Brandon Steven has been sentenced to probation for his part in an illegal gambling ring. In a court appearance on June 18, the poker playing Wichita businessman entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of transmission of wagering information.
The charge can be punishable by a one-year maximum prison sentence, but Steven was instead given three years’ probation and 200 hours of community service by US Magistrate Judge Gwen Birzer. He admitted his involvement in running illegal private poker games with co-defendant Daven Flax, who earlier this year also pleaded guilty to operating illegal poker games in the Wichita area.
Details of the Case
Steven and his cohorts operated these illicit games by sending text message notifications to participants, containing details about the payment and collection of money. In his plea petition submitted on Tuesday, Steven admitted to hiding computerized records and handwritten ledgers that detailed earnings, gambling credits, obligations and other important information in relation to the illegal gambling business, thus effectively concealing the involvement of Flax and other players and preventing them from facing apprehension, trial or punishment.
Steven avoided a fine, but according to his attorney, the businessman had already made nearly $1.1 million in payment to the US Marshal’s Office. The amount was said to be the proceeds from the crimes committed, prior to his sentencing. Last month, Flax was sentenced to two years probation in relation to the case. He also agreed to forfeit $117,000 for his role in the scheme.
Due to his guilty plea and cooperation with the investigation, Steven will no longer face any charges in connection to the illegal gambling case.
Steven runs a number of car dealerships and gyms in the Wichita area along with his brother. The siblings also own three minor league hockey franchises. However in 2015, Steven ventured into the casino industry, and pursued a casino license for the southeastern part of the state. He, his brother, and 16 other investors submitted a proposal for a Vegas-style casino to be built near the borders with Missouri and Oklahoma.
Steven’s casino pursuit was unsuccessful as state officials decided to go for a smaller proposal for the town of Pittsburg.
In February 2017, Steven revealed he was placed under federal surveillance, claiming one of his phone lines was wire-tapped between the period of May and June 2015. While it’s unclear whether that led to the illegal gambling investigation into Flax, court documents show that Steven acted in cooperation with Flax from December 2016 to February 2017.
Steven’s WSOP Gold Bracelet Quest
Steven revealed he decided to accept the plea deal because he wanted to put the case behind him and move forward. Steven thinks it’s the best decision for his family and his career, as he plans to continue playing poker.
The 45-year-old said he will try to fulfill his promise to his kids made back in 2010. He promised them that he would one day win a WSOP gold bracelet. He hasn’t played at the WSOP for the last two years but confirmed that now that the case is over, he will show up at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) which is currently in full swing at the Rio. Having missed the first half of the festival’s 50th edition, Steven plans to head to Vegas to make the second half of the series.
Steven’s live poker tournament earnings currently sit at $3,196,690, placing him at the top of the all-time money listings for Kansas residents. Among his greatest accomplishments at the felt include a 10th place finish in the 2019 WSOP $10,000 Main Event in which he won $635,011. In 2013, Steven secured the fifth spot in the $25,500 WPT World Championship for $223,203. He also earned $621,180 following a 7th place win in the $111,111 No Limit Hold’em One Drop High Roller.
He won big in 2016 having cashed for $384,425 in the $111,111 No Limit Hold’em One Drop High Roller, followed by a first-place victory in a $50K Super High Roller at Aria which gave him his best career score of $648,000. The high stakes poker pros will be keen on playing the remaining WSOP bracelet events left at the Rio.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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