Daniel Tzvetkoff Story Now Written In Alligator BloodMay 27, 2014 6:46 pm
Australian Daniel Tzvetkoff occupies a prominent role in the history of US online poker, or more specifically in its downfall after his testimony made Black Friday possible. Consequently, a new book has now been published charting the rise and fall of the business whiz entitled ‘Alligator Blood’ charting the rise and fall of the young Internet tycoon.
Describing the devastating effect the US DoJ’s shut down of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker’s American operations had post 15th April 2011, Poker Royalty agent Brian Balsbaugh, explained:
“It happened, it happened fast and it completely annihilated what was a flourishing industry in the United States.”
Prior to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 passing, numerous online payment processing businesses offered their services Stateside, after which they decided to withdraw their operations rather than risk future problems with the US authorities. That’s when Daniel Tzvetkoff and his partner Sam Sciacca stepped in with their online payment processing company Intabill to fill the void and offer their services to the three biggest internet poker sites at that time, namely PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
Within a few months of processing billions of dollars of online poker transactions which no other company would touch, Tzvetkoff was earning $3 million a week and at the age of 25 had managed to amass an $80 million fortune.
Nevertheless, Tzvetkoff excessive wealth and lifestyle soon attracted the attention of the FBI, and after his various money laundering schemes and fund siphoning endeavors resulted in Tzvetkoff being unable to repay around $100 million in owed funds to various poker websites, Tzvetkoff was promptly arrested and faced up to 76 years behind bars.
As is often the case, however, Tzvetkoff was able to cut a plea deal which saw him reveal the inner workings of his schemes in return for leniency. As the dailymail.co.uk explains:
“After serving eight months in jail he reportedly struck a deal with prosecutors – handing over 90,000 documents from his company, Intabill, and agreeing to give evidence against his co-accused. Within months, the websites of the poker giants were shut down simultaneously in the US and 12 of the website owners were charged.”
The rest as they say is history, with the intriguing story replete with greed, deception and betrayal now brought to life by James Leighton in his book “Alligator Blood: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the High-rolling Whiz-kid Who Controlled Online Poker’s Billions.” It has also been confirmed that Tzvetkoff’s story will be made into a Hollywood film, with director Robert Luketic linked with the project.