Poker fans will not be seeing one their favorite players at the World Series of Poker this year.
Phil Ivey, considered one of the world's best players, is boycotting the annual event in Las Vegas and suing his sponsor, Full Tilt Poker.
The eight-time World Series bracelet winner says the poker website has damaged his reputation by not paying back $150 million owed to U.S. players as the company promised in April after being indicted as part of a federal crackdown on online poker.
Ivey released a statement on his website, reading:
"I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result, many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm. I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot."
However, Full Tilt has fired back at the accusations and insist Ivey is only looking out for one poker player — himself. The company wrote in an email:
"Tiltware doubts Mr. Ivey's frivolous and self-serving lawsuit will ever get to court. But if it does, the company looks forward to presenting facts demonstrating that Mr. Ivey is putting his own narrow financial interests ahead of the players he professes to help."
He is looking for $150 million in damages, so there may be some merit to the company's argument. However, if they owe players money there is no excuse for not paying it back.
It seems the poker community has backed one of WSOP's highest ranking players with lots of praise for his boycott on Facebook, but only time will tell if the courts back him as well.
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[Image via WENN.]