Full Tilt Poker Founders
The People that Own Full Tilt Poker
Full Tilt Poker is synonymous with Tiltware LLC. Raymond Bitar (pictured to the right) is the original guy behind Full Tilt Poker and works as the Chief Executive Officer of Tiltware. Ray Bitar was an equities trader in Los Angeles, California where he met and traded for Chris Ferguson, a soon to be shareholder of Full Tilt Poker. Through these relationships they moved forward to what we know today as Full Tilt Poker. Bob Wolf began as the Chief Marketing Officer. In 2003 Full Tilt Poker was conceived and launched in 2004. Full Tilt Poker’s PR Rep, Michele Clayborne, is said to also have stake in the company.
Tiltware LLC is owned predominantly by the players that represent Full Tilt Poker with the following below having the most say in the company, here is there story. Also, pokernews did an interview with Ray Bitar a year after Full Tilt was launched that is interesting. Here is some more history of how Full Tilt Poker started.
Howard Lederer – A Full Tilt Founder
Howard Lederer, fondly known as the Professor of Poker for his analytical approach to the game of poker, is one of the leading players who helped found Full Tilt Poker. As a young college graduate, Lederer was hooked on chess and even made the move to New York to be closer to the active chess clubs in the city. It was actually in the back rooms of one of these clubs that Lederer stumbled on poker and the rest, as they say, is history.
Lederer was soon playing up to 80 hours of poker a week in bid to become one of the best players in the world. His game improved significantly when he started to play at the world famous Mayfair Club in New York and rubbed shoulders with other pros including Erik Seidel and Steve Zolotow, among others. Lederer and his poker buddies were among the first in the world to try out the newly created No Limit Hold ‘em Poker and perfected the game to the format that we know today.
Poker genius definitely runs in the family, since Lederer’s sister Annie Duke soon picked up the bug and started following her brother around on the circuit. Duke has gone on to become one of the highest paid women players in the world, no doubt thanks in part to her brother’s guidance. In 1994, Lederer and Duke met at the final table of the World Series of Poker competition, making it the first time in history that a brother and sister have met across the felt at such a late stage of a tournament.
After moving to Las Vegas to improve his game even more significantly in 1993, Lederer started some of his best years in his career, even taking his first of two Poker Hall of Fame titles the following year. His second title followed immediately the next year when he won the No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw tournament for the consecutive time running.
Lederer’s eyes, however, were set on the World Series of Poker tournament and his dream was finally fulfilled in 2000, when he won the $5000 Limit Omaha Hi Lo event, taking home his first gold bracelet. He created a gold pair after taking another event the following year.
From 2002 onwards, Lederer went on to win some of the biggest live tournaments in the world, including the WPT Championship at Foxwoods (2002), three Bellagio titles and a host of others. In 2008, he walked away with $1.25 million at that Aussie Millions competition, an event that comes with a whopping buy in tag of $100K!
2004, after becoming practically a household name in the poker industry, was the year that Lederer got together with some of the biggest names to launch Full Tilt Poker. The launch of the site was the culmination of a dream to provide online poker players with a safe and entertaining environment, where they could get together with top professionals, as well as other players from around the world to enjoy quality poker.
When Lederer is not playing live poker, he is part of the professional team at Full Tilt Poker online. He continues to learn and develop with the game of poker, writing articles for websites and educating a whole new generation of professional wannabes.
“Any time I play poker,” Lederer has been heard saying, “I see it as an opportunity to learn.”
Phil Ivey the Most Popular Founder
Phil Ivey is another poker player who helped turn the dream of Full Tilt Poker into a reality. Ivey is considered one of the most brilliant poker players of all times and has been named “The Tiger Woods of Poker” by his contemporaries.
A young Phil was introduced to poker at the tender age of five by his grandfather, not realizing that he had a legend in the making staring back at him across their makeshift poker table. By 16, Ivey was ready to play where the big money was, and – faking an ID – made for the casino floors of Atlantic City where he played so long at the tables that he was nicknamed “No Home Jerome” by the other players at the casino.
But Ivey’s persistence paid off and he continued to aim as high as this game reached. By 2000, Phil Ivey felt in his blood that he was ready for the World Series of Poker and, at the age of 24, took the leap into the world of professional poker.
Ivey’s first attempt at the $2000 No Limit Texas Hold ‘em saw him come in fifth place, but it was the $2500 Pot Limit Omaha, where he outshone some of the world’s most brilliant players, including Phil Hellmuth and David “Devilfish” Ulliott, to win his first gold bracelet.
2002 was an awesome year for the young legend who loved his newfound status. Ivey won three gold bracelets at the WSOP, putting him in the same league of only two other players thus far: Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest.
By winning a gold bracelet in the SHOE event, Ivey highlighted the reasons why he is considered such an exceptional, all encompassing poker player.
In 2004, Ivey joined forces with some of the top names in the business to form Full Tilt Poker, as a way to create the ideal online environment for himself, fellow professionals and amateur poker players.
