Poker news | Jun 17, 2020
Judge Dismisses $30 Million Cheating Lawsuit Against Mike Postle
By RTR Dennis
A United States District Court Judge in Sacramento has dismissed a $30 million civil suit involving notorious poker cheat Mike Postle. Judge William B. Shubb ruled in favor of Postle, Justin Kuraitis, and the Sacramento-based Stones Gambling Hall.
Shubb explained his decision in a 24-page document. The three defendants are now off the hook for paying damages to affected players.
Background on the $30 Million Lawsuit
Last year, Mike Postle experienced an insane winning streak during live-streamed cash games at Stones Gambling Hall. He won money in nearly every session and earned an estimated $250,000 in profits.
Veronica Brill, a player in the games and ex-Stones employee, publicly questioned whether the winnings were legitimate. She and several notable poker players went through hours of live-stream footage to back the claims.
Their general consensus is that Postle indeed cheated. He consistently made the right play over and over despite using unconventional strategy.
Postle also used odd mannerisms that involved awkwardly staring at his phone during hands. Popular speculation is that he received information on opponents’ hole cards through his smartphone.
Brill Launches Civil Suit
Earlier this year, Brill filed a civil suit against Postle, Kings Casino (Stones’ parent company), and Stones’ Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis.
Long-time gaming attorney Mac VerStandig represented Brill. He added over 80 other poker players—all of whom competed against Postle—to the list of plaintiffs.
VerStandig’s lawsuit included claims of fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence per se, and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act violations.
Kings Casino countersued on allegations of negligent misrepresentation, constructive fraud, negligence, and libel against Brill.
Gambling Losses Not Subject to Damages
Stones Gambling Hall’s legal representation argued that California law doesn’t cover damages for gambling losses. Kuraitis used the same theme in his court documents.
Judge Shubb sided with the defendants and referred to Kelly v. First Astri Corp. The latter is a 1999 case that saw blackjack players try in vain to sue a casino for using marked cards.
“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, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment,” Shubb explained during judgement.
What’s Next in the Postle Cheating Saga?
The judge dismissed all charges against Mike Postle with prejudice. Now, VerStandig will need to file an appeal to have any hope of getting justice for his poker clients.
Shubb did give VerStandig an opening for an appeal when dismissing certain charges “with leave to amend.”
He wrote, “Plaintiffs are granted 20 days from the date this Order is filed to file an amended complaint against defendants King’s Casino and Kuraitis if they can do so consistent with this Order.”
VerStandig notes that he plans to file an amended complaint:
“Disappointment is not a strong enough word, but we will continue the fight with an amended pleading. In the interim, I would encourage everyone to read the judge's opinion, which is detailed and well-written. My admiration for our clients has no bounds.”
Not surprisingly, Brill is upset about the ruling. She tweeted:
“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.”