Leon Tsoukernik Files Amended Countersuit Against Matt Kirk Alleging Conspiracy with Aria to Suck Whales Dry

3 min read

Instead of paying Aussie Matt Kirk back the $3 million he borrowed during a 2017 late-night poker session at Aria in Las Vegas, King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik has filed a second countersuit against the poker player who loaned him the money.

Leon Tsoukernik Matt Kirk
Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik continues to refuse to pay back the $2 million owed to fellow poker player Matt Kirk. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

Yes, you read that right. The person who borrowed money, and casino surveillance cameras and text messages prove the accuracy of that statement, is suing the individual who loaned him the cash for, get this, conspiring with the casino (Aria) against him to get him drunk and take advantage of his “extreme fatigue.”

Tsoukernik, who owns the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, a popular European poker destination, borrowed $3 million in chips from Kirk during a 2017 cash game session in Ivey’s Room at Aria. He only paid back $1 million and has since refused to pay the remaining $2 million balance.

Kirk filed a lawsuit against the visiting casino owner in Clark County Court last fall. In February, Tsoukernik filed a $10 million countersuit against Aussie Matt, alleging defamation of character, but that countersuit was thrown out by an unconvinced judge.

Despite presenting evidence that included video surveillance showing the plaintiff passing Tsoukernik $3 million in chips, the judge ruled the transaction was an “unenforceable gambling debt.” However, she left open the possibility that Kirk could recoup the $2 million (and then some) if he can prove “fraudulent inducement” or “unjust enrichment.”

Back to Drawing Board

The judge who threw out Tsoukernik’s countersuit ordered him to pay Kirk’s legal fees. In response, the casino owner’s attorneys filed a counterclaim asserting that “additional facts” mandated that “any final award of attorney’s fees based on Kirk’s motion to dismiss should await a final determination of this matter after discovery, further motion practice, and trial.”

Tsoukernik’s attorneys are also asking the court to revisit the $10 million countersuit on grounds of the Aria casino and Kirk conspiring against their client.

Tsoukernik claims MGM Resorts executive Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 WSOP Main Event champion and a regular cash game player in Ivey’s Room, staked Kirk to play against the high-stakes sharks and, therefore, he was being conspired against.

The original countersuit claimed that Baldwin’s affiliation with the Aria and alleged relationship to Kirk is proof of some massive conspiracy to get Tsoukernik’s money. If you think that argument seems a bit silly, you likely aren’t the only one.

Damaged Reputation

Tsoukernik has a reputation to uphold, given he owns a casino, although it appears that doesn’t concern him. Many poker players have publicly demanded the casino owner repay Kirk to no avail.

Leon’s King’s Casino in Rozvadov will play host to the WSOP Europe series in October for the second consecutive year. His casino also has a sponsored high stakes poker lounge that will be available to high rollers this summer at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Tsoukernik doesn’t always practice what he preaches. During the 2017 $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl at Aria, a tournament he competed in, he called for Justin Bonomo to be banned from future televised events for failing to show his hole cards to the cameras. Leon claimed Bonomo is “bad for the game” when interviewed during the PokerGO livestream.

It’s a sentiment that might carry some weight from a fellow player who wasn’t refusing to pay back 67 percent of a $3 million loan.

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