Ivey’s fifth WSOP bracelet was won in 2005 in the $5000 pot limit Omaha event.
Naturally, a player of this status does not limit his play to one type of tournament, and Phil Ivey made history by earning a staggering $1.6 million in the span of 24 hours when he won the Monte Carlo Millions and then the Full Tilt Poker Invitational Live event in Monaco several hours later.
In 2006, Ivey won an incredible $16.6 million in a matter of three days after taking up a challenge put out by Texas billionaire Andy Beal. While Beal managed to beat players such as Jen Harman and Johnny Chan, he did not realize the force he was up against named Phil Ivey.
In 2008, Phil Ivey finally won a World Poker Tour title after making his record eighth WPT Final Table. The $1 million prize was not worth half as much as the satisfaction of finally winning a WPT title, as far as Ivey was concerned.
Phil Ivey’s ultimate aim was to make a spot in the Main Table Event of the World Series of Poker, and he finally had his dream come true in July 2009. As part of the November Nine, Ivey will be playing for a first prize of $8.5 million and possibly take down the title that he is so keen to add to his arsenal.
Phil Ivey’s career is currently improving with age. At times, he can be found rubbing shoulders with poker greats such as Doyle Brunson in the world famous Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio. Other times he is playing against others at Full Tilt Poker when he’s not too busy preparing for, or playing, a tournament.
Ivey is fiercely protective of his private life that he shares with his wife, Luciaetta and rarely gives public interviews. Yet the more he shies away from the poker spotlight, the more it seems to shine on him. As one of the biggest earners of all time, both online and off, it seems that nobody will be able to fill Phil Ivey’s shoes in a long time to come.
Chris Ferguson – Said to Have the “Most Say”
Christopher Ferguson, nicknamed ‘Jesus’ because of his trademark long beard and hair, is another extremely talented poker player who helped launch Full Tilt Poker. With his Texas style hat and sunglasses, Ferguson is one of the most recognized faces on the poker circuit and cuts quite a foreboding figure at first glance. Yet Ferguson is known as a ‘nice guy’ with an incredible knack for poker, who has managed to make some of the highest cash ins in recent history.
Born in 1963, Chris Ferguson grew up in a home where mathematics was a revered subject. His ability to observe and analyze games is credited to his early childhood, and these characteristics were put to good use in college, where Ferguson studied Computer Science.
It was during his student years that Ferguson was introduced to an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel and become a highly ranked poker player. These were the early years of online poker, and Ferguson considered it a personal challenge to use this amazing tool to advance himself in the game so that he could eventually play in leading live tournaments.
Ferguson’s first World Series of Poker event was in 1995 where his results were poor. Nonetheless, Ferguson realized that if he wanted to get to where the ‘big boys’ were, he had hard work ahead of him and dedicated his entire time to poker after he left the academic world.
By 2000, Chris Ferguson was a household name, having accomplished no less than seven World Series of Poker final tables and cashed in 12 events.
Ferguson ushered in the millennium in style, by winning the WSOP Main Event bracelet and earning himself a cool $1.5 million, after winning his first bracelet in the $2.5K Seven Card Stud event.
In 2001, Ferguson bagged the $1,500 Omaha Hi Lo Split bracelet, and two years later he won another two bracelets in another Omaha event, followed by the $2K Limit Hold ‘em and Seven Card Stud event at the WSOP 2003.
Keen to use his clout to advance quality poker online, Ferguson teamed up with fellow poker players such as Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer to launch Full Tilt Poker in 2004.
Ferguson continues to push for the development and evolution of online poker and regularly contributes to articles and publications on the subject. He has managed to demonstrate the importance of bankroll management by turning $0 into $10,000 through his $10K Challenge, educating a new generation of talented online poker players.
Ferguson continues to do well on the live poker tournament circuit, winning the 2008 NBC Heads Up Championship, taking down two finishes in the 2008 World Series of Poker event and a second place finish in the Aussie Millions $10K HORSE event in 2009.
Ferguson finished sixth in the 2009 LA Poker Classic, winning himself a quarter of a million dollars and fifteenth in the 2009 WSOP Europe No Lmit Hold ‘em event.
Ferguson is known as a highly analytical player, combining his skill for mathematics with his ingrained knowledge of computer science (he holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Los Angeles). Ferguson has been quoted as saying: “Intelligence and the ability to reason well are the most important qualities that all poker players share. This reasoning comes into play when the player is faced with deciding which alternative to take in a hand – raise, call or fold.”
With such an intellectual approach to poker, it comes as no surprise that Chris Ferguson spends his spare time analyzing poker hands and examining different poker scenarios when he is not taking part in tournaments.
Ferguson is also proud of his other talents in life, such as ballroom dancing and stock trading. He also has plans to return to academia (where he spent many years) to become a professor like his father. If Ferguson’s track record is anything to go by, his determination to do whatever he wants in life will definitely pay off.