High-Stakes Poker Tournament Regular Dan Shak Fined $750,000 for Trade Violations

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High-stakes tournament poker regular Dan Shak made a deal with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for $750,000 — or $214,000 less than what he won playing tournament poker since December — after facing accusations he manipulated the gold and silver futures market.

Dan Shak
Dan Shak, PokerGO Tour champion, has settled with the Feds. (Image: PokerGO)

The deal closed an investigation by the Federal commission, “resolving CFTC charges that Daniel Shak of Las Vegas, Nevada engaged in spoofing and in a manipulative and deceptive scheme in the gold and silver futures markets,” according the CFTC.

Shak admits no wrongdoing, but, as per the deal, he is not able to deny that he manipulated the gold and silver market “hundreds” of times over three years starting in 2015 by “spoofing.”

According to the CFTC, spoofing is “bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution—while placing orders for and trading gold and silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange.”

The CFTC’s press release has the details:

“On hundreds of occasions, Shak entered large orders for gold or silver futures he intended to cancel before execution, while placing orders on the opposite side of the gold or silver futures market.

By placing the spoof orders, Shak intentionally or recklessly sent false signals of increased supply or demand that were designed to trick market participants into executing against orders on the opposite side of the market, which he actually wanted filled.

Shak’s spoof orders allowed him to fill orders on the opposite side of the market sooner, at a better price, and/or in larger quantities than he otherwise would.”

He is also permanently banned from trading commodities on the CFTC.

This isn’t Shak’s first time the CFTC accused Shak of angle-shooting the market.

In 2013, the CFTC fined Shak and his management companies $400,000 for attempting to manipulate Light Sweet Crude Oil futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2008. He was also permanently banned from trading Crude Oil, and was banned for two years for trading anything regulated by the CFTC.

In 2015, Shak was ordered by a Federal judge to pay another $100,000 for violating that order.

Shak responds

Shak is an avid poker player who has been playing high-stakes poker tournaments for nearly 20 years. He is a mainstay on the PokerGO Tour, often cashing in tournaments with buy-ins of $10,000 or more.

He’s already cashed in seven PGT events with one victory in 2024, and he won more than a half-milly in a $26,000 Pot Limit Omaha event at the World Series of Poker Paradise in December for finishing second.

Here’s what Shak said via the strategic communication firm Reevemark:

“While I am confident I could have prevailed at trial, I have concluded the right decision for my family and me is to resolve this matter with no admission of wrongdoing and without the cost, delay, and distraction of protracted litigation.

As part of finalizing the settlement, the CFTC required that I not deny their allegations, but I also do not admit them. I was an active trader making millions of trades per year, and the CFTC’s allegations relate to a small fraction of trades that allegedly occurred from 2015 to 2018. 

After 45 years as a member in good standing on the exchanges, and having retired nearly two years ago, now is the right time to put this matter behind me, pursue other opportunities, and avoid litigation costs that would far exceed the fine I am paying.”

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