Rob Yong Reveals Truth Behind Leon Tsoukernik & Matt Kirk's $3Million Loan

1 year ago
Rob Yong Reveals Truth Behind Leon Tsoukernik & Matt Kirk's $3Million Loan
13 Nov

Dusk ‘Til Dawn casino owner Rob Yong has weighed in on the $multi-million Matt Kirk versus Leon Tsoukernik legal case, offering his version of the events which followed a late night heads-up match between the Aussie pro and the King’s Casino owner.

In a blog post entitled ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas [NOT]’, Yong recounts the aftermath of the match which saw Kirk win $3million from Tsoukernik, which the Australian followed up by raising a legal action claiming the Czech high-roller was refusing to pay his debts.

‘Articles referencing my involvement in brokering a deal between Matt Kirk and Leon Tsoukernik have some inaccuracies, so I will tell the poker community the stone cold facts,’ wrote Yong, two days after Tsoukernik launched a counterclaim in a Nevada court, seeking more than $10million in damages and naming the Aria Casino as a third party litigant.

‘I was sound asleep when the Leon Matty game happened,’ Yong states, having himself been playing in the Ivey Room at the Aria until the early hours of May 27th this year, but later that morning he says ‘Matty came over and told me that he had won $3M heads-up off Leon last night and was worried about being paid.’

Kirk then explained to Yong that he ‘didn’t want to hit and run Leon’ and was ‘heavily pressured by Leon to continue’ after the Czech casino mogul got extremely drunk, Tsoukernik blaming staff at the Aria for his condition and claiming that their role in the match rendered the ‘unfair, dishonest and non-competitive’.

What is not in dispute is the fact that Kirk loaned Tsoukernik $3m, although Yong ‘didn’t understand why Leon would loan (sic: borrow) money to play’ as he had ‘$4M + on deposit from roulette winnings’.

Yong continued:

‘Matty asked me what he should do. I replied, ‘I am sure Leon will pay you in full but if you feel a bit bad, and want to give him a small discount as a goodwill gesture that would also be okay’. Matty asked me what discount. I replied after some consideration, ‘Maybe $2M cash and play heads-up for the $1M.’

Backing up Tsoukernik’s claim this week that Kirk agreed to a settlement deal, Yong says:

‘Matty agreed and asked me to propose this settlement to Leon. Matty wanted to settle today before playing Leon again as this was a large sum of money.’

According to Yong, Tsoukernik told him:

‘Tell Matty not to worry, I don’t remember much but whatever I lost I will pay today’ and when Yong explained the offer Leon replied ‘fine, whatever Matty wants’.’ Yong adds that he ‘shouted Matty over and Leon and Matty hugged and shook hands on this $2M + $1M heads up deal.’

The story gets really interesting at this point, touching on something which Tsoukernik has mentioned several times in his legal counter-claim – namely that someone was behind Kirk’s bankroll and his decision to renege on the deal Yong claims to have brokered.

Yong says that:

‘20 minutes later Matty called me over … he was on the phone to someone. Matty told me ‘There is no deal, Leon has to pay the full $3M’. I asked why and he told me the person on the phone has said ‘no deal’ and it was ‘out of his hands’.

Tsoukernik apparently was enraged at this turn of events, telling Yong:

‘This is ridiculous, you get me out of bed after 2 hours sleep, I don’t remember anything but I agree to everything, I even offer to get the money brought here now, I shake hands and now you tell me this!’

Writing, ‘I was wishing I had never got involved: Leon was happy to pay the $3M, Matty was a total gentlemen offering Leon a discount, and somehow this had all gone wrong. I will never get a job in politics’, Yong returned to the UK, but was called a few days later.

‘My phone rang and it was Leon and Matty on speakerphone. Leon said ‘Myself and Matt are here at the Rio Cage, we have agreed a settlement and we would like you to be a witness to it. I am giving Matt $1M and he accepts this as a full and final settlement for the game.’

A surprised Yong replied: 'Eh, $1M, are you serious! Matty, WTF’ but Kirk assured him, ‘Yes, it’s fine, we are all settled, I want to move on’.

‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but at the end of the day, they just wanted me to witness the settlement and I was sick of being involved so I just said ‘fine, I have witnessed it’, says Yong.

Later that same night the Australian Skyped Yong and was ‘absolutely fuming’, telling the Dusk Til Dawn man ‘he didn’t care about the money now and he was going to use the $1M to ruin Leon’s reputation in the poker world’ - furious with Leon who apparently told him:

‘This is a lesson for you, you shouldn’t loan money to drunk people’.

After Leon’s own legal claims were made public, Yong says he messaged Kirk who ‘told me his lawyer had told him that he could no longer speak to me.’

In closing his blog revelations, Yong states of his role:

‘I have sought advice from close friends in the poker world whose opinions I respect. I am comfortable with the advice that I gave Matty at Liquid and have confirmation from persons present in Ivey’s Room that Leon’s condition had deteriorated to such an extent that at one point he folded the winning hand, however I was not present while the game took place so all I could do was suggest a solution based on the facts presented to me with no bias towards either party and I would be happy to appear in court in Nevada and repeat this word for word under oath on behalf of either Matt’s or Leon’s attorney.’

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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