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Paul Phua Denied Request To Be Able To Play Poker At Casinos While Awaiting Trial

Malaysian Businessman In Hot Water With The Federal Government


High-stakes poker player Paul Phua saw his request to be able to continue playing poker at casinos denied by a federal court. Phua is awaiting trial for his alleged role in an illegal gambling operation run out of a villa at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was arrested this past summer.

Phua wanted the judge to end the condition that prevents him “from gambling or entering any establishment whose primary business involves gambling activities.”

His attorneys have argued that he wasn’t arrested for anything related to playing poker and thus shouldn’t be barred from the activity that he enjoys doing.

The alleged illegal gambling business he has been accused of running involved underground betting on World Cup matches.

Prosecutors replied to the request by saying that “while defendants’ request is premised on the notion that they require more freedom to shop, eat, and attend shows purportedly all housed in casinos, there are a plethora of stores, restaurants, and shows accessible to defendants without them having to enter any casino.”

The court agreed.

“Because defendants present nothing new or material apart from the notion that they require more places to shop, eat, attend shows, and play poker, this court finds no basis to grant defendants’ request,” the court document reads. “Indeed, this court agrees with the government that a plethora of stores, restaurants, and shows are accessible to defendants without them having to enter a casino, and defendants fail to establish that the condition at issue is unduly restrictive.”

However the primary reason for denying the request might have been: “The circumstances of this charge evince a risk of danger to the community, particularly casinos, arising from defendants’ alleged conduct in operating illegal gaming activities at casino premises,” the judge added.

Phua, who has friends in the high-stakes poker community, was seen last year playing a nearly $1 million hand. Phua is regarded as a strong poker player, but not quite yet among the best in the world. The wealthy businessman lost nearly $4.6 million online from May 2013 to May 2014.

Heres’s a look at the court document that was filed late last week:

Phua request denied.pdf

Tags: Paul Phua