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Las Vegas Court Dismisses Leon Tsoukernik's Countersuit Over Booze-Fueled Poker Game

Matt Kirk, Aria Casino Score Victory In Court


A judge in Las Vegas didn’t buy a Czech casino owner’s lawsuit that alleged a casino on the Las Vegas Strip took advantage of him.

According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clark County District Court Judge Linda Bell on Tuesday tossed Leon Tsoukernik’s countersuit against the Aria casino and Australian poker pro Matt Kirk. Tsoukernik lost $3 million to Kirk in a high-stakes poker game last year, but only paid his opponent $1 million. Kirk sued for the rest, and Tsoukernik later filed his own lawsuit, saying that the casino plied him with alcohol.

Tsoukernik said the alcohol was “sufficient to visibly intoxicate and impair” him and “induce him to play for large sums.” He claimed he was so drunk and tired that he needed Kirk and the dealer in Ivey’s Room to help him count his chips. Tsoukernik said he also “misread” his cards during the match. He argued the casino should have stopped the game.

Tsoukernik. Wikipedia.His legal team said that he was suffering from “extreme fatigue” during the game that was running past 5 a.m. Tsoukernik claimed that Kirk was aware of his condition but still continued to play him. Tsoukernik lost $3 million in the span of a little over an hour. Kirk passed chips across the table to him in increments of $500,000, $500,000, $1 million and $1 million.

Judge Bell ordered Tsoukernik’s legal team to pay for Kirk’s legal fees accrued from defending against the counterclaim, the report said. Nevada gaming regulators could tackle the accusations against Aria, the judge said. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is the entity tasked with handling disputes and complaints between casinos and gamblers. Kirk’s legal team said that he wasn’t involved with Tsoukernik’s intoxication.

“There’s no factual allegation that Mr. Kirk ordered him a drink or anything of that sort,” said Richard Schonfeld, an attorney for the high-stakes poker pro.

With the counterclaims dismissed, Kirk is still pursuing payment from Tsoukernik under claims that he was the victim of “fraudulent inducement” and “unjust enrichment.”