PokerNews.com landed the exclusive interview of the decade when Howard Lederer agreed to sit-down for an interview with the popular poker news outlet. Not only did they hit the jackpot in terms of access, but Lederer actually spoke with Pokernews for some seven-hours, which the site condensed down to 3-3.5 hours of footage, which they are releasing in 30-minute segments called “The Lederer Files”.
In this article I’ll breakdown the first four installments of the Lederer Files, giving my thoughts on what Howard Lederer has said, and in some cases left unsaid or declined to answer.
Before I get into the actual interview let me first say that PokerNews did a good job with both pre- and post-production. The site compiled a lot of facts and information, has asked fairly pointed questions, and the sound and video quality has been very good.
That said, I do have an issue with the “editing” of the seven-hour interview. Not only did PokerNews reduce the interview by nearly 50% but it seems from the first few segments that it may have been edited chronologically, as the Las Vegas landscape outside the window seems to go from light to dark. My hope is that PokerNews eventually releases the entire, unedited, interview, and lets those interested in watching Howard Lederer for seven hours have the chance to pore over every minute of the interview.
I was also less than impressed with follow-up questions, or more rightly stated, lack thereof. I hope this was because of some vetting of questions beforehand, and not the interviewer not recognizing when he should press the issue.
Thus far there haven’t been any smoking guns or “gasp OMG” moments, but Lederer has delved into the inner workings of Full Tilt Poker, starting with how the company was founded, as well as the owners and executives roles in the company.
So far we have learned that:
• There were two factions of owners; those who liked Ray Bitar and those that disliked him
• John Juanda seems to have been one of the most vocal in the anti-Bitar camp, with Perry Friedman also in that camp
• If Lederer is to be believed, Full Tilt Poker had a very poorly managed financial department
• The idea of segregated funds was not only really discussed by Full Tilt owners; it never really crossed their minds
• Chris Ferguson was 100% against paying shareholders “distributions”
• The inner circle of Full Tilt Poker was run like a democracy with a majority vote deciding virtually all decisions; only a 2/3 vote to remove a Board member
• Howard is terrible with names and details, including not being able to name the company’s first CFO beyond “Allan”
Bear in mind, that the above thoughts do not reflect my opinion of Lederer’s role within Full Tilt Poker, or suggest that I feel he is being entirely honest in the interviews; these are simply the facts as he presented them in the interview.
You can watch the Lederer Files at PokerNews.com