Czech Casino Owner Blames Alcohol For His $3m High Stakes Poker Loss

Leon TsoukernikKing’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik in response to a lawsuit filed against him by Australian poker pro Matthew Kirk alleges that he lost $3 million in a high stakes poker game against Kirk because staff at the Aria Resort & Casino plied him with alcohol.

The lawsuit is over a high stakes poker game that took place in the wee hours of the morning in May 2017 at the Ivey Poker room.

Tsoukernik owns the popular King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic and had a great reputation in the poker community.

That reputation has been tarnished this year as Kirk has alleged that Tsoukernik has so far only repaid $1 million and is not willing to clear the remaining $2 million. The Australian poker pro filed a lawsuit claiming that the $3 million should be considered as a business loan and not as a gambling loan.

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Tsoukernik filed a counterclaim against Kirk and also named Aria as a defendant alleging that casino employees pumped him with alcohol throughout the session to the extent of intoxication and impairment, allowing Kirk to fool him into throwing away his money. He further added that a lot of damage has already been done by Kirk’s remarks which has hurt his reputation in the industry. The two players initially tried to work out their differences but were unable to reach a mutual decision.

In a statement, Tsoukernik said

As a casino operator, I feel it is my obligation to never allow a patron to be treated as I was and to alert the poker community of the risks they take in situations like mine. I believe that my response shines light on some of the unethical practices that target poker players

Last month, Tsoukernik had a partial victory in the case when District Judge Linda Marie Bell cut 8 out of the 10 claims from the initial lawsuit filed by Matthew Kirk. The Judge said that the loan cannot be regarded as a business loan and must be treated as a gambling loan. Judge Bell also ruled that Kirk can continue to pursue the money which he feels Tsoukernik still owes him on the basis of fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment claims.

Kirk’s legal team is putting together a motion to dismiss the counter lawsuit while MGM Resorts which owns the Aria has decided not to comment on the lawsuit.