iNinja Poker Tour Folds After Unsuccessful Restructuring Effort

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based iNinja Poker Tour has ceased operations, according to its founder, Issac Tucker. Tucker, known as @IssacRunGood, was the figure accused of various financial improprieties last November by three players and co-investors in the brand, including overspending on expenses and failing to meet promised loan repayment deadlines.

The iNinja Poker Tour had offered a handful of popular, mid-priced events in Minnesota and neighboring states, until the allegations regarding the financial deficits surfaced last November. At the time, Minnesota player and independent businessman Alan Carty had stepped in with promises of making the aggrieved players whole, alonng with tentative plans to reorganize the wounded iNinja Poker brand and continue its Upper Midwest operations.

Instead, as Tucker outlined in few social-media posts yesterday, the iNinja Poker Tour will cease operations. Posting on the iNinja Poker Tour’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, Tucker offered only this:

Thank you all for the amazing support we’ve had the last few years. It was a good run.

Good luck on the felt.

Tucker offered a near-identical message on his personal Twitter account:

After strong consideration, iNinja Poker is officially done.
It was an amazing ride! Thank you all!
On to the next one.
See you on the felt.

As of this morning, all IPT content appears to have been removed or hiddenf from the tour’s online home at ininjapoker.com.

Oddly, as recently as last month, the promised reorganization seemed to be on track. Though Tucker had shown few budget-balancing, managerial skills, he had demonstrated the ability to promote the iNinja Poker Tour events. In a post from June 26th, less than a month ago, Tucker was back on the promotional bandwagon, posting:

11 Events in 2 years
2 State records set and still owned
9 iNinja Ring Champions
1.1 Million Dollars in Guarantees surpassed
2 Million Dollars + awarded in 3 different states
The all new iNPT relaunch coming soon

The blurb was accompanied by another of the iNinja Poker Tour’s overly stylish graphics, which were among the items loosely indicated in Carty’s statement last November as being an example of the things Tucker’s startup simply couldn’t afford. Whether or not Carty pulled ongoing financial support for the iNinja offerings in the face of Tucker’s possible unwillingness to hang gears is unlikely to be disclosed by the tour’s insiders, though that remains one of the likeliest explanations for the recent week’s U-turn and tour closure.

As we summarized last November, “three IPT sponsored pros, Aaron Johnson, Kou Vang and Vlad Revniaga, [posted] that Tucker had bounced at least one sponsorship check, been months late on payments made to many players, had sought loans from players and possible investors with conflicting and overlapping promises of returns on investment, and had destroyed the faith of the players (some who also became investors) that Tucker could manage the iNinja tour responsibly.  Other allegations included that Tucker had not properly segregated designated player funds, and may have instead used tour money to pay personal expenses, and that at least one experienced tourney reporter was never paid for her work at two separate iNinja events.”

Update: That well-known poker reporter, “Minnesota Molly” Mossey, has since confirmed to Flushdraw that she did indeed receive payment for her work, after retaining counsel in the matter.

Though the iNinja Poker Tour events drew solid turnouts, the region probably wont miss them that much; The Upper Midwest remains a hotbed of such middle-tour offerings. The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) got its start the same well, though it’s now expanded across most of the US and caters to a slightly higher price point. The rival Mid States Poker Tour (MSPT) has also made significant inroads in the Upper Midwest in recent years, and that tour may find opportunities to expand into venues no longer served by the iNinja offerings.

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