Judge Dismisses Charges in Mike Postle Cheating Lawsuit

  • Judge William Shubb said that state law prohibits courts from settling gambling disputes
  • Charges against Postle were dismissed with prejudice
  • Plaintiffs could amend their arguments and try again on some charges against the casino
scales of justice statue
Judge William Shubb has dismissed the charges against Mike Postle, King’s Casino, and Justin Kuraitis in a lawsuit over allegations of cheating in Stones Live cash games. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Poker world shocked, upset

In a surprise development in the Mike Postle cheating scandal, a judge in United States District Court has granted Postle, King’s Casino, and Justin Kuraitis their motions to dismiss. Judge William B. Shubb agreed with the defendants’ arguments, granting their motions on Wednesday.

Of the string of claims against the trio – brought by around 90 poker players – some were dismissed with prejudice, meaning that they are done, that they cannot be brought back to court except in an appeal. Others were dismissed without prejudice, so the plaintiffs could plug holes in their argument and try again. The latter, however, only applies to charges against Kuraitis and King’s Casino, the parent company of Stones Gambling Hall. Postle appears to be in the clear.

Poker world is taking L’s left and right.”

The poker community is by and large upset with the ruling. 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jay Farber tweeted, “2020 is really the year of the scumbag. Poker world is taking L’s left and right.”

Brad Wilson of the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast wrote, “Russ Hamilton, Annie Duke, and Mike Postle. If I could ban 2 out of the 3 from poker for life I would ban Mike Postle twice.”

And Veronica Brill, who provided commentary during some of the Stones Live streams during which Postle played and was the first to bring the cheating allegations, expressed her frustration Wednesday afternoon:

California law on Postle’s side

While there were lots of moving pieces in the case, Judge Shubb’s ruling revolved around a California law that says the courts cannot get involved in gambling disputes. He wrote that any money lost to Postle, even if it was because of alleged cheating, is considered “quintessential gambling losses that are barred for recovery by California public policy.”

He added, according to documents obtained by PokerNews.com: “Today, the California state legislature still has not created a statutory right to permit individuals to recover their gambling losses, although other states have done so.”

The RICO charges were dismissed because gambling losses are not sufficient for such a charge. Judge Shubb also rejected any sanctions against Postle for possibly using a ghostwriter in his court filings, effectively saying it just wasn’t a big deal if he did or not.

Stones, Kuraitis not totally home free

As for Stones (King’s Casino) and Kuraitis, the judge was not impressed with the plaintiffs’ allegation of fraud. Specifically, he said that they “offer nothing more than a general allegation that the rake amounted to ‘tens of thousands of dollars during the life of Mr. Postle’s scheme’,” rather than present a hard rake figure for each game or the amount of rake each player contributed.

agreed with the defendants that Stones did not “owe a general duty” to poker players

Among the other charges, Judge Shubb tossed out constructive fraud because he agreed with the defendants that Stones did not “owe a general duty” to poker players, an argument that also applied to the claims of negligence.

The libel claim brought specifically by Brill was rejected because it couldn’t be proven that Stones’ tweet saying that her accusations were “completely fabricated” was pointed squarely at her and not the plaintiffs in general.

The plaintiffs and their counsel, Mac VerStandig, could still amend some of their complaints against Stones and Kuraitis, as some of the charges were dismissed without prejudice. VerStandig told PokerNews that they may calculate the rake that players lost and go after Stones for that.

Postle was in god mode

The Mike Postle case goes back to last September when Brill tweeted that she suspected someone – later confirmed to be Postle – was cheating in the Stones Live games. Top pros in the poker community began reviewing live streams and Postle’s statistics dating back to 2018 and found that he had been winning at an alarming rate.

Out of 34 streamed cash game sessions, Postle lost money in just two of them. He profited about $130,000 in a combination of $1/$3 and $5/$5 No-Limit Hold’em games.

While no concrete, “caught red-handed” evidence was found, video review showed that Postle won many pots either with terrible hands or hands that were losing the entire way until getting lucky at the end. They were hands in which Postle essentially had no business staying in through the river. It seemed to many that he knew what his opponents had.

It is speculated, based on Postle’s posture and a suspicious bulge in his baseball cap that only appeared during live-streamed games, that he was either receiving the RFID data from the cards via a smartphone in his lap or some sort of communications device in his hat.