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Found 8 results

  1. Over the last 72 hours, California poker room Stones Gambling Hall has found itself as the epicenter of cheating allegations based around the live-streamed cash game action hosted by the casino. The allegations of cheating in the game first came to light after Veronica Brill, who has played in and worked as a commentator for the game, tweeted the following:
  2. Less than 10 days after allegations that Mike Postle had been cheating on the Stones Live Poker stream first came to light, the California poker pro is being named in a lawsuit requesting more than $30 million in restitution from his victims. In addition to Postle, King's Casino, the owner of the Stones Gambling Hall, and Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Tournament Director who was also responsible for the management of the streaming operation, have also been named in the suit that alleges Postle, Kuraitis, and Stones were involved in racketeering, fraud, negligence, and libel. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court's Eastern District of California by Maurice B. VerStandig of The VerStandig Law Firm, alleges that Postle, along with an as-yet identified number of co-conspirators used "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." [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] [ptable zone="GG Poker"] The lawsuit names Veronica Brill, the former Stones employee who was the first to make the allegations public, as one of 25 total plaintiffs seeking damages from Postle, Kuraitis, Stones Gambling Hall and, any unidentified parties labeled in the lawsuit as John Does 1-10 and Jane Does 1-10. "As extrapolated upon infra, this case represents the single largest known cheating scandal in the history of broadcast poker, emanates from a series of events that have rocked the poker community…" The complaint then details much of the information that was uncovered by Joey Ingram, Matt Berkey, posters on the Two Plus Two forums, and the poker community at large. Allegations of cheating by Postle claims that he "has won more money than any other participant, in total, and has often times been the winningest player on the show on any given night which he is a participant." It proceeds to examine the manner in which Postle was treated by Stones and the commentary crew. "Mr. Postle's winnings on the Stones Live Poker broadcast, and his correlative play of poker, have been so exceptionally outstanding as to lead the Commentator to note his seemingly musical abilities on numerous occasions, and to lead Stones Live Poker to produce various graphics portraying Mr. Postle as a deity-like individual imbued with omniscient powers (with one such graphic conflating an image of Mr. Postle and an image of Jesus Christ)." The document continues to allege that Postle committed acts of wire fraud by using mechanisms, including Postle’s own cell phone, that helped him generate winnings that would represent "a quality of play multiple degrees higher than that achieved by the best poker players in the world." The complaint alleges that when notified of suspicions of cheating, Stones Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis and Stones began a cover-up, one that started with the initial statement that a "full investigation" had already been conducted and concluding with the current fact that the current "independent investigation team" is being headed up by Michael Lipman, an attorney who has represented Stones in the past. In total, the lawsuit alleges that the cheating and fraud took place on no fewer than 69 different days, dating back to July 18, 2018. The plaintiffs are asking for restitution on nine different counts including racketeering, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. In addition to the funds lost by the players to Postle in the game, they are seeking damages of $10,000,000 against Postle and his a yet unnamed ‘confederates’ for fraud based on the allegations of cheating. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages of $10,000,000 against Stones Gambling Hall as an entity for constructive fraud as "Stones has a legal duty to monitor the Stones Live Poker game for cheating and take reasonable steps and measure to prevent the occurrence of cheating therein." They claim that Stones did not meet the industry standard for security. The complaint is seeking another punitive $10,000,000 sum against Stones and Kuraitis on a count of fraud based on Kuraitis' alleged dismissing of the initial allegations and potential cover-up. Finally, there is a request for the sum of $1,000 sought by Veronica Brill for libel against Stones for when they tweeted that her initial concern was "completely fabricated."
