Online Players Sue Mike Postle & Stones Gambling for $10M

Online Players Sue Mike Postle & Stones Gambling for $10M

On Tuesday, 25 poker players filed a $10 million lawsuit against fellow player Mike Postle, Stones Gambling Hall — located just outside of Sacramento in Citrus Heights, California — and Stones Tournament Director Justin Kuratis, along with several other unnamed defendants.

The complaint describes nine counts against Stones Gambling Hall, Postle, Kuratis, and the unnamed defendants, either jointly or as singular assertions, including RICO violation (conspiracy), fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and libel.

The lead attorney in the lawsuit is Maurice “Mac” VerStandig, a poker player who once played against Postle. The suit covers 68 live poker games played by the accused from July 2018 to September 2019 and accuses Postle of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow players.”

A Near-Impossible Poker Win Rate

For years, Mike Postle won a large percentage of poker games on “Stones Live,” the casino’s live poker game streamed on Twitch and YouTube, becoming the most successful poker player in the broadcast’s four-year history.

The suit states that Postle won 94% of his games at Stones from July 18, 2018 and that Stones Poker made up “various graphics portraying Mr. Postle as a deity-like individual imbued with omniscient powers (with one such graphic conflating an image of Mr. Postle and an image of Jesus Christ.)”

Postle’s enormous rate of success was enough to draw doubt from numerous poker players and experts, including fellow player and former Stones Live commentator Veronica Brill, who has commentated on many of Postle’s games and also has sat across from him as a competitor.

What drew Brill’s suspicion was the way Postle won most of his hands; Postle would often fold on hands that most professionals would play and played hands that most would fold on.

Though the parties hope to find hard evidence in the discovery phase of the trial, all the evidence against the accused poker cheater is based on circumstance. However, evidence beyond circumstantial isn’t required for a civil suit; the accusers only need to show that there is more than a 50 percent chance that the allegations are true.

RFID Data Possibly Used for Cheating

The lawsuit states that the alleged cheating methods involve Postle’s cell phone possibly receiving RFID (radio-frequency identification) data. Poker broadcasts use cards with RFID, which are used to send real-time card value information to commentators.

Stones Gambling Hall often broadcasts games with a 30-minute delay. So, if RFID information was sent to Postle’s phone, he would need the assistance from someone on the production team.

The complaint says that Postle’s cell phone was “being grasped by his left hand while concealed under the poker table and/or Mr Postle’s baseball cap being imbedded with a communications device creating an artificial bulge in its lining (that is notably absent in photographs of the same baseball cap on Mr Postle when he is not playing on Stones Live Poker).”

Poker professional Matt Berkey stated that Postle has a win rate 10 times what the best players in the world could be expected to win in the same games, CNBC reported. Berkley said Postle performed “as if he had perfect information.”

Many players also find it suspicious that Postle would stop playing poker as soon as the broadcast ended. Furthermore, it appears that Postle never entered a high-stakes poker game despite his win rate.

On its Twitter account, Stones Gambling Hall initially said the accusations that Postle cheated were false. Since then, Stones has launched its own investigation. For the time being, the casino is no longer airing live poker games and have halted the use of RFID playing cards.

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