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High-Stakes Poker Debt Case Involving WSOP Partner Can Proceed, Judge Says

Matt Kirk Claims Leon Tsoukernik Owes Him $2 Million


A Nevada judge said Monday that a lawsuit pitting high-stakes poker player Matt Kirk against Czech casino owner Leon Tsoukernik can proceed.

Per a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the local judge said that the $2 million gambling debt is unenforceable, but Kirk, an Australian, could be entitled to damages if he can prove that Tsoukernik never intended to repay the money.

Kirk reportedly would be entitled to recouping the money if his legal team can show “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment” stemming from the May 27 game at the Aria Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It is not clear if alcohol was involved.

According to the lawsuit filed in June during of the annual World Series of Poker, Tsoukernik lost $3 million to Kirk in only about an hour of heads-up play. Kirk claims that Tsoukernik repaid him $1 million but welched on the rest.

The judge threw out eight of the 10 claims from the lawsuit, leaving just the two claims of fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment. What Kirk’s team describes as business loans were made by Kirk sliding chips across the felt to Tsoukernik.

According to the suit, Tsoukernik repaid the $1 million after cashing for $1.8 million in a tournament just a few days after their late-night poker game. The suit also claims that Tsoukernik asked Kirk to borrow money despite beating Kirk for $1.5 million the day before.

Tsoukernik’s King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic is home to the upcoming World Series of Poker Europe, which kicks off Thursday and ends early next month.

His poker room is one of the largest in Europe.