  3. The cheating allegations against California professional poker player Mike Postle while playing on the Stones Gambling Hall live-streamed cash game is attracting the attention of news outlets outside of the poker world. Last Update: Sunday, October 6, 2019 On Thursday night, Scott Van Pelt, one of ESPN's most popular personalities, highlighted the story during the midnight (ET) edition of SportsCenter on his ‘1 Big Thing’ segment. “If a guy were able to cheat his way to six-figure gains playing cards and it goes solved by a bunch of poker sleuths on the internet, is that a story that interests you? Because it did me,” Van Pelt said. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Over the next three minutes, Van Pelt masterfully summarized the current state of the Mike Postle controversy. He starts from the very beginning of the initial suspicions by Veronica Brill and into Joey Ingram’s in-depth hand breakdowns on his YouTube channel. “Accusations of cheating are taken very seriously in the poker community, and I credit Ingram for taking great caution to give a guy, who is apparently very well-liked, the benefit of the doubt. But the more than Ingram and others combed through the video, the harder that has become to do.” Van Pelt hits all the major points of the story from theories about Postle having a man-on-the-inside partnership with someone who runs the stream, a possible listening device being stuffed into Postle’s hat, and Stones, after issuing a statement that they had already investigated, being forced to re-investigate as the story got bigger. Van Pelt wrapped up the segment with this analogy. “If you’re the equivalent of a guy who shows up to play pick-up basketball and you never, ever missed a shot for a couple of years…wouldn’t you go play in the NBA? If you’re some kind of poker god who almost never lost, who made the right call or fold virtually every single time - if you were this good - why would you be playing in games only with a video feed and a 1-3 table at Stones Poker Room. Why wouldn’t you be in Vegas winning all the money in the world?” The Ringer Finds Fascination In Postle Controversy Bill Simmons’ sport/pop culture website The Ringer published a headline story on Friday entitled ‘The Cheating Scandal Rocking the Poker World’ as writer David Hill not only breaks down the fundamentals of the story but finds himself “trapped in the wormhole this week, unable to focus on anything else.” The article summarizes the facts but while capturing the feelings of a poker community gripped with the biggest story of 2019. Hill injects himself into the story wondering how so many missed the signs for so long. “But then I start to see things that seem so obvious, but I wonder whether they aren’t just paranoia after hours and hours of digging into the mystery, Like the fact that he starts wearing a hat that has a strange bulge around the brim - one that vanishes after the game when he’s doing an interview in the booth. Is it a bone-conducting headset, as some online have suggested, sending him messages directly into his inner ear by vibrating on his skull? Of course it is! How could it be anything else? It’s so obvious!” CNBC Reaches Out For Comment On October 5, financial news network CNBC published a story on their website which also summarized the entire situation. The story was updated after Postle appeared on Mike Matusow’s podcast where he voiced his side of the argument. "Postle has not yet responded to CNBC’s request for comment. He has defended himself on Twitter as well as on a poker podcast, ‘The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow,’ saying 'it is absolutely impossible for me to be doing what they’re claiming. It is 1000% impossible.'" The article also pulled from information provided by Matt Berkey on the nature of RFID playing cards. "Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played ‘as if he had perfect information.’" Local Television Jumps On Story While Joey Ingram was name-checked on the ESPN national broadcast, Doug Polk’s investigation of the allegations was highlighted in Sacramento’s FOX40 televised coverage of the incident. “It’s really hypothetical at this point, it’s just the most logical conclusion,” Polk told Fox40 reporter Eric Rucker.” Somebody in the back was working with one of the players to transmit that information in the middle of the hand to a player at the table so that he knew the exact two cards you would have.” Another local news broadcast, KCRA3 (NBC affiliate) also touched on the news giving a broad overview of the current state of the situation without going into too much detail. The report mentioned that the station had reached out to the California Bureau of Gambling Control for comment, but had not heard back by airtime.
