In my previous article, I said that one personality trait that I find “painfully endearing” in poker players is their willingness to take on prop bets. Whatever, whenever. Now maybe this is just me not being a professional poker player and viewing that world largely from the outside, but one thing I have never understood about pros is how willingly they get into financial deals with other players. Backer deals I certainly get to an extent, but we have heard of so many of these that go wrong. And then there are just straight-up loans. Poker players just love throwing around money. Poker pro Yevgeniy Timoshenko is a cautionary tale; earlier this decade he found out that just because someone else plays poker, it doesn’t mean they are trustworthy. And now, years later, he has agreed to a settlement in a $90,000 lawsuit he filed against a former roommate.
Timoshenko met Frank Gu – how else – playing on the live poker tournament circuit. The two became friends and decided to take their friendship to the next level, becoming roommates in a New York City apartment from September 2010 to September 2011.
Gu Must Have Seemed Quite Trustworthy
Then, for whatever reason, Timoshenko starting loaning Gu money and participating in Gu’s iffy investment schemes. Timoshenko’s complaint lists a number of high-dollar amounts that Gu allegedly owed him:
• $50,000 in penny stocks (ticker: ESPI) that Timoshenko purchased for Gu (Timoshenko compounded his problems by buying $150,000 worth of it himself)
• $1,800 in due diligence research for the stock purchase, paid for by Timoshenko
• $13,050 in damages stemming from an $80,000 loan Timoshenko made to Craig Crosby. Gu accepted half the risk of the loan; some, but not all, of the loan was paid back.
• $15,484 in rent, $2,181 in utilities
• $1,160 in courtside seats for a Portland Trailblazers versus Los Angeles Lakers game in 2013. Jack Nicholson wasn’t impressed.
• $10,000 of Timoshenko’s money he asked Gu to safeguard for him while out of the country.
Did The Briefcase Come With Handcuffs, Too?
Let’s look at that last item to understand just how dumb it was. Timoshenko had to take a trip to London and I guess he had $10,000 in cash sitting around. He asked Gu to guard it for him while he was gone. Gu agreed and put the cash in a briefcase, which he in turn placed in a nightstand in Timoshenko’s bedroom. Now, while I wouldn’t have done this if I was in Timoshenko’s position, it’s still a relatively simple ask. Just keep the money hidden somewhere in the apartment and be done with it.
But while Timoshenko was gone, according to the court complaint, Gu allowed a stranger – a STRANGER – sleep over in Timoshenko’s room. And he never thought to himself, “I should probably move the money in case he looks for the Gideon’s Bible.”
I think you can guess what happened next. The cash disappeared. The complaint does not say what exactly happened to it, just that it was gone and Gu never repaid Timoshenko. He did admit it was his fault and promised to pay Timoshenko back, but never did.
Fast forward to March 2017, when Timoshenko sued Gu, seeking about $90,000 in damages. A trial was scheduled for September 25th, 2018, but a dismissal order was filed by Judge Kevin M. Fox, as it appears that Timoshenko and Gu came to some sort of settlement. One would assume that it involves Gu making gradual payments to Timoshenko. Both men do have the option to reopen the proceedings within 30 days, though one would also assume that if things are going smoothly with repayments or whatever is involved with the settlement, that won’t happen.
Lead photo credit: WPT via Flickr