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Judge Dismisses Bitter High-Stakes Poker Lawsuit

Matt Kirk, Leon Tsoukernik Agree To End Legal Dispute

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A contentious court battle over losses incurred during a booze-fueled, high-stakes poker game from last summer has come to an end.

According to court documents filed Friday in Clark County District Court, a judge “dismissed with prejudice” the “entire case” between Australian poker player Matt Kirk and poker-playing Czech casino owner Leon Tsoukernik.

“Having come before the court by stipulation of the parties, the court finding good cause, hereby orders that this entire case is dismissed with prejudice, including but not limited to the complaint, all counterclaims, and all third party complaints, with each party to bear their own attorney’s fees and costs,” wrote District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell.

The order was signed by attorneys for Kirk, Tsoukernik and the Aria Resort & Casino, the location of the controversial poker game. Court documents didn’t mention whether or not the two gamblers settled the debt out of court. The resolution to the case comes a little over two months after Tsoukernik was doubling down on his allegations against Kirk and the casino.

The case was slated to head to a jury trial in April 2019.

The dispute was over an early morning poker game in late May 2017. Kirk was the first to sue about a month later, claiming that he loaned Tsoukernik $3 million during their heads-up match. Kirk said Tsoukernik only honored $1 million of the losses and refused to pay the rest. So, Kirk eventually took him to court over the $2 million gambling debt.

Tsoukernik, AriaIn October, the judge said that the gambling debt wasn’t enforceable, but Kirk could still pursue the case under claims of “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.” Tsoukernik fired back less than a month later with his own lawsuit.

Tsoukernik claimed that he was the victim. He said that alcohol was provided to him and that it was “sufficient to visibly intoxicate and impair” him and “induce him to play for large sums.” He also sued Aria, alleging that the casino not only over-served him alcohol but “prevented” other gamblers from removing him from the poker room when he was visibly intoxicated. Additionally, he accused the casino of staking Kirk and “other professional poker players” in order for them to be able to gamble against “whale patrons” such as himself. Tsoukernik also alleged defamation from Kirk, who made the dispute public.

Tsoukernik was represented by Peter Bernhard, a former Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. Tsoukernik is the owner of the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the current home to World Series of Poker Europe events. The casino has one of the largest poker rooms in Europe.