Exclusive: Everleaf Gaming Says Pokertrillion 'Washed Hands' of Debt

11 February 2009
After this article was published, one comment was added from Everleaf Gaming.

It was an odd and stealthy war of public relations.

During Pokertrillion's brief spell in the industry limelight, the online poker startup dished a heavy dose of allegation toward Boss Media A.B., the network partner with whom it unceremoniously broke ties last year.

Between April and September, the companies were embroiled in a legal battle, news of which was communicated, by both sides, exclusively via a series of press releases. While Pokertrillion accused Boss Media of "mistreatment," Boss Media accused Pokertrillion of "rakeback violations."

The dispute reached its climax in August, when Pokertrillion's outspoken chief executive, Andrew Pyrah, claimed a civil court on Malta had authorized the seizure of Boss Media's servers there (a claim that was later disputed by a lawyer not involved with the case).

But before the gloves came off in court, Pokertrillion dropped all claims against Boss Media in late September. Having found a new poker network partner on Malta called Everleaf Gaming Ltd., Pokertrillion disappeared from headlines as abruptly as it had made them.

In late January, however, yet another ambiguous press release emerged -- apparently issued by Everleaf Gaming -- which said Everleaf Gaming had "assumed full responsibility" for Pokertrillion's player base.

That press release, which IGamingNews has learned was not released by Everleaf Gaming, said Pokertrillion's players would from Feb. 2 be allowed to access the Everleaf Gaming Network via a site called Rockem Poker. It also said that Colin Hawker, whose role with Pokertrillion was described in various press releases as marketing director or operations manager, was to continue serving players and affiliates at Rockem Poker.

Over the course of these developments, Mr. Pyrah has not responded to repeated phone calls and e-mails, and Mr. Hawker did not respond to an e-mail last week. Boss Media and representatives at its new parent company, Gtech Corporation, have also declined comment.

However, George Aghajanyan, the chief executive of Everleaf Gaming, agreed this week to answer questions by e-mail about his company's brief but troubled relationship with Pokertrillion.

Can you give me a little bit of background on Everleaf Gaming? When was it established, and from which markets, geographically, are its licensees recruited?

    Everleaf was established in 2007. The first room on the network was Poker4ever.com. Actually, Everleaf took over the license from Poker4ever and sold the cardroom to an independent operator thus becoming an impartial network with no cardroom of its own. The licensees are recruited worldwide. Most of them come through the current licensees, who are interested to see the network grow.

After Pokertrillion's dispute with Boss Media, was Everleaf wary of taking on Pokertrillion?

    Everleaf accepted Pokertrillion only after meeting with the people who actually operated it and their investors (indirect owners). We were given substantial assurances of the investors' good financial standing and commitment to PokerTrillion. They also explained their reasons for leaving the IPN (Boss Media's International Poker Network). Since we often get contacted by small rooms who are bullied by their big networks, Trillion's story seemed quite common, unfortunately. Although, I have to say that now I am not convinced at all of the story’s truthfulness.
Can you help me understand what happened with Pokertrillion and Everleaf? Why did Everleaf take responsibility for its players, and what, specifically, does "take responsibility" mean?
    Actually the press release which talks of taking responsibility is misleading and was not issued by us. The real story is that Everleaf ended up being owed a large amount of money by Trillion and the owners of Trillion simply washed their hands off, leaving the players and the cardroom on their own. We had no choice but to close their cardroom. However, as a responsible network operator, Everleaf found a solution for the players. They were taken over along with the debt owed to us by another operator.
Who issued that press release? Rockem Poker?
    It was an honest mistake. The press release was issued by a Rockem employee who was given the task of re-assuring the former Trillion players but wasn't fully briefed by us and Rockem as to what the agreement entails. The story was not fully erroneous and was not damaging so we decided not to make a big deal out if it.
Can you also help me understand how Rockem Poker fits in? Is it a new site, created by Everleaf, to host Pokertrillion players that Everleaf now controls?
    As I mentioned above, Everleaf does not own/control any of the network's sites. RockemPoker is not a new site but the owners were looking for a jump-start. Trillion’s demise gave them the opportunity to acquire the players at the cost of Trillion’s debt to us. When we are talking about the debt, this does not concern the players’ funds, which are held securely in separate accounts.
Not sure if you're able to comment on this question, but what happens to Pokertrillion now? (I assume it will no longer be a licensee.)
    I can guarantee that Pokertrillion will not be on the Everleaf Gaming Network. The company and their investors/owners are so discredited now that I doubt they will be on any network.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.