Leon Tsoukernik and Matt Kirk Settle $2m Poker Debt

Last year, Australian poker pro Matt Kirk accused Kings Casino Rozvadov owner Leon Tsoukernik of failing to pay up on a $2 million poker debt. Tsoukernik allegedly borrowed $2 million during a high-stakes duel with Kirk and lost the money. He then refused to pay back the loan afterward.

Kirk filed a lawsuit against Tsoukernik in pursuit of the money. But luckily, the two sides have settled the debt out of court and are both happy with the result.

What Sparked Kirk’s Poker Lawsuit?

This dispute first arose in May 2017, when Kirk and Tsoukernik played each other in a high-stakes poker game at the ARIA. The casino owner was drinking heavily and losing to his more-skilled opponent. Tsoukernik, who didn’t have enough cash on him at the time, borrowed millions more from Kirk to keep the match going.

Kirk ended the game with a $3 million profit, but he only saw $1 million of the amount initially. Seeking the remaining $2 million, he filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Clark County court.

A judge originally ruled that the verbal gambling debt didn’t count as an enforceable contract. Kirk then filed another suit against Tsoukernik for “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.”

Tsoukernik Blamed ARIA and Kirk

Tsoukernik believed that he was a victim in the case. He filed a countersuit against Kirk for $10 million. The document blamed two parties:

1) The ARIA for serving him too much alcohol.
2) Kirk for taking advantage of the situation.

Tsoukernik’s lawsuit alleged that he’d “been harmed and has suffered, among other things, damages, pain and suffering, humiliation, and emotional distress, in excess of $10 million.” A judge quickly dismissed the countersuit.

PartyPoker Big Game may Have Hastened Resolution

Both Tsoukernik and Kirk played in the PartyPoker Big Game at Montreal’s Playground Casino last month. And this likely sped up a resolution to their dispute.

They met before the Big Game to settle the debt for an undisclosed amount. A TwoPlusTwo thread notes that they made up and came to a mutual agreement.

Once the debt was cleared, Tsoukernik and Kirk got a chance to compete against each other in a $100/$200 NL hold’em game and $4k/$8k PLO game. Tsoukernick fared very well by winning $3.5 million from his opponents. This included taking down a $763,000 pot against Sam Trickett. Kirk, meanwhile, was a big loser in the game after dropping $4.7 million.

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