Haralabos Voulgaris Talks About “Edog” Erick Lindgren, Full Tilt Poker Investment Opportunity
“Erick the Degen has owed me and countless others money for a number of years and never quite got around to settling these debts while the FTP money train was chugging along. I’d estimate that Erick received at least $12 million from the sale of some of his Full Tilt shares as well as the monthly dividend distributions.”
— Haralabos Voulgaris, “Alone in the Corner”
Haralabos Voulgaris is back in the news today with his second very public swipe at Erick “Edog” Lindgren over Lindgren’s failure to repay Voulgaris and others huge gambling debts that the action-addicted Lindgren built up in recent years. Lindgren’s losses seem to have far exceeded the estimated (according to Haralabos) $12 million that received from Full Tilt during its cash-cow days.
Haralabos — who is known as “Haralabob,” or just plain “Bob” — is himself a high-stakes sports bettor, and was the first to expose the nature of Lindgren’s bad debts, the majority of which have been attributed to non-expert sportsbetting. Only in the last few weeks did another of Lindgren’s major debts become public knowledge, in which the Edog E-ducked a chance to repay the second half of an erroneously duplicated $2 million loan he received from the Full Tilt coffers.
Added to the other $12 million, that’s at least $16 million that Lindgren haas likely received from his association with Full Tilt… and it’s all gone. Several other significant Lindgren markers are rumored to exist, but it’s clear in any event that Lindgren has blown through the entire of his estimated windfall, and then some.
Exactly how Haralabos ending up having Lindgren owe him what’s been generally described as a seven-figure debt was never quite clear, however, and in the post above and in subsequent posts at 2+2 under his “coltranedog” handle, Haralabob has filled in some of the picture. Rumors that Lindgren was in some form Haralabob’s horse seem to be false; rather, Haralobob introduced Lindgren to a major sportsbetting site with which Haralabob himself had a cozy relationship with, and as these things go, Lindgren built up yet another massive debt and welched on it.
According to Voulgaris, all this occurred in the same time frame as he worked to sell his own sportsbetting business, 2004 or 2005, and the most interested buyer was the same person who held Lindgren’s bad debt, and who then used the Lindgren/Voulgaris friendship and recommendation as a way to hammer down the price and/or dump the debt back to Voulgaris. In any event, as he related the story, Voulgaris sold his company but got stuck with Lindgren’s debt in the process.
Then the story gets a little squirrely. Voulgaris had once turned down a chance to buy 2% of 3% of Full Tilt himself, and the story of how he was offered a chance to buy in fits perfectly with the way others have described Full Tilt as growing in its early years, in an organic, recruit-some-friends process. Voulgaris asserts that Ray Bitar was hired by Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson to be the company’s CEO, which at least adds another log to the growing bonfire whose smoke signals point to Bitar being set up to be Full Tilt’s front man / fallguy all along.
But Voulgaris wanted to meet this Bitar guy himself, and found the guy (who was then working as a day trader) to be dumber than a box of rocks. As Haralabob wrote:
“To me Ray’s lack of sharpness wasn’t really the issue. The issue was that I kind of felt he might have been actually been dumb. I even mentioned this to Howard but I am not sure if I used the term “dumb” or some other derogatory dismissive term.”
Returning to the Lindgren debt, Voulgaris knew full well the extent of the distributions Lindgren was receiving, and worked out a low-interest deal where Lindgren was supposed to pay off his marker within a year. Exactly how Voulgaris again let himself be conned into this deal isn’t quite clear, because at this point he had to know the truth behind Lindgren’s nature.
But, whatever. Lindgren failed to pay, and then in a move even Bitar could have seen coming, also refused to cash in or transfer any of his Full Tilt shares to help pay down his debts. Lindgren hasn’t emerged from any of these tales as an admirable or honorable man.
Voulgaris’ tale makes sense, but the one nagging thing here is why he didn’t force a deal upon Lindgren in such a way as to automatically acquire a share in Full Tilt after a year in the event that Lindgren declined to pay. That would have been the percentage play, and Voulgaris, a man who knows the odds quite well, didn’t lock that one in. Was his distrust of Full Tilt’s inner workings so deep that he wouldn’t even take this golden opportunity to grab this second chance?
It’s just curious.
It ended up taking six years of begging, from 2005 to 2011, for Voulgaris to get two thirds of the debt paid off by Lindgren — and in that, I’d venture he’s done better than a lot of the other people who hold Lindgren markers.
Such was the secret life of another of Full Tilt’s formerly respected site pros. As so often happens, image and reality differ wildly.