In what was a rather anticlimactic ending to what was one of the biggest stories of the last year, a judge in California has dismissed charges against alleged poker cheater Mike Postle, the club that he was playing at (Stones Gambling Hall) and an alleged co-conspirator from the poker room. The resulting dismissal of the charges has not set well with the poker community, however, with many expressing their displeasure with the decision.
Judge Does Not Rule on Whether Postle Cheated or Not
In the decision that was rendered on Wednesday, U. S. District Judge William Shubb approved the motions that had been filed by the parent company of Stones Gambling Hall, King’s Casino, Justin Kuraitis (who had been the organizer and producer of streaming programming from Stones Gambling Hall) and Postle himself. The trio had filed for dismissal of the lawsuits brought by roughly 90 players who sought relief from alleged cheating mechanisms that were used by Postle and aided by Stones and Kuraitis. Judge Shubb found in favor of the trio not on whether anything illegal occurred but based on California legal statutes.
Under the laws of California, gamblers cannot sue through the courts because “California public policy bars judicial intervention in gambling disputes because…damages are inherently speculative,” Shubb noted in his decision to grant the motions. Shubb annotated several cases where this decision had been upheld by prior courts to support his decision. Shubb also stated that he could not hold Stones Gambling Hall nor Kuraitis responsible because he agreed that the venue and employees did not “owe a general duty” to protect gamblers in their game.
What Judge Shubb did not rule on was whether Postle committed his acts nor whether Kuraitis or Stones Gambling Hall had perpetuated the scam. The entire basis for his ruling was that gamblers generally cannot utilize the court system as a method for getting their money back. Shubb did NOT say by any means that Postle was innocent of the charges nor that Kuraitis and Stones Gambling Hall were NOT accomplices of Postle in any deceptions.
Poker Community Expresses Outrage over Decision
The opinion of the poker community has been that Postle was guilty of cheating the game he was playing in (this writer included) and that the lack of justice is outrageous. Veronica Brill, who initially sounded the alarm regarding the actions of Postle, Kuraitis and Stones Gambling Hall, stated over Twitter:
Barny Boatman, who has seen a few poker scams in his long career in the game, also opined about the judge’s decision:
Mac VerStandig, the attorney who brought the lawsuit against Postle, Kuraitis and Stones Gambling Hall, has also vowed that there will be an appeal of the decision:
With this decision, Postle is free to make statements on the case, but it is doubtful that he will come out with “his story” or, in fact, to ever step to a poker table again in public. Kuraitis and Stones Gambling Hall are also free to speak and/or go about their business, but they are not willing to open up to anyone. It is yet another black eye on the poker world and, like many times previously, the culprits have evaded the law again.