What a difference a year makes. A year ago, the final table of the 2019 World Series of Poker was playing out to its conclusion and the crowning of Hossein Ensan as the new World Champion. But, earlier during the play of the Championship Event, there was another earth-shattering occurrence that also happened (no, not the earthquake) that is only now being rectified. Kenneth Strauss, otherwise known as the “WSOP Flasher,” was finally released from jail after charges stemming from another encounter with the police from last year.
Nevada Courts Don’t Joke Around
In a negotiated deal with prosecutors for Clark County, Strauss has pled guilty to a litany of charges related to his stay in Las Vegas last year. These charges include conspiracy to make a threat or convey false information concerning an act of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, lethal agents or toxins, and a second charge of malicious destruction of property. The two misdemeanors were enough to merit significant punishment for Strauss.
Because of his guilty plea Strauss will have to prove to Clark County personnel that he is continuing to undergo “mental health treatment.” He is also banned from visiting Clark County for two years and banned from any casino property in Las Vegas. On a video call during the sentencing, Strauss demonstrated contrition in stating, “I’m just very sorry for what happened. And I’m just going to continue focusing on my mental health improving.”
The conclusion of the case in the courts puts to an end one of the oddest sojourns that has ever occurred in the history of the World Series of Poker.
Strauss’ History at the 2019 WSOP and Beyond
Until the start of the 2019 WSOP Championship Event, Strauss had been having a decent summer. He had a couple of cashes in Las Vegas tournaments, including the $5000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament, and was cruising along on Day 1C of the Championship Event. Some have stated that he was inebriated as the day’s play went on, which might explain the outburst that Strauss committed at the tables.
While all in on a hand, Strauss proceeded to drop trou at his opponent, turning around to give him a proper mooning. After then proceeding to throw his shoes at the player – and striking the dealer in the process – WSOP officials ejected him from the tournament (covered under the WSOP Rules, Section IV, Rule 48) and off the Rio property. That wasn’t enough hijinks for Strauss, who then headed to Luxor and hopped up on a craps table to drop his shorts and put his goodies on display.
It wasn’t these acts that got him arrested, however. Apparently Strauss continued to stay in the Las Vegas area and, after a few Tweets that threatened violence against several casinos in the city (remember, this was after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017), was arrested and charged with a variety of terrorist threats (it was mentioned during the grand jury testimony that Strauss had threatened to “kill them all,” apparently referring to law enforcement). But that wasn’t the end of the road for this story.
Facing a judge in the case, Strauss was determined to be mentally incompetent to stand trial and remanded to a mental hospital until such point it would be determined that he was competent. Strauss was eventually released on a $150,000 bond and he left Las Vegas during the fall of 2019. The case was continued after that point until this last week, when Strauss issued his guilty plea.
It is unknown whether Strauss has any further lifetime ban from any of the casinos in Las Vegas, but it is likely he won’t be playing any tournaments at the Rio or on the WSOP anytime soon. The Strauss case is a grim reminder…you may be able to get away with a lot when you’re in Las Vegas, but even “Sin City” has a line that you don’t cross.