The long running battle between the online behemoth PokerStars and 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event runner-up Gordon Vayo has apparently reached its end. With a hearing looming, Vayo has voluntarily dropped his lawsuit against the online poker site, but PokerStars isn’t done yet with the battle. According to court documents, PokerStars will be going after Vayo for their legal fees over the past couple of years.
You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape…
For those that don’t remember what happened, Vayo won the 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) Main Event, taking down slightly more than $700,000 for the victory. That was before PokerStars began looking into the case, however. After investigating the entirety of Vayo’s time on the virtual felt on the site, PokerStars alleged that Vayo had played from an illegal proxy server in the States of America and, as such, he was playing in violation of the T&Cs (Terms and Conditions) as set forth by the company. The result was that PokerStars refused to pay Vayo and froze his account.
Vayo countered by saying that he played the tournament while in a rented apartment in Canada and presented documentation that supposedly backed up his contention. PokerStars, however, countered in documents filed earlier this week that Vayo’s documents presented to the court were the work of a document forger. Stating that they received information from a “third party,” PokerStars said that it presented the new evidence to Vayo. Vayo’s response was to drop his case in the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California.
You Don’t Pull the Mask Off the Lone Ranger…
PokerStars didn’t take the voluntary dismissal of the case by Vayo as a sign that the battle was over, however. In those legal documents from earlier this week, PokerStars countersued Vayo for their legal fees, stating that more than 346 hours of legal work had been racked up in the investigation and litigation of the case. At a neat $800 per hour, that totals up to $276,800 in fees for the barristers that PokerStars used in the case.
Citing the quick dropping of the lawsuit after being presented with the alleged evidence of forgery, PokerStars’ attorneys said that was almost an admission of guilt and that the case from the start was fraudulent. PokerStars also pointed out that, in the very T&Cs that establish that a player has to be playing legally on the site to be able to win money, it is within the rights of PokerStars to be able to sue Vayo for the repayment of legal fees.
But Everyone Leaves with a Black Eye
Even with the voluntary dismissal of the case by Vayo and the pending hearing on PokerStars’ countersuit, nobody is walking away from this cleanly. Vayo, who was the runner up to Qui Nguyen in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, has violated pretty much every rule that is in the online poker handbook – illegally playing on an international site, using a proxy server to mask their location and probably a couple of other instances along the way. Then there’s the actions outside of the online poker arena; hiring a forger to create documents that would show you were somewhere you weren’t (and badly too, if they were so easily picked apart) might have him in some hot water with U. S. authorities.
PokerStars, who should be able to walk from this clean, isn’t going to be able to do that either. Vayo planted the seeds of some thoughts – that players were allowed to play from the U. S. as long as they didn’t win TOO big perhaps being the biggest one – that aren’t going to go away. Then there’s also the methods that they utilized to determine that Vayo wasn’t playing from Canada as he stated; while geolocation technology is excellent, just how far did PokerStars go in trying to prove that Vayo defrauded them? Neither side is a saint in this situation, but the hearing on PokerStars’ countersuit on December 18 will help to put the finishing touches on what has been a rather sordid case.