Second Lawsuit Filed Over Mike Postle Poker Cheating Allegations10 months ago
A new lawsuit alleging that California poker player Mike Postle cheated during dozens of live-streamed cash games from Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall has been filed in a US federal court. Marle Cordeiro, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based poker player who was invited to play in one of the “Stones Live!” games featuring Postle, seeks at least $250,000 in damages from Postle in the case.
The lawsuit was filed by Las Vegas attorney Maurice “Mac” Verstandig in a US District of Nevada court on Saturday, April 4, 2020, and docketed on Monday, April 6. Verstandig is also the lead attorney in the first case filed against Postle, Justin Kuraitis and Stones Gambling Hall parent King’s Casino, LLC in late 2019. That case was filed in California, in a separate federal US District Court district, features 88 separate defendants, not including Cordeiro, who collectively seek at least $10 million in damages. That case is ongoing.
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Unique circumstances likely figure into Cordeiro’s decision to file a separate case against Postle rather than join the California action. Of special note is that Cordeiro’s lawsuit names Postle as a sole defendant, rather than also including Kuraitis, King’s Casino LLC, or multiple and unnamed “John Doe” defendants still possibly to be added to the California action. The complaint does reference a singular “John Doe 1” who will likely be identified and brought into the case in some form at a later date.
TMZ breaks news of the Cordeiro-Postle case
Rather than emerging through standard poker- or gambling-news outlets, the first report of the lawsuit came from the high-readership online tabloid site TMZ. TMZ’s quick take offered an eye-catching image featuring Cordeiro and Postle and just a hint of the details of the case. The clickbait-style story depicted the lawsuit as something of a she-said-he-said case without delving into the deeper poker knowledge that -- as with the similar lawsuit in California -- will likely decide the case.
How TMZ came into the story is also unclear. The site and related TV show focus on “celebrity” events, including lawsuits such as this. TMZ is also believed to have recruited a network of court clerks to serve as spotters for juicy filings such as this; the California action against Postle gained enormous exposure through mainstream outlets such as ESPN’s “SportsCenter”, which featured announcer Scott Van Pelt briefly dissecting the claims against Postle before an audience of millions.
Cordeiro herself was shocked by the lawsuit’s appearance on TMZ:
Nevada links allow for separate legal action
Several elements in this filing appear to have paved the way for Cordeiro to file her claim in Nevada, rather than in California, where the alleged cheating occurred.
First, according to the complaint, Cordeiro was well aware of the growing popularity of the “Stones Live!” webcasts. However, in a section titled “Ms. Cordeiro Lured Into Playing with the Defendant,” the lawsuit alleges that Cordeiro was among many who were deceived into thinking the “Stones Live!” games were on the up-and-up.
“As a member of the poker community,” the filing states, "Ms. Cordeiro regularly consumes online poker content, and became familiar with the Stones Live Poker broadcasts – and Mr. Postle as the Stones Live Poker “local celebrity” – while at home in Nevada. [ ] While in Nevada, she was invited to travel to Stones’ facility in Citrus Heights, California, to partake in one of the Stones Live Poker broadcasts.”
This represents an alleged case of interstate wire fraud, thus laying the groundwork for Cordeiro to file in Nevada, her home state. Four other specific claims were made against Postle: a violation of the US’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, negligent misrepresentation, and two claims of negligence per se. Cordeiro participated in the “Stones Live!” broadcast on September 21, 2019, the last of 68 separate sessions featuring Postle in which cheating is alleged to have occurred.
Second, this lawsuit introduces curious behavior attributed to Postle beyond the alleged cheating at the Stones Gambling Hall. The complaint alleges that Postle made multiple, extended trips to casinos in Reno, Nevada, just a couple of hours from Sacramento, yet barely played poker there, despite Reno’s multiple and popular poker rooms.
The inclusion alludes to the statement by ESPN’s Van Pelt that it was nonsensical to believe that Postle wouldn’t seek to play elsewhere besides the “Stones Live!” broadcasts, if he really had such a skill advantage over his foes and achieved his massive win rates legitimately. Instead, if records indeed show Postle to have visited Reno often and gambled at length in games other than poker, it will imply the opposite: that Postle played only at Stone because the games were rigged. Expect a subpoena of Postle’s loyalty-rewards records from multiple Reno casinos as this case moves forward.
Lawsuit draws quick attention across poker world
Other well-known poker players were quick to comment on the Cordeiro filing. Veronica Brill, the lead plaintiff in the California case, offered this take:
Brill played in and served as an occasional commentator for the “Stones Live!” games. She took her concerns about Postle’s alleged cheating public last autumn after being rebuffed privately by Stones management. Other Twitter posters commented on potential legal difficulties for the case, though many just touched on the notoriety of Cordeiro and Postle being featured on TMZ:
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