Mike Postle Refuses Court Summons in Cheating Case
The incident and ensuing legal action involving poker pro Mike Postle took the poker world by storm in October 2019. And as court documents show, the drama continues into 2020.
What started as cheating allegations on livestreamed poker games at a California card room turned into a massive lawsuit. With the legal process still in its initial stages, it is clear that Postle is not prepared to face the charges or even accept paperwork from the court.
It is going to be a long ordeal.
It All Started with Unusual Poker Play
Stones Gambling Hall is a card room in Sacramento, California. Poker players frequented the cash game tables, one of which was regularly featured on a livestream and became quite popular. Mike Postle, a longtime poker pro, was a frequent player in the livestreamed games.
Veronica Brill, another regular at the Stones games and a live poker commentator for the livestream, began noticing Postle’s unconventional play. Her concerns grew over time as she believed that there may have been something nefarious in the works.
Brill’s concerns were dismissed by Stones’ staff, especially Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis, who oversaw the livestreams. The remarkable win rate of Postle via odd plays was dismissed as Postle’s diligent study of the game and good instincts.
When Brill finally took her concerns to Twitter and YouTuber Joey Ingram, more information came to light. The subsequent responses from the poker community – and even ESPN’s SportsCenter and CNBC – were damning.
All of the evidence from analysis of the livestreams seemed to point to one conclusion: Postle cheated.
Big thanks to @notthefakeSVP for doing such a great job explaining the Postle situation on Sportscenter in a way that anyone can understand. I appreciate the shout out for the investigation. Hopefully we get to the bottom of this soon.@Angry_Polak @haralabob @BarstoolNate pic.twitter.com/3pf6QJnXSI
— Joey Ingram 🤙🏻🤙🏻 (@Joeingram1) October 5, 2019
A Lawsuit Quickly Followed
Considering the poker community includes a wide array of players from all walks of life, it was no surprise that poker players who were also attorneys stepped up to the plate to represent Brill. Many players who were victimized by what they claim was unethical and illegal play also stepped up to be included in legal action against Postle, Kuraitis, and Stones.
Poker player and gambling attorney Mac VerStandig believed the victims from the start and spearheaded a lawsuit. He and fellow poker pro and attorney Kelly Minkin formed a group of attorneys that filed suit in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of California on October 8, 2019. The plaintiffs included Brill and 24 other poker players
The allegations were serious:
–1. Racketeering (violation of federal Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization Act) – against Postle and all Does (generic reference to anyone else found to be involved)
–2. Fraud – against Postle and all Does
–3. Negligent misrepresentation – against all defendants
–4. Negligence per se (as causing damage to plaintiffs) – against Postle and all Does
–5. Unjust enrichment – against Postle
–6. Negligence – against Stones and Kuraitis
–7. Constructive fraud (via unfair methods) – against Stones
–8. Fraud – against Stones and Kuraitis
–9. Libel – against Stones
The multi-million-dollar lawsuit charged that Postle used “one or more electronic devices for purposes of cheating” and that others at Stones helped and/or covered it up. It all took place from approximately July 18, 2018 through September 21, 2019.
Postle profited more than $250,000 during that time.
Most of the documents filed with the court through the remainder of 2019 were notices of appearance and details. One extended the time for some of the defendants to respond to the complaint, such as extending the date for King’s Casino’s response to February 5, 2020.
Some of the most interesting documents were filed in the first week of 2020.
One was the order that the initial pretrial scheduling be amended to allow for discovery within 30 days of the last defendant filing an answer. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. signed it.
From that document, though, it became apparent that Postle had not yet been served with court documents as of December 9, 2019.
Poker World: “You have been served.”
Mike Postle: “New phone, who dis?”
— davo2323 (@davo2323) January 8, 2020
VerStandig filed a document on January 3. It stated the following:
–A local process server tried to serve the defendant at his home on December 19, 22, 24, 29, and 30, and January 2.
–VerStandig spoke with William Portanova, who stated in October media interviews that he represented Postle. He said he would confer with his client, who he represented as a criminal defense attorney but not in the civil matter.
–Portanova then stopped responding to VerStandig.
–VerStandig personally tried to serve Postle at his California home on January 3. After eight minutes of knocking and ringing the doorbell, he returned to his car despite lights being on in the house, a car in the driveway, and noises heard in the house.
–VerStandig monitored the house from his car and saw a male appearing to be Postle in the house. After again knocking and receiving no answer, VerStandig placed the summons and complaint between the security door and front door.
This series of attempts and efforts led VerStandig to deduce “the defendant to be actively engaged in the avoidance of service.”
A subsequent document filed on January 9 with the court noted that VerStandig mailed a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant. The judge must now decide if the serving of the documents was sufficient and that the case can move forward.
My first scoop of 2020, and it's a Mike Postle update: https://t.co/34XXHqwqxW
— Haley Hintze (@Haley_Hintze) January 8, 2020