On Wednesday afternoon, a US District judge dismissed a federal lawsuit against poker player Mike Postle for allegedly cheating in livestreamed cash games at Stones Gambling Hall.
In his action, Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California also dismissed lawsuits against Stones Gambling Hall and its poker room manager, Justin Kuraitis.
Latest twist in livestreamed poker cheating saga
The dismissals represent the latest twist in a story that has, at times, captivated the poker world’s attention over the last nine months. Postle’s accusers first went public with their claims last September, filing their lawsuit in October.
The lawsuit contained multiple causes of action against each of the defendants. The lawsuit lists more than 80 plaintiffs, with Maryland-based lawyer Maurice “Mac” VerStandig heading the legal team representing them.
All of the plaintiffs are poker players who played in games versus Postle on the “Stones Live Poker” livestream, which debuted in January 2018. They have alleged Postle received information about his opponents’ hole cards as he was playing, enabling him to win at statistically improbable rates.
Postle is alleged to have won more than $250,000 in the games, booking victories in 94% of the sessions in which he played during 2018 and 2019. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs collectively sought $30 million in damages from the defendants.
Judge explains dismissal, leaves door open for plaintiffs to amend
In April, the defendants in the case filed motions to dismiss, their filings joined together under one brought by King’s Casino LLC, operator of Stones Gambling Hall. The causes of action against them covered a variety of different complaints, including negligence, negligent misrepresentation, constructive fraud, fraud, and libel.
In the 24-page ruling, Judge Shubb offered various reasons for dismissing the different charges. In some cases, he noted causes of action were being “dismissed with leave to amend” if the plaintiffs could provide further evidence to support their claims.
For example, the claim of negligent misrepresentation against King’s Casino (i.e., Stones Gambling Hall) stemmed from the plaintiffs’ position that Stones “created ‘an implicit representation’ that players would be ‘protected from the cheating of other players.'”
The plaintiffs maintain Stones was, in fact, aware of Postle’s cheating and that “at least one agent of Stones served as a John Doe or Jane Doe confederate of Mr. Postle.”
But, the judge wrote, the suit didn’t name that person or what their position at Stones was, making it difficult to determine the basis for that claim. So, if the plaintiffs file the suit again with that information added, among other changes, Shubb will consider their case again. In the dismissal, there are several such requests for more supporting information in order for the suit to be refiled.
VerStandig has already indicated that the case will be amended and brought again.
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. https://t.co/bt5POVWawe
— Mac VerStandig (@mac_verstandig) June 3, 2020
Stones Gambling Hall, located in Citrus Heights near Sacramento, has remained closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.