High-stakes poker pro Matthew Kirk last week has filed a lawsuit over unpaid loans made in a heads-up poker game in May at the Aria Resort and Casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.
Australian Matthew Kirk said in the lawsuit that on May 27, he loaned substantial sums of money to Leon Tsoukernik four times in the wee hours of that day. The loaned money was in increments of $500,000, $500,000, $1 million and another $1 million, which totals to $3 million.
Czech businessman Leon Tsoukernik, who owns King's Casino in his country, said in a court document, "expressly represented that he would repay the loans in full at the conclusion of the poker game."
The day before May 27, Kirk was said to have lost $1.5 million to Tsoukernik.
Even if he was $1.5 million ahead, Tsoukernik asked Kirk if he could borrow money, in which Kirk agreed. The lawsuit stated that Tsoukernik never really planned on repaying him if he lost in the game.
Tsoukernik actually paid Kirk $1 million just this June 3. Therefore, Kirk is seeking to get the remaining $2 million, plus interest, lawyer fees and exemplary damages.
Based on SMS text messages that Kirk saved and presented for proof, the first loan of $500,000 was made at 4:30am and 30 minutes after that, Tsoukernik asked for another $500,000. At 5:10am, he appeared to have lost the second $500,000 and asked for $1 million. Finally, at 5:45am, he requested another $1 million. He lost and they stopped playing. Thus, in just a span of less than an hour, Tsoukernik lost $3 million in the game.
A few days after their heads-up game, Tsoukernik finished fourth in the 2017 $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $1.8 million.
On the 2+2 poker forums, a statement was released on behalf of Tsoukernik. It said, "We are releasing a statement on behalf of Leon Tsoukernik in order to address the issue raised in this forum.
While Leon will not comment on the specific issues raised in this thread because there is an ongoing litigation where he is represented by counsel, he would like to ensure everyone that he will provide a detailed explanation of this dispute upon its final determination.
Leon is not currently in the United States due to business obligations but is looking forward to returning to Las Vegas on July 1st in order to play in the Poker Players Championship, followed by the Main Event. He has a lot of respect for the American legal system and a lot of confidence that justice will prevail.
He would like to thank those who are familiar with the facts and circumstances for their strong support."
Kirk filed the lawsuit on June 5, a little over a week after he lent the money, and two days after getting the $1 million returned by Tsoukernik. Kirk is represented by prominent Las Vegas attorneys Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff.