It still hurts, but poker pro Joe Stiers decided to settle with Caesars and move on.
Stiers made headlines in 2017 when he was kicked out of the prestigious WSOP Main Event at the height of the game, with a massive chip stack allegedly worth $150,000. This happened due to the fact that he was found to be playing under a pseudonym. Prior to that, the poker player was banned from all Caesars properties in 2015 when he was discovered counting cards playing blackjack at Horseshoe Baltimore – a casino owned by Caesars.
Defying the Ban
However, in the two years that followed, Stiers defied the ban and was able to take part in the WSOP by registering under the alias “Joseph Conorstiers”. He landed the 640th spot in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, winning $18,000. He pursued his poker career using a pseudonym, but his journey was cut short at Day 3 of the 2017 Main Event when security at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino pulled him out of the premises. At that time, Stiers, who played poker for a living, had 565,000 in chips, worth well over 200 big blinds.
The winner of the 2019 WSOP Main event ended up taking home over $8 million in prize money.
Stiers Lawsuit
After being hit with a ban from Caesars Entertainment valid across all their properties, Stiers tried to make amends by sending letters to the company and offering to prohibit himself from all games, except poker. He asked for an exemption to be made to the ban so that he could still be allowed to join poker tournaments hosted by Caesar-owned properties, but Stiers didn’t get a favorable response. Desperate, he obtained a new player’s card and continued playing using an alias as he wanted to make a living playing poker.
Believing he was treated unfairly, Stiers lodged a lawsuit against Caesars in a federal court in Nevada on June 8, 2018, accusing the company of forcing him to sacrifice a stable and lucrative poker career through their ban. He was seeking a refund of the $10,000 Main Event buy-in as well as the $150,000 equity he claimed he had at the time he was forced out of the tournament.
As a result of the 2017 incident, Stiers said he went back to school with not enough money. Caesars fought back by saying that the damages sought by Stiers were speculative, unreasonable and hypothetical. The corporate giant then sought to dismiss the case with prejudice.
Time to Move On
After that embarrassing day at the 2017 WSOP Main Event, Stiers tried to put it behind him and went back to his normal everyday life, and decided to go to law school. As much as he wanted to continue the legal fight with Caesars, Stiers doesn’t think he will still be able to find the time and effort to attend to the case, given the busy days ahead of him in trying to earn his law degree. The poker pro also wanted to focus his attention on the upcoming bar exam in July.
Incident Still Hurts
The wound has not completely healed yet for Stiers, as the thought of ending his poker career still gives him a sad feeling. He was forced to abandon a huge stack and leave something that could have become a life-changing journey for him and his poker dream. Stiers who has over $600,000 in live cashes under his belt, isn’t quite sure whether he would be able to play live poker again.
There was the option for him to forget playing at all Caesars properties and instead played cash games and other poker tournaments not related with Caesars. However, his big poker goal was to play at the prestigious WSOP and win a coveted WSOP bracelet. He admits that he wasn’t playing poker entirely for the money.
The WSOP gave Stiers the opportunity to play against the best players in the world, which was definitely a fulfilling experience for him. But now he may never have the chance to do it again. A Caesars representative confirmed Stiers will still be banned from its properties, despite reaching a settlement.
Stiers chose to represent himself in his fight against Caesars. He decided to reach a settlement as he thought it best to put this behind him and have a fresh start to his law career. He hopes his law degree will one day be able to help someone who ends up in a spot similar to what he found himself in.
Both Stiers and Caesars signed a confidentiality agreement which means that the terms of the settlement cannot be revealed publicly.

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