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Lindgren: Unpaid Fantasy Draft Debts

A thread was posted on TwoPlusTwo by “$kill Game” this week, claiming that former Full Tilt professional Erick Lindgren owed $11,000 and had not signified any intent to pay it back. The player also claims to have been told by Lindgren himself that he was “cash broke.”

This is after reports that Lindgren owes $4 million to Full Tilt Poker, has recently played the $10,000 WPT L.A Poker Classic, and will be travelling to Ireland for the PaddyPower Irish Poker Open. Within days, the thread received over 50,000 views and further comments gave more information on Lindgren’s lack of repayments.

The debts are to a group started on the poker forum, involving bets made on fantasy drafts. Posts by “Kai_Kyle” and “ahh_snap” stated that Lindgren owed $50,000 and $66,000 respectively to them for the same reason. “Ahh_snap” did go on to state that Lindgren had always paid his debts eventually, although it could sometimes take up to six months.

Later, “Interpleader” posted transcripts of messages to Lindgren, on attempts to acquire $2800 from a side-bet. It went as far as Lindgren stating “the cheque was in the mail”. No money was received at that point in time. Here are the transcripts between the two.

PokerUpdate caught up with “Interpleader”, who had this to say on the topic:

PU: How is a fantasy league started? Do they begin on TwoPlusTwo?

IP: Yes, they start on 2+2 to gather interest but usually run on Yahoo or some other website.

PU: As in a Yahoo group?

IP: Something like that. Someone starts the league, and there’s a private password to join. People send league money to escrow to one person. Usually 10-15 teams play in these leagues, and 2-4 get paid.

PU: How long have you had to wait for the side-bet to be paid? Before January 11th?

IP: (It should be) as soon as the regular football season ends, but I’m just a small chunk. For what it’s worth, he paid last night. It’s still a big story in my opinion.

It’s important to understand: the league pool for 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place can be much smaller than the side-bet action. It’s like playing a $100 MTT with a $1,000 last longer bet. Whilst the league money is escrow, the side-bets are in good faith.

PU: Do you think his claim of being “cash broke” is legitimate?

IP: I have no idea what his personal finances are, but you don’t make bets you can’t pay. Or not pay them, then go to strip clubs, play in poker tournaments and act like life is normal.

Further reports by other players suggest that Lindgren was paid up to $3 million per year by Full Tilt and was considered as dead-money in fantasy drafts, a key reason why many chose to bet with him despite the risks involved. As of yet, no comment has been released by Lindgren over the matter.

Behn Dayanim, lawyer of the consortium looking to takeover Full Tilt, Group Bernard Tapie, stated to PokerUpdate that unpaid debts would be a “major obstacle” for the acquisition of the site. The thread could be a cause for concern on whether he is capable of paying it back.

It also shows a change in perspective of the way debts are handled in poker. Old-school players, which Lindgren would be considered a part of, tend not to worry about the time it takes for players to pay. The new-school online players take this very seriously, being less flexible on debt repayments.

Many of the site’s old-school professionals, who were on television around the time of the poker boom, were receiving multi-million dollar payouts by this time. This could be a reason as to why players such as Ferguson, Lederer, Ivey and Lindgren neglected to make sure that the site provided security over the player-pool’s money, corrupted by the amounts they were making.

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Perry Garland