Gordon Vayo thought he was in for a big payday after winning $692,461 in a 2017 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) event. But PokerStars has been withholding the money under grounds that Vayo violated their terms by playing from the US.
The online poker pro has filed a lawsuit against the world’s largest poker site in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Vayo claims that he actually won the event from Canada, and PokStars is acting in bad faith.
He offered the following statement:
“I am deeply disappointed it has come to this, but feel that taking legal action is necessary to protect my rights as well as those of other PokerStars players who are in my situation, but may not have the means to get their message out and protect themselves against the unwarranted bullying tactics that I have experienced during this ordeal.”
Vayo Accused of Winning SCOOP Event from LA
Vayo is a Los Angeles-based poker pro who’s won over $6.23 million in live tournaments along with another $2.43 million in online poker tournaments. He took down the PokerStars SCOOP-01-H: $1,050 NLHE Phased event last spring. The top payout was $1 million, but he worked out a five-way deal beforehand that paid him $692k.
Vayo lives part-time in Ottawa, Canada so he can play at PokerStars and other large sites that are off limits to Americans. But Stars believes that he may have used a virtual private network (VPN) to play from his LA home.
The 2016 WSOP Main Event runner-up, meanwhile, claims that he was indeed playing from Ottawa. Unlike Americans, Canadians are still welcome at PokerStars. The poker site states that they conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that he was using a VPN.
Vayo Claims PokerStars Harassed Him During Investigation
The 29-year-old’s civil suit claims that PokerStars froze his account on grounds of suspicious activity. They then launched an intrusive investigation that may have crossed the lines of harassment. Here’s more from the lawsuit:
“What ensued was a nearly year-long inquest, during which Defendant engaged in an appalling campaign of harassment, prying into every aspect of Mr. Vayo’s record, demanding Mr. Vayo produce detailed retroactive proof of his location, and even opening meritless investigations into his friends’ accounts, in order to gin up a pretext for not paying Mr. Vayo what he had won.”