  4. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. October brought us one of the biggest stories of 2019 when allegations of cheating by Californian poker pro Mike Postle captured the attention of the entire poker world. Poker Pro Mike Postle Accused Of Cheating California poker pro Mike Postle found himself at the center of one of the biggest poker stories of the year after he was accused of cheating in the live-streamed cash games of Stones Poker Live. Accusations of cheating first came to light when Veronica Brill, a one-time player and commentator for Stones Poker Live, took to Twitter to voice her concerns. Soon after, clips of Postle playing in the game showed him routinely making correct river decisions in spots where it would be difficult to always be correct. Stones Live Poker social media quickly attempted to shut down the concern, dismissing Brill’s allegations as ‘fabricated’ and also claimed that an internal investigation proved no wrongdoing. That’s when popular podcaster Joey Ingram stepped in. He began pouring over hours and hours of Postle’s hands, providing hand-by-hand reviews of his play. The deeper Ingram looked, the more suspicious the play became and top-tier pros weighed in with their thoughts that there was indeed something to the allegations. Postle was not without his defenders and Stones Gambling Hall Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis insisted there that the game was on the up-and-up. But in the end, pressure from the community and the uncovered evidence forced Stones to re-open an investigation and cease all streaming activities. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Postle Story Goes Mainstream The details behind the Mike Postle cheating allegations story became so incredible that mainstream media picked up the story, including some of the biggest media outlets in the world. Perhaps the biggest exposure the story received was from ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt who highlighted the story on his ‘1 Big Thing’ segment during an episode of SportsCenter that took place right after Monday Night Football. The three-minute national segment had Van Pelt breaking down the complicated story into an easy-to-understand narrative for his viewers. “If a guy were able to cheat his way to six-figure gains playing cards and it gets solved by a bunch of poker sleuths on the interest, is that a story that interests you? Because it did me,” Van Pelt teased before hitting on all the major points of the story. Van Pelt wasn’t the only news outlet to run with the Postle story as local news covered it extensively as did a feature article on The Ringer and CNBC. Postle Gets Hit With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit It didn’t take long before the Mike Postle cheating allegations turned into a full-blown court case. Poker playing lawyer Maurice VerStandig of The VerStandig Law Firm, representing 25 total plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit requesting more than $30 million in restitution from the victims of the Stones Live cash games. It seeks $10 million from Stones Gambling Hall for contrastive fraud for not monitoring the games to prevent cheating, another $10 million from Stones and Tournament Director Justin Kuritis for fraud for the potential cover-up and $10 million against Postle himself, as well as other as-yet-unnamed associates for fraud on the allegations of cheating. This matter has not yet been resolved. PokerStars Acquired By Flutter While everyone was waiting for news of PokerStars to launch in Pennsylvania, news of another sort dropped in October as it was announced that The Stars Group, parent company to PokerStars, had been acquired by Flutter Entertainment, the owner of gaming brands Paddy Power, BetFair and FanDuel. The merger created the world’s largest online gaming company with a total 2018 combined revenue of $4.66 billion. “This exciting combination will allow us to enhance and accelerate our existing strategy. In recent years, we have transformed TSG from aa single product operator in poker to a diverse global leader with multiple product offerings across poker, gaming, and sports betting," said The Stars Group CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi. PokerStars Prepares To Go Live In Pennsylvania At the very end of October the news came down that finally, after two years of waiting, online poker players in Pennsylvania were finally going to get to return to their online grind. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that PokerStars would be the first online operator to launch in PA and that the required two-day soft launch would happen on November 4. “We are very excited to be bringing our most popular brands to Pennsylvania in the next week,” a PokerStars representative said just ahead of the launch. At the time, the two-day launch was subject to regulatory approval and potential delays should there have been issues. However, the soft launch period was a resounding success with players flooding the lobbies and proving that not only was the PokerStars client ready for Pennsylvania, but the players were ready for PokerStars. Johannes ‘Greenstone25’ Korsar Wins October PLB Sweden’s Johannes ‘Greenstone25’ Korsar has already had a prolific online poker career, currently sitting at #6 on the PocketFives All-Time Online Money List. However, at the end of 2019, he began to achieve things he’d never done in the over four years since joining PocketFives. The first of those achievements was taking down the October 2019 PLB title. He racked up 80 cashes and over $237,000 en route to earning the October honor. On top of that, Korsar used that momentum to become the #1-ranked player in the world for the first time in his career just weeks later.
