute and UB shut down and no repayment plans have been set in place.

PokerStars actually paid players back in full and has largely settled their case with the US DOJ. Full Tilt, meanwhile, couldn’t repay players because their owners took millions from player deposits. Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar and Rafe Furst were all prosecuted in the aftermath, with each having to pay back millions of dollars in fines. Bitar was expected to get prison time leading up to his settlement, but bad health and the need for a heart transplant helped him dodge a stiffer sentence.