French Court: Rick Salomon Can’t Collect $2.8m Poker Debt

A French court has ruled against poker pro Rick Salomon in a case involving a poker debt. Salomon was hoping to collect a $2.8 million debt from a Saudi businessman.

Salomon’s legal team argued that Raad al-Khereiji lost big to the poker pro in 2014. Khereiji and Salmon played against each other at the Tiara Miramar Beach resort in Cannes.

Old Law Crushes Salomon’s Case

Most evidence went against Khereiji. Several poker players testified that they heard the businessman promise to transfer the money to his opponent.

Later, Khereiji’s attorney contacted Salomon and said that his client wouldn’t be paying the debt. Khereiji allegedly believed that the Texas hold’em game was friendly rather than for profit.

More importantly, a French law from 1804 notes that (private) gambling debts can only be collected when they’re:

“Involving weapons, foot or horse racing, chariot races, tennis, and other games of the sort which involves physical skill and exercise.”

Poker isn’t a physical contest. Therefore, the judge ruled that Khereiji didn’t have to pay up. The businessman’s attorney, Paul-Albert Iweins, continued explaining the ruling as follows:

“The only explanation is that his request was contrary to law. There was an infinitely small chance of winning.

“Even supposing there was such a debt, which my client totally contests, you cannot pursue someone in France for a gambling debt, full stop.”

Salomon May Appeal

Rick Salomon did get a small victory, because he doesn’t have to pay Khereiji’s legal fees. However, he’s still not happy about the ruling.

He plans to use evidence that Khereiji has lost $34 million at Aria’s poker room. This evidence could show that Khereiji indeed understands friendly and competitive forms of gambling.

Ronald Sokol, Salomon’s attorney, plans to go quite far in defending his client.

“We are considering taking this all the way to the French supreme court as the French rule on gambling debts has been in effect since 1804,” he said. “There has been no case law since in the civil courts.”

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