Phil Ivey will skip the 2011 WSOP and is suing Tiltware according to a statement he released late Tuesday.
Ivey issued the statement via his Facebook fan page and argued that because Full Tilt had not paid their U.S. players back he did not feel right playing at the WSOP when other players couldn’t.
It’s the first time that Ivey has spoken publically about Full Tilt since online poker’s Black Friday and the site was forced to leave the U.S. market.
Although many poker players first assumed the statement was a hoax, it was later confirmed through Ivey’s manager.
Ivey did not play the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship event that started earlier today.
What follows is the statement in its entirety. Note: the statement first appeared in six separate updates.
For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.
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. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.
My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.
I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.
I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.
PokerListings.com will have more on this story as it develops as well as reactions from players at the 2011 WSOP.