Instead of just paying Aussie Matt Kirk back all of the $3 million he borrowed (during their late-night poker session in 2017 at the Aria casino in Las Vegas) and get on with his life in peace, King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik has yet again filed a second countersuit against the poker pro who loaned him the cash.
How ridiculous can this get? The person who borrowed the money (to which casino's CCTV cameras and Kirk's text messages prove the authenticity of the borrowing) is suing the very man who loaned him the cash for...wait for it...conspiring with the casino (Aria) against him to get him intoxicated to the point he cannot think straight and so was taken advantage of his ‘extreme fatigue'!
Leon Tsoukernik, owner of King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic (a very popular European poker destination), asked if he could borrow $3 million in chips from Kirk during their cash game session in Ivey's Room at Aria in 2017. He only managed to pay back $1 million, and since then he has refused to pay the remaining $2 million.
The troubled Kirk filed a lawsuit against the casino owner in Clark County last autumn. In February 2018, Tsoukernik filed a $10 million countersuit against Kirk, alleging defamation of character but it was thrown out by an unconvinced judge.
The judge who threw out Tsoukernik's countersuit actually ordered him to pay Kirk's legal fees. As a response, the casino owner's lawyers filed a counterclaim asserting that "additional facts" mandated that "any final award of attorney's fees based on Kirk's motion to dismiss must await a final determination of this matter after discovery, further motion practice, and trial."
Tsoukernik's lawyers are also asking the court to re-visit the $10 million countersuit on grounds of Aria casino and Kirk both conspiring against their client.
Tsoukernik claims MGM Resorts executive Bobby Baldwin (a regular cash game player in Ivey's Room and the 1978 WSOP Main Event Champion) staked Kirk to play against the high-stakes players and so, he was being conspired against.
The first countersuit claimed that Baldwin's connection with the Aria and alleged relationship to Kirk is proof of a massive conspiracy to get Tsoukernik's money. (which most people definitely think this is nuts)
After Tsoukernik paid $1 million or 1/3 of the debt, he said he wasn't going to pay the rest, citing Nevada's law that says gambling debts are not enforceable.
Given that he is an owner of a casino, Tsoukernik has a reputation to uphold but it looks like it really doesn't matter much to him with these things going on. Many poker players have publicly expressed that the casino owner pay back Kirk, but this demand has only fallen on deaf ears.
Last year, another poker player revealed a similar dispute against Tsoukernik. Elton Tsang said that Tsoukernik backed out of a $2.4 million payment after a game in Barcelona, Spain in 2016. Tsoukernik said that he refused to pay the sum because he believes Tsang cheated. Similar to Nevada, gambling debts are unenforceable in Europe.
Tsoukernik really doesn't always practice what he preaches. During the 2017 $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl at Aria, a tournament that he played in, he motioned for Justin Bonomo to be banned from televised poker events in the future because he failed to show his hole cards to the cameras. When interviewed during the PokerGO live stream, Tsoukernik said Bonomo "is bad for the game".
Even so, for the second consecutive year, King's Casino in Rozvadov shall play host to the WSOP Europe Series in October. His casino also has a sponsored high-stakes poker lounge made available to high rollers this upcoming summer at the Rio, Las Vegas.