News of the Mike Postle cheating scandal quickly gained the attention of the poker community last year as the live poker game was broadcasted for everyone to watch.
First to raise suspicions was former commentator and player Veronica Brill who shared concerns of the dubious player on Twitter. Poker icons such as Joey Ingram and Doug Polk, soon picked up the story and devoted their time to carefully analyze hours long videos of the televised game only to find the player making perfect plays in situations wherein it would’ve been wildly impossible. Viewers tuning in the story also revealed how the accused’s gameplays did not match his high win rate after going through all the recorded livestreams.
Concluding that cheating in the game did occur, what started as a tweet moved on to a $30 million filed lawsuit against California poker pro Mike Postle, King’s Casino, the owner of the Stones Gambling Hall and Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Tournament Director for the apparent scandal.
Just letting the poker community know that if you decide to cheat on a live stream you are free to do so. There will be no accountability for your actions and you are free to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The casino, and employees who might help you, are not accountable
— Veronica BLM (@Angry_Polak) June 3, 2020
Lawsuit relating to the Evident Cheating Dismissed
On Wednesday afternoon, United States District Judge William B. Shubb released a 24 page ruling granting motions to dismiss the 14 combined complaints against the alleged conspirators. The hefty lawsuit led by Maurice B. VerStandig of The VerStandig Law Firm together with Veronica Brill and more than 80 poker players, alleged various claims of fraud, negligence, and libel against Postle and the other defendants based on the deduction that “one or more electronic devices for the purposes of cheating, while playing in broadcast games of poker, to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow player.”
While all complaints were motioned to be dismissed, some were left open to the possibility of moving forward at a later date given the requirement of additional information be provided. The California public policy barring judicial resolution in gambling disputes progressed Judge Shubb to side with King’s Casino’s argument to dismiss six complaints brought to the court namely: negligent misrepresentation, negligence, constructive fraud, fraud, libel per se against Brill, and violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and dismiss all five complaints against Postle including Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, Negligence Per Se and Unjust Enrichment.
Shubb noted that “monies lost to Mr. Postle” and “the loss of opportunity to earn monies through honest games of poker” are “quintessential gambling losses that are barred for recovery by California public policy.”
“Accordingly, California’s strong public policy against judicial resolution of civil claims arising out of gambling disputes mandates the dismissal with prejudice of plaintiff’s claims against Postle for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence per se, and unjust enrichment,” the judge wrote.
The libel claim from Veronica Brill brought about by “bullying, harassment, and emotionally-taxing non-physical attacks on social media” was also dismissed on the grounds that it is impossible to identify whether the response was directed at her. “With 88 other plaintiffs in this action and millions of users on Twitter, it is possible — indeed, quite probable — that Stones’ tweet could have been in reference to any number of allegations, made by any number of people.”, Shubb wrote.
Complaints against Stones and Kuraitis Likewise Dismissed
The venue together with tournament director Justin Kuraitis similarly remained in the clear as the judge highlighted that the defendants “fail to particularly plead the damages they suffered as a result of this alleged fraud” and may revisit the fraud allegations once the amount of rake collected by the host casino on the games the cheating allegedly occurred.
“They do not allege the cost of the rake during each game, let alone what they contributed individually. Instead, they offer nothing more than a general allegation that the rake amounted to ‘tens of thousands of dollars during the life of Mr. Postle’s scheme.”, he added.
All four complaints against Kuraitis who oversaw the production of the livegames was dismissed as well ruling that the director did not have a responsibility to the players to “ensure the game was carried out in a manner reasonably free of cheating.”
Failing to disclose the identity of the Stones employee who conspired with Postle in providing crucial information during the games was also pointed out by Shubb in response to the complaint for negligent misrepresentation. The claim however, was left to the possibility of being revisited again on a later date should the plaintiffs be able to identify the supposed co-conspirator.
As amended complaints were on the table in regards to the Stones and Kuraitis filings, VerStandig shared his plans saying, “The court has given us leave to amend, and I anticipate we will avail ourselves of that right,”. “The court’s opinion acknowledges the core viability of certain claims (obviously without making any judgment as to facts), and we look forward to restating those claims in a manner that will comport with the court’s order.”
Brill likewise expressed her utter disappointment for the made decision on social media allowing Postle to walk away from the high-profile cheating case after allegedly profiting around $250,000 through unjust means.
“Just letting the poker community know that if you decide to cheat on a live stream you are free to do so. There will be no accountability for your actions and you are free to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The casino, and employees who might help you, are not accountable”, she tweeted.