It may seem as if all the news coming about poker is all about the World Series of Poker, but that is not necessarily true. There are other newsworthy tidbits that are out there that, under normal circumstances, would receive a lot more airtime. We will look at some of those stories in this volume of “In Case You Missed It (ICYMI).”
Cory Zeidman Pleads Not Guilty in Sports Betting Fraud Case
In a New York courtroom earlier this week, professional poker player Cory Zeidman issued a “not guilty” plea during his arraignment on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. These crimes were allegedly committed as Zeidman operated a sports betting fraud scheme from his residences in Long Island and in Florida.
Zeidman issued a statement to Jon Sofen of PokerNews.com, opening with a statement from noted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche regarding how “the state” (government) steals from the people before saying that his attorneys had advised him to not say too much. “I anxiously await my day in court,” Zeidman stated, “I want to thank the outpouring of positive words in support from my close friends and family.”
Zeidman, who won a bracelet in 2013 and would normally be at the WSOP, was arrested by federal authorities in Florida on May 25. In their indictment, the feds state that Zeidman held a high-level position in the “Phoenix Organization,” which allegedly placed advertisements on radio espousing the skills and expertise of their touts. Upwards of $25 million were alleged to have been taken in by the group over a sixteen-year time span.
Zeidman will be back in court for another hearing on June 24.
Paul Pierce Sued for Gambling Debt
Elsewhere in the courtrooms of New York City, former NBA champion Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics saw a lawsuit filed against him for non-payment of a gambling debt.
According to the New York Post, Stephen Carmona is looking to claim almost $200,000 he says that he loaned the NBA legend. Carmona says that he made the loans in connection with a poker game and, after Pierce reportedly lost the entire bankroll, did not repay the load. Pierce allegedly was loaned $150,000 by Carmona, with Pierce only coming back with $10,000 of that stack, and Carmona loaned him another $40,000 the next week; Pierce lost that entire roll.
Carmona alleges that he has asked for repayment of the $180,000…and Pierce has, to this point, not repaid the loans.
Pierce has been known to step to the poker tables. He has played in the WSOP on many occasions and was fired from a job at ESPN because of a widely circulated video of him at a friend’s poker game. That game showed strippers, drinking and various other adult activities, with Pierce at the center of the festivities.
No details as to future hearing dates or other settlement negotiations have been made public.
COVID Running Wild!
Everyone has heard about Phil Hellmuth’s unfortunate brush with #POSITIVETY when his recent COVID test revealed he had contracted the virus. According to top player/writer Barry Carter, he is not the only one who has been bitten by the COVID bug. Carter wrote at PokerStrategy that “2022 was supposed to be the year that COVID didn’t impact the World Series of Poker,” but it seems that the virus that has caused worldwide issues for the last two years has become quite prevalent on the WSOP battlegrounds in Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.
Along with Hellmuth and David “ODB” Baker, other players such as Mike Gorodinsky, Dylan Weisman, Matt Waxman, and Chris “Fox” Wallace have popped positive for COVID in just the past week. Hellmuth, who played in two “high roller” tournaments before removing himself from the action, is not solely responsible for these infections. It does mean that there are players who could be spreading the virus (either knowingly or unknowingly) to others on the scene.
The WSOP has not put up any mask suggestions – yet – but Carter seems to think that it might be coming. “Will we see emergency COVID rules implemented?” he asks…and the question is not that far out of consideration.