  5. King's Casino LLC, the parent company of the Stones Gambling Hall, filed a motion this week to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Veronica Brill and 24 others in relation to the Mike Postle cheating scandal. "This lawsuit reflects the oldest complaint of gamblers - that their lack of success means they were cheated," the motion reads. The lawsuit was filed in October 2019, sought $30 million in restitution for Postle's victims and named Postle, King’s Casino, the owner of the Stones Gambling Hall, and Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Tournament Director, who was oversaw the live streaming operation, as defendants. The motion, which cites 55 other cases as precedent, asks for the court to throw out all five claims against Stones in part because the "plaintiffs make no credible allegations of wrongdoing by Stones" and "gambling losses are not cognizable as damages under California law and public policy". The motion to dismiss is only relevant to the accusations against Stones and not those against Postle and Kuraitis, who would remain as defendants. Stones' lawyers have also asked the court to dismiss the libel complaint brought by Brill in relation to the tweet below, claiming "the alleged statement did not refer to her expressly or by clear implication and she fails to plead the require economic damages to the type of libel that she alleges." Stones makes no attempt to deny or confirm that they believe any cheating occurred, but make the case that Stones Casino simply provided a venue for a poker game to occur and are not responsible for the alleged actions of any players involved. "Plaintiffs decided whether they wanted to play, for how long, how much to bet, and in which hands to participate," the motion reads, while citing a lawsuit related to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao broadcast in 2017 in which unhappy boxing fans sued the fight promoters after learning that Pacquiao entered the match injured. That lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. Stones' legal team also pointed to decisions made by some of the plaintiffs to continue playing on Stones Live Poker with Postle even after allegations of cheating had been raised as a reason for dismissal. "Plaintiffs concede that they continued to play with Mr. Postle despite their own beliefs about what was allegedly going on, suggesting that even Plaintiffs thought that Mr. Postle could have just been playing excellent poker," the motion states. The case is set to be heard April 16, 2020.
  6. The legal battle in the ongoing cases against California-based poker player Mike Postle in connection with cheating allegations during the Stones Live cash games took another interesting turn this week. Postle is being accused of using a ghostwriter in his Motion to Dismiss the California case he faces against Veronica Brill and other named plaintiffs. Also, in an entirely separate matter, Postle is being accused of dodging service in the Nevada case brought by poker player Marle Cordeiro. On Tuesday, April 28 Maurice ‘Mac’ VerStandig, lead counsel for Veronica Brill and the other named plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Mike Postle, filed a pair of motions in federal court of the Eastern District of California in opposition to a previously filed Motion to Dismiss by Postle in late March. In the 36-page Opposition Motion to Postle’s Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff’s counsel reinforced their arguments against Postle, bringing back the allegations of cheating while deconstructing Postle’s Motion to Dismiss in an effort to make sure the case will proceed. In a second California filing, VerStandig is asking for sanctions against Postle, accusing him of using a ghostwriter in filing his Motion to Dismiss. Alleged in VerStandig’s filed Motion for Sanctions, the Motion to Dismiss filing submitted and signed by Postle, who is not officially represented by a lawyer at this time, was “actively violating the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure” by either using a ghostwriter or, worse, plagiarizing another Motion to Dismiss filed by a lawyer known by Postle. While using ghostwriting in legal settings is not against the law, there are ethical concerns when a lawyer provides services without providing their name. “This case concern’s Mr. Postle’s representations he was honestly playing games of poker on his own when, in fact, he was cheating as such games with the help of one or more unidentified confederates. Unfortunately, it now appears his approach to this litigation is identical, as he purports to be a pro se litigant but is, in fact, having court papers ghostwritten by one or more unidentified attorneys.” The document alleges that the Motion to Dismiss the case submitted by Postle on March 25 was a “cleanly-drafted document, replete with citations to controlling law” in perfect format. That’s something VerStandig alleges Postle, who submitted the document under his own name, simply couldn’t do on his own without any legal background. The Motion for Sanctions then cites Postle’s relationship with attorney William Portanova who, while not formally representing Postle, was named as his attorney in an article in The Sacramento Bee. It compares the similarities between a Motion to Dismiss filed by Portanova in a totally unrelated case and Postle’s Motion to Dismiss, alleging that Postle either used Portanova as a ghostwriter or used it unauthorized. Citing numerous accounts of California courts discussing the ethics of ghostwriting, including a ruling that called it a “serious ethical breach”, the Plaintiffs counsel asked for the striking of Postle’s original filing and for him to essentially be instructed to file his own work or, if he has an attorney of record, to them be named and appear in court. At the same time, on Monday, VerStandig, representing poker player Marle Cordero in Nevada, filed a Motion for Alternative Service after alleging that Postle has “thus far avoided nine (9) separate efforts by a process server” as well as ignoring four emails and Twitter messages. In addition to direct contact, VerStandig reached out to and connected with Postle's mother to ask her to reach out to him to check his e-mail. Being unable to serve Postle through traditional means, VerStandig is looking for the court to serve Postle via FedEx to his home, via email and social media as a means that “will satisfy the rigors of governing law” and allow the case to proceed.
