On Tuesday I will be in London attending the Full Tilt Hearing, held by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC). This is the first time I have ever been to any sort of hearing, and journalistically one of the most important things I am likely to be a part of. I am really excited to be involved, and in equal measure I am very anxious.
Anxious, because there are so many unknowns going into it. Both for the industry as a whole, and for me as a reporter. I have never reported on something of this scale and importance before, and also figure it to be potentially quite mentally taxing; it is after all a legal hearing.
I have spoken to some people at the AGCC and the hearing is not going to be particularly reporter friendly. Phones will not be allowed, recording equipment will not be allowed, press cannot ask questions, and wifi access will possibly not be allowed either. So my initial hopes of tweeting the whole thing word for word turned out to be a bit lofty.
One of the really difficult things on the day will be managing the expectations of poker players. Just about everyone I have spoken to about this event have some real misconceptions about the hearing, most of which are around the idea that the hearing will bring about some resolution to the story. They think that Howard is going to be there, exact monetary figures will be discussed, that Full Tilt will make a statement, and that a final decision will be made.
I would say, lower your expectations. I can’t see many, or any, of those things happening. I would say that the likelihood is we will see a lot of red tape, a few nuggets of new information that shine some light of the gravity of the situation, and a better idea of what the next steps look like. It’s unlikely that anyone from Full Tilt other than lawyers will be present, or that any decision made can’t be disputed in court.
Of course I am going down for that 1 in 10 (my crude EV calc) chance that I will witness one of the most historic moments in the history of online poker, featuring a cast including Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey, and perhaps a custard pie thrown in for good measure. That could happen too, nobody knows, and that is all I know for certain – that nobody really seems to know other than the AGCC. Everyone is desperate for answers right now and putting a lot of stock in the AGCC hearing. Unfortunately that means people are listening to anyone who will talk loud enough about the future of Full Tilt.
I for one will be going in to the hearing knowing what I know best – nothing. It’s such an unprecedented moment in the history of online poker, all I can do is go and try and report back from it as transparently as possible.Hopefully also, I will be reporting some good news (again lower your expectations) - I would much rather report on something positive for the industry than get a big scoop on more turmoil.