Mike Postle, Stones Parties Hit With $10M Lawsuit
Table Of Contents
- $10 Million Lawsuit
- Items of Note from Lawsuit
- ‘Chief Confederate’ Unnamed
- Kuraitis and Stones Charged
- ‘Lackadaisical’ Security Alleged
- Will Evidence Be Enough?
In the wake of the , a number of questions have been on the minds of thousands around the world following the story’s every twist and turn. One such question: while nearly everyone seems to agree that Postle cheated, what exactly can be done about it?
On Tuesday afternoon, an answer may have emerged.
$10 Million Lawsuit
Postle (lead photo left), Stones Gambling Hall, Stones Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis (lead photo right) and a number of other unnamed defendants have been hit with a $10 million lawsuit, according to a publicly posted court document from Mac VerStandig, attorney for the plaintiffs.
"This case represents the largest known cheating scandal in the history of broadcast poker," the suit reads.
Twenty-five plaintiffs are named in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California. Recognizable names include lead whistleblower Veronica Brill, and poker content creators Jeff "Boski" Sluzinski and Jaman Burton. The $10 million is to be "divided pari passu between and amongst the Stones Fraud Victims in proration to the number of minutes they spent playing on the Stones Live Poker broadcast from January 1, 2019 through the present."
Both Stones and Postle could each be on the hook for $10 million if found liable for the maximum.
"We are proud to serve as their counsel and look forward to pursuing this matter in court," VerStandig wrote.
Items of Note from Lawsuit
Nine counts are laid out in the suit: racketeering, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence per se, unjust enrichment, negligence, constructive fraud, fraud and libel.
Much of the document lays out the facts and speculations that have become common knowledge from the ongoing informal internet investigation: Postle cheated, he did so using electronic devices of some sort, he took hundreds of thousands of dollars from his fellow players and he had the aid of one or more co-conspirators.
Still, there are some items of interest in the suit, which covers 68 sessions of poker played by Postle from July 18, 2018 through Sept. 21, 2019.
‘Chief Confederate’ Unnamed
One note in particular stands out: the parties bringing suit seem to have singled out at least one individual aside from possibly Kuraitis who was in on the scheme. The unnamed person, referred to as "John Doe 1," may be named in forthcoming developments in the case and was called Postle’s "chief confederate."
"While there are a handful of Stones Live Poker sessions in which Mr. Postle did not make money, and in which he played in a sub-optimal manner, the Plaintiffs have information and a belief that such sessions correlate to the absence of Mr. Postle’s suspected chief confederate, John Doe 1, and the Plaintiffs further allege Mr. Postle’s participation in Stones Live Poker games was uncharacteristically rare — in contrast to his normal schedule — when the person the plaintiffs believe to be John Doe 1 was absent from the Sacramento area," the complaint reads.
The plaintiffs need only to show there is more than a 50% chance that the charges are true.
"…[He] is the individual who caused to be transmitted to Mr. Postle the information concerning other players’ Hole Cards during Stones Live Poker games, and that such confederate also took steps to allay suspicions and concerns regarding Mr. Postle’s cheating so as to allow the same conduct to continue in an unabated manner for a protracted period of time in excess of one (1) year."
Much speculation, even before the release of the lawsuit, has centered on one
Kuraitis and Stones Charged
Kuraitis, on the other hand, was not named in the racketeering charge, indicating he may not be suspected of actively participating in the scheme. He is, however, charged with negligence and fraud. The former charge comes from failing to police the games properly, while the latter stems from his assurances to suspicious parties that a thorough investigation had been conducted.
The venue itself is named in the negligence, fraud and libel charges — the latter stemming from a Sept. 29 tweet that the accusations against Postle were "completely fabricated." According to the suit, the strong denial served to briefly sully Brill’s good name.
While Brill only seeks a nominal damage of $1,000, the suit says she hopes to highlight "Stones’ efforts to coverup the alleged criminal activity."
‘Lackadaisical’ Security Alleged
Among the most damning accusations against Stones are the alleged lack of security surrounding the mechanics of the livestream. The lawsuit described the security set-up as "appreciably more lackadaisical" in comparison to others in the industry, with "Live at the Bike" singled out as an appropriately secured product.
According to the suit, Stones did not secure the room in which hole card information was available, allowing it to be accessed by numerous people. Furthermore, those in the room were allowed to be in possession of cell phones.
Will Evidence Be Enough?
The parties seeking damages in the suit admit therein that they don’t have all of the facts. All of the evidence against Postle essentially amounts to mounds and mounds of circumstance, without any hard and fast proof. The parties hope discovery phase of the trial will reveal more.
Fortunately for them, a civil suit requires only "preponderance of evidence." That means the plaintiffs need only to show there is more than a 50% chance that the charges are true.
"This case represents the largest known cheating scandal in the history of broadcast poker."
As for what evidence the plaintiffs have brought to bear, there are several amusingly worded sections of the suit describing Postle’s preposterous winning ways. Such winnings were described as "unfathomable in the world of professional poker" and stemming from "seeming mystical abilities."
"[His winnings represent] a quality of play multiple degrees higher than that achieved by the best poker players in the world," the suit says.
Despite those stratospheric win rates, the suit points out that Postle never sought to compete at higher stakes or in any other games, to the public’s general knowledge.
Will that be enough to prevail in court? Stay tuned as PokerNews continues to bring coverage of further developments in the highly scrutinized saga.
Source lead photo: Mike Postle Interview with Justin Kuraitis 1-23-2019
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