Daniel Negreanu took his well-deserved seat in the Poker Hall of Fame yesterday, and his induction was witnessed by a fellow pro who many believe doesn’t deserve a seat in the audience.
Howard ‘The Professor’ Lederer, he of the Full Tilt mismanagement fiasco who continues to draw the wrath of a good number of poker players, was on hand to witness KidPoker’s proud moment. Lederer was spotted “in one of the darkest corners of the Binions casino hall,” according to superpoker.com.
Lederer, of course, was one of Full Tilt’s leading board members when phantom deposits and the mishandling of funds were discovered by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011. It led to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara labeling the operations at Full Tilt a “global Ponzi scheme.”
Tournament entries next?
Lederer sightings have occurred since he tried to explain his side of the story in “The Lederer Files” interviews. And one can assume that now that some time has passed and ex-U.S. Full Tilt players have almost all been made whole via the remission process, Lederer may begin easing himself back into tournament action.
The Professor was perhaps blazing a trail that would have one day found him up at the Poker Hall of Fame dais. Over $6.4 million in lifetime earnings, two WSOP gold bracelets, two WPT titles, and a reputation as a shrewd strategist.
But those aspirations went down the drain with Full Tilt Poker’s demise, landing Lederer on the hate list of many. His tarnished reputation may likely never recover, and his place in poker history cemented in failure in the world of online poker business as opposed to his success and prowess on the tournament tables being applauded.
But yesterday belonged to ‘KidPoker,’ the youngest player to ever enter poker’s shrine and the current all-time money leader. The Canadian also has more million-dollar cashes than any other player –six– and an equal number of WSOP gold bracelets.
There’s something about winning tournaments and player of the year awards that’s fabulous, but when you’re voted for by your peers and recognised by the media and those that are already living members of the Hall of Fame, that’s irreplaceable,” Negreanu said at the induction ceremony. “I’m in the 40th year of my life, I’m physically and mentally in the best place I’ve ever been, so to top it off with this is extra special. Once you’re in the Hall of Fame they can’t kick you out! It’s the epitome of acknowledgement for what we do.”
The outspoken Negreanu was highly critical of Lederer while the Full Tilt shenanigans played out just a few years ago. The word “scumbag” was mentioned more than once in reference to The Professor and fellow Full Tilt board members Ray Bitar and Chris Ferguson. KidPoker went so far as to suggest that a baseball bat to the groin would be deserving punishment for the orchestrators of Full Tilt’s downfall that left many wondering if their funds would ever be recovered.
While Full Tilt player funds will eventually find their rightful owners, the memories linger. Lederer’s settlement with the DoJ did not include an admission of guilt, but that guilt remains in the eyes of public opinion.