Leon Tsoukernik, the owner of the popular King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic just finished hosting a successful World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) event. The King’s Casino owner is involved in a high-profile lawsuit with Australian VIP poker player Matthew Kirk over a $3 million dispute that Kirk is alleged to have loaned Tsoukernik in May 2017.
Where The Trouble Started
The two players were rather pally when they sat at a Ivey Room poker table on May 27 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. They were involved in a high-stakes poker tournament and Tsoukernik wasn’t doing very well. He is alleged to have borrowed money from Kirk who lent him a total of $3 million in the form of chips. Kirk says that he slid across chips in slabs of $1 million and $500k and would later send a series of text messages to Tsoukernik’s phone detailing the breakup of the amount loaned which was acknowledged by Tsoukernik.
Tsoukernik lost the $3 million in little over an hour and things became difficult when Kirk tried to collect the amount he was owed. Apparently Kirk was only able to collect $1 million and the remaining $2 million is still outstanding as Tsoukernik has refused to pay. The two of them have tried on a couple of occasions to work out their misunderstandings and come to a mutual agreement and sought the help of a mutual acquaintance Rob Yong.
Young is a respected casino operator but even with his intervention the two of them were unable to reach an agreement. Kirk filed a lawsuit against Tsoukernik alleging that when he loaned Tsoukernik the $3 million it wasn’t part of a gambling deal but part of a business deal – which he now refuses to honour. Kirk lost the battle to prove that it was a business deal and not a gambling debt when District Judge Linda Marie Bell cut out those allegations in October and ruled it as a gambling debt.
Leon Tsoukernik’s Counter
Tsoukernik has filed a counter claim suggesting that Aria Resort & Casino along with Matthew Kirk took advantage of him by urging him to continue to play even though they could clearly see that he had too much to drink and wasn’t fully aware of what was happening at the table. Tsoukernik says that at one point of time he was so drunk that he was misreading his cards and finding it hard to count his chips at the table. He alleges that he had to rely on Kirk and Aria staff to help him count his chips because he was highly intoxicated.
In a statement, Tsoukernik said “As a casino operator, I feel it is my obligation to never allow a patron to be treated as I was and to alert the poker community of the risks they take in situations like mine. I believe that my response shines light on some of the unethical practices that target poker players. It would be easy to remain silent and make a business decision but too much has been said and too much damage has been done for me to keep quiet.”
Tsoukernik also claims that some of the other players who seen how intoxicated he was tried to help him leave the table but he was prevented from doing so by casino employees. Kirk had lashed out publically at Tsoukernik and called him a fraud for not paying back the money that he was loaned
Tsoukernik has filed a counter lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages stating that Kirk had damaged his reputation with his string of accusations. Tsoukernik has also called into question Kirk’s financial dealings by stating that he did not have enough funds to play at the high-roller game and alleged that Kirk had undisclosed financial backers that vested interests in what happened during the high stakes game. The Hendon Mob lists the Australian poker player’s earnings at $187,000 and ranks him in 244th place on Australia’s all-time money list.
The legal representatives of Kirk has stated that they are in the process of preparing a motion to dismiss the counterclaim and would continue to seek legal recourse to recover the $2 million. MGM Resorts which owns the Aria Resort has decided not to comment on the legal proceedings.

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