NorCal Casino Ambassador
By Randall Rapp
Before we get to the meat of the issue here, I would first like to point out (for those that didn’t notice up top) that yours truly has officially been upgraded from your Poker Ambassador to all-around Casino Ambassador.
“After more than 15 years at this job it’s about time I got a promotion,” I said when I asked myself about the change in title. “There is still no money, and greater responsibility, but I will wear this mantle with all the pride, seriousness and self-indulgence that I have always brought to this forum.”
If you are wondering how much this monumental change will affect the product that you receive, the answer is a definitive: very little. We’re just branching out a bit from strictly poker coverage to comprehensive casino reporting and thought the title here should reflect that.
So, relax. All is as it should be and will continue to be.
That said, we interrupt this column to report on something that typically would be in our Casino News section, but at the late date it showed up in our in box, this was the only space left available. So, I bumped myself out of my own spot.
If I could just figure out to whom I should complain they would receive a very stern talking to.
This just in
In case you didn’t know, Stones Gambling Hall ran a regularly scheduled streamed poker game called Stones Live for a few years. Last fall, allegations were made that one of the players, Mike Postle, was cheating. He won too much and in virtually impossible ways.
The poker world’s cognoscenti landed on the topic, then analyzed, parsed, dismantled and scrutinized every second of the hours and hours of Stones Live video available on the internet. The overwhelming majority of these experts decided that Postle must be a big fat cheater and the vitriol spewed his way was rather intense.
Because no criminal charges were pending or likely to be filed, next came the inevitable lawsuit. Attorney Maurice VerStandig filed it on behalf of 25 individuals (now up to 88) on Oct. 8, 2019, naming Stones Gambling Hall, Mike Postle, Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis, and several John and Jane Does as defendants.
The suit seeks damages against the defendants of anywhere between $10 million and $55 million, depending on who is doing the reporting. I’m still not sure on the number, so I will stick with calling it a jillion dollars.
Among many other things, the complaint said they, “conspired with Mr. Postle to cheat at the game of poker … worked to conceal Mr. Postle’s cheating … suppressed allegations of Mr. Postle’s cheating … installed or implemented electronic devices to be utilized by Mr. Postle while cheating at the game of poker,” and “altered broadcast graphics so as to make Mr. Postle’s cheating behavior less evident.”
Further evidence it cites says that Postle recorded wins in over 94 percent of the Stones Live games he participated in and recorded an average profit of more than 60 big blinds per hour, while five per hour is a worthy goal, 10 per hour is exceptional, and 25 per hour “stratospherically phenomenal.”
Stones was primarily charged with “lackadaisical security” and Kuraitis with allaying people’s suspicions of cheating.
On page 1 of this issue, we have a report on the ongoing lawsuit (Postle lawsuit continues) and the plaintiff’s difficulty serving the appropriate legal papers to Postle. Then, on March 5, just before we went to press, The Sacramento Bee reported that Kings Casino LLC (the parent company of Stones Gambling Hall) filed a motion with a federal judge to have the lawsuit dismissed.
The motion claims that, “This lawsuit reflects the oldest complaint of gamblers—that their lack of success means they were cheated.” It goes on to make other claims, such as, “Stones had no stake in who won money or lost money in the poker games. All Stones did was to provide a venue for the poker game. … Plaintiffs decided whether they wanted to play, for how long, how much to bet, and in which hands to participate.
“Plaintiffs do not allege that Stones benefited from Mr. Postle’s alleged cheating. No ill-gotten profits or sinister motivations are imputed to Stones. … Plaintiffs even tacitly concede that cheating by players harms Stones’ business and reputation. It is confounding that Plaintiffs now sue Stones rather than seeking its assistance in their shared goal of preventing cheating in poker.”
In a recent statement, Stones claimed, “We have found no evidence that indicates there was cheating in the games in question. Stones is confident that it will prevail in this unwarranted lawsuit.”
VerStandig was quoted by The Bee as saying, “I find it regrettable that they have elected to portray my clients as sore or otherwise frustrated losers, but we look forward to responding to their legal contentions through the judicial process and will do so in due course.”
The Bee also reported that court files show that Postle is currently representing himself and that he has until March 24 to file his response under an agreement with the plaintiffs.
Lawyers for Stones have asked for a hearing on their dismissal motion on April 16.
So, there you have it. Our legal system at work. Why do I have this overwhelming desire to either vigorously wash my hands or grab someone by the lapels, shake them, and shout, “I know you are, but what am I?”