When Blair Hinkle started getting really good at poker I imagine he began to dream big; TV final tables, a sponsorship deal and his face on the cover of poker magazines. It might not be something that consumed him, but I’m pretty sure he thought about it at least a couple times.
In February 2011, Hinkle was well on his way to all of that following his $1 million score in the FTOPS XIX Main Event. That should have been the launching pad for his career. Instead, Black Friday happened. In the fallout from April 15, 2011, poker became less popular, less accessible and far less profitable as the bigger online operators all but disappeared. Hinkle had more than $1 million tied up on Full Tilt Poker when the DOJ shut the site down, exposing the financial fraud that was Full Tilt’s business.
Hinkle shifted his focus, started to play more live poker and just waited for any sort of resolution, any knight-in-shining-armor deal that would get him paid. Finally, the DOJ and PokerStars struck a deal that saw the online poker behemoth buy the Full Tilt assets and arm the DOJ with enough money to pay back U.S. players. Hinkle just had to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.
During the three years between Black Friday and now, Hinkle became the face of the Full Tilt remissions process. Every time a bit of news — be it rumor or fact — broke about the repayment of U.S. players everybody wanted Hinkle’s take on it. He stood to get back more than almost anybody else.
So here is Hinkle, three years after the fact, on the cover of BLUFF, the face of the happy ending to one of poker’s darkest sagas. Maybe it’s not the way he imagined it would happen, but anybody who had to wait along with Hinkle probably looks at the cover and sees their own reflection smiling back at them.
Enjoy the rungood,
Editor in Chief