Evaluating the Full Tilt Poker Merchandise Auction

Last week’s auction of approximately $3.5 million in leftover, undistributed merchandise from the original Full Tilt Poker concluded with dozens of large lots garnering a meager $130,800.  Six figures or not, this was meager indeed, because according to Remko Rinkema over at iGaming.org, the auction pulled in only 3.74% of the official “list price” of the items being offered.

Full Tilt PokerThe auction itself was run by a Florida outfit called Jay Sugarman Auction Group, which apparently bought the whole of the old FTP merchandise in one of those government auctions, then broke up the merchandise by item before attempting to resell it.  Though not explicitly stated, the old FTP merchandise appears to have been fulfilled from California during the original Full Tilt’s heyday, and all the merchandise that existed as of Black Friday was likely surrendered to the US Marshal’s Service as part of the settlement involving the company’s temporary shuttering — and later, the sale of other assets to PokerStars.

This stuff, though, was floating around in a California warehouse or three for a couple of years.  You didn’t hear about the auction?  You’re not the only one.  Jay Sugarman Auction Group appears to specialize in low-value, high-volume turnover of lots such as this.  The company’s website, to put it charitably, is rudimentary, which one suspects matches well to the merchandise generally offered.

We won’t pick on the company too much more, other than to note it looks like one of those we-don’t-give-a-damn outfits.  As first noticed in a thread over at Todd Witteles’ PokerFraudAlert.com, the company is rated “F” by the Better Business Bureau, a rating generated in large part by the fact that they don’t seem to care enough to bother to respond to consumer complaints.

High volume.  Crank the crap out the door.  If they don’t like it, too bad.

Sounds like an apt home for the old FTP dregs, at that.

There were still enough of those dregs — over 170,000 individual items, in all — to generate that $130,000 in sales.  Since Jay Sugarman Auction Group also listed nearly 250 of the lots on online auction site Proxibid, we can see exactly what types of items sold for how much.  Even in the midst of a big-lots sale that averaged less than four pennies on the dollar compared to supposed full value, there were some good buys, bad buys, and some unsellable head-scratchers.

Here’s the best and worst of the recently completed Full Tilt Poker auction of bulk-lot merchandise.  Expect individual items from these bulk lots to start cluttering up eBay, Amazon, and flea markets across the country within weeks.  Also note that the total sales price mentioned isn’t even close to the actual total, since the 20% seller’s premium (called an “internet premium” here), 9% sales tax, and shipping fees are all yet to be added in.  On average, each lot likely cost 50% more than its reported selling price.

The Good (Lots which appear to offer their purchasers some decent retail value):

ScreenHunter_21 Aug. 11 21.13• 91 FTP-branded fleece blankets for $2.25 each, or a little over $204 (plus all the added fees).  These also come with little zippered pouches that should make them ideal flea-market pickups in the $7-10 range, very suitable for travel or camping.

100 Full Tilt-branded 300-piece poker chip sets, for $7.50 each, or $750 per lot plus all the extra fees.  Even if the auction fees double the actual price to $15 a set — poker chip sets ain’t light — this is still a decent value.  There were several lots of these chip sets, most for 100 sets each, and they should be very easy to sell in smaller quantities and at higher prices.  Home-game players won’t care about the little logos on the chips, and the sets come with the padded case, two decks of cards, dice, dealer button, and other extras.  Good, cheap functioality.

31 portable/collapsible pet bowls, each in bright red and adorned with the Full Tilt logo.  For 85 cents each, plus a few bucks more for shipping, and they’re here under the assumption that someone bought the lot with the intention of donating them to a worthwhile pet shelter.  In that case, thumbs up.

The Bad (Yeah, these lots sold, but how does whoever bought them use them or make money trying to resell them?):

ScreenHunter_21 Aug. 11 21.15235 “Play with the Pros / Full Tilt Poker” License-plate Holders, for 25 cents each, and probably three times that much to ship the things in bulk.  One can only assume that Full Tilt ordered 250 sets of these, 15 went for use on Howard Lederer’s and Ray Bitar’s own cars, and this is the rest of them.  That said, it’s unfathomable that 235 drivers exist who want to put these on their cars.

• 31 Full Tilt-poker branded wall clocks, at $4 each plus the assorted shipping and auction fees.  Four bucks a clock doesn’t sound like much, but branded merchandise clocks such as these tend to be worthless as collectible timepieces. The real shame is that there weren’t 331 instead of 31, and that someone didn’t buy them with an eye toward opening the Full Tilt Poker Wall Clocks Museum, there to compete on the list of world’s weirdest museums with England’s Dog Collar Museum or the Turkish Avanos Museum of Hair.  

• 242 FTP-branded “shoulder courier bags.  $5 each, meaning over $1,200 for the lot, and probably more like $1,600 or $1,700 when auction overhead is included.  They might be great values as individual items, but 242 of these is about 80 years’ worth of sales for these bags.  To whoever bought them, have fun storing them.

The What-the-Hell??!?  (It’s not a surprise no one bought them.  What’s embarrassing is that Full Tilt ordered hundreds or thousands of these for their online store.)

ScreenHunter_21 Aug. 11 20.38• 22,372 DVD copies of “Howard Lederer Tells All”.  Nope, it’s not the PokerNews “Lederer Files” on DVD (har-de-har-har), it’s the Professor sharing his world-class expertise on No-Limit Hold’em Poker.  Talk about landfill.  The most amazing thing about this item might not be that it didn’t sell, but that another Lederer DVD item did — Howie’s “Secrets of No-Limit Hold’em,” the 15,609 copies of which brought 10 cents each.

• 6,000 “Fremont Street” FullTiltPoker.net mousepads.  You know the famous black-and-white shot of the Team Full Tilt pros struttin’ down Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas?  Well, this is the remake photo, not the original, so it’s not so famous.  No Clonie.  And….  Six.  Fucking. Thousand.  Mousepads.  Maybe they can be layered ten-deep and used for soundproofing.  Beyond that, yeesh.

501 FTP-branded iPad silicon cases.  At least it was a better loyalty-store concept than the Full Tilt-branded “green” grocery bags, which actually sold, in bulk, in this auction. (Those bags went for 35 cents each because they still have a purpose, though why anyone would want an FTP recyclable grocery bag as an FPP item is a question better asked in a sanitarium.)  Grocery bags fill a need, however; iPad silicon cases really don’t.  Hence, the iPad cases didn’t sell here.  And there probably aren’t 501 people on the planet cool enough and wealthy enough to have an iPad, yet dorky enough to put an iPad in that old FTP skin.

Beyond all that, there were dozens and dozens of lots of shirts and hats and other clothing items that went for fifty cents or three dollars each, and clothing always has some utility.  Heck, I have an old pink FTP baseball cap I use for golf and fishing and rock hunting, and I’d buy another one (or two) if I stumbled across them at a bazaar for a buck or two apiece.  Closeout-priced clothing has a fairly steady base level, logoed items or not, and the stuff in this auction fell right in line for major bulk-lot purchases.

And there you have it.  Don’t despair if you missed this merchandise the first time around.  Chances are, you might get another shot.


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