  7. The legal volleying in the Mike Postle cheating scandal continued this week as two of the defendants sent the ball back in the direction of Veronica Brill and the 87 other plaintiffs. On Monday, King’s Casino Management Corp., the owner of Stones Gambling Hall, and Justin Kuraitis each filed separate motions to dismiss the recently amended complaints filed by the Brill's legal team. This is the latest development in the case which began in October 2019 when Mike Postle, Kuraitis, and Stones Gambling Hall were the subjects of a lawsuit brought by Brill and what was then 25 other plaintiffs which sought $30 million in damages after allegations of cheating by Postle in the Stones Live cash games came to light. In March, Stones filed an initial motion to dismiss where they built their argument centered around the argument that the lawsuit "reflects the oldest complaint of gamblers – that their lack of success means they were cheated." In early April, Postle was sued in Nevada by Marle Cordeiro for $30 million in damages. Two weeks ago, Mac Ver Standig, counsel for the 88 plaintiffs in California and Cordeiro in Nevada, filed motions in both states accusing Postle of using a ghostwriter in California and dodging service in the Nevada case. In their latest motion to dismiss, Stones' legal team claims that Brill et al failed to "articulate facts or law to support their claims" in the amended complaint filed in late March. The motion points out three specific reasons to dismiss: gambling losses are not considered damages under California law, the plaintiffs failed to "identify facts to cure the defects" in the amended complaint, and that plaintiffs were unable to counter any arguments or citations made by Stones in their initial response. "Plaintiffs have already had an opportunity to amend to address the concerns raised by Stones. In 56 pages, Plaintiffs failed to identify additional allegations they could make that would state claims for relief. They should not be granted leave to amend," the motion reads. Stones claims the complexity of a single hand of poker makes it nearly impossible to determine whether a particular player would have won or lost a particular hand and that properly assigning damages is subsequently impossible. "Plaintiffs cannot provide an accurate picture of their likelihood of winning because of the multitude of independent factors influencing how a hand of poker unfolds. They do not describe even a single hand in any detail, and the act of describing such a hand would make clear the impossibility of assessing proximate causation." Stones continues to ask the court to dismiss the libel complaint brought by Brill regarding a tweet sent from the official Stones Live Poker account in the aftermath of initial allegations against Postle being made public. The motion asks the court to dismiss the libel charge because "Stones did not, as Plaintiffs suggest, make “a public statement – that Ms. Brill’s allegations about Mr. Postle were ‘completely fabricated.’” The tweet generically referred to “allegations.”" Lawyers for Kuraitis, the Stones Tournament Director who was also responsible for the management of the streaming operation, took a similar stance and also claim in their motion that California law prevents gamblers from seeking resolution in court to any dispute regarding losses suffered at a casino. His lawyers also took issue with Brill's legal team citing cases "from two centuries ago". "On hands that defendant Postle won; he was the person who was “damaged”, not plaintiffs. On hands that defendant Postle lost, plaintiffs would not suffer damages, and certainly not damages proximately caused by any alleged cheating."
  8. The $30 million lawsuit brought against Mike Postle, Justin Kuraitis, and Stones Gambling Hall by Veronica Brill and more than 80 other poker players was dismissed on Wednesday. The lawsuit, which alleged Postle profited by cheating in poker games at Stones Gambling Hall in California on a live stream, alleged various claims of fraud, negligence, and libel against the three defendants. In a 24-page ruling released Wednesday afternoon, Judge William B. Shubb granted motions to dismiss brought by the three plaintiffs and effectively ruled against the 14 combined complaints. The ruling did leave open the possibility to revisit some of the complaints at a later date should Brill's legal team, lead by Mac Ver Standig, be willing to come forward with more information. Two issues that were common inside the complaint were California public policy against judicial resolution of civil claims arising out of gambling disputes and the fact that some of the complaints were tied to the rake collected by the host casino.
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