Aussie High Stakes Player Matt Kirk Sues Leon Tsourkernik over $2,000,000 Debt

A major scandal was brought to the attention of the poker community yesterday morning after a newly created account on the 2+2 poker forums going by the name of 'throaway4545' posted images of legal papers filed in the County of Clark in Nevada by famed Las Vegas Attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld acting on behalf of Australian high stakes pro Matthew Kirk (better known to many as simply 'Aussie Matt'), showing a civil summons served to Czech casino owner Leon Tsourkernik, with Kirk claiming that the Kings Casino owner is refusing to pay him back a personal loan of some $2,000,000.

According to the documents, Tsourkernik and Kirk had been playing a high stakes heads-up cash game at the Aria in the early hours of May 27th with Tsourkernik apparently funding his game with repeated loans from Kirk. It is alleged that Kirk made four loans to Tsourkernik between 4.34am and 5.46am in the amounts of $500,000, $500,000, $1,000,000 and $1,000,000. It is claimed that Kirk had agreed to the loans on the basis that Tsourkernik would repay him at the conclusion of the match.

After losing the match the documents say that Tsourkernik was unwilling to repay his debt, although after repeated demands from Kirk, Tsourkernik did make a part-payment of $1,000,000 a week later on June 3rd, since when he has refused to pay any further contributions to the $2m outstanding on the loans.

Although $3m seems a huge amount to loan any player, the documents detail how Tsourkernik had won $1,500,000 from Kirk the previous day and had received the equivalent amount in poker chips from Kirk. Apparently, despite being the winner in that game, Tsourkernki allegedly "used that prior experience with Plaintiff [Kirk] as a basis upon which to convince the Plaintiff that he could have trust in the Defendant that he would in fact repay the loans as represented." As the owner of the famous Kings Casino, Rozvadov, home to Europe's biggest poker room, Tsourkernik is certainly not short of a million or two that's for sure.

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Above: Leon Tsourkernik at the poker table

Kirk claims that not only does he have records of the loans made by text message, but also that video evidence from the Aria poker room available to back up his claims.

This is not the first time Leon Tsourkernik has been accused of refusing to repay huge cash game debts. Two years ago a story emerged that Tsourkernik had welched on a debt of some €3 million from a big private game during 2015's EPT Barcelona. Details of that particular story can be read here at Pokertube.com

Although the clerk of the court's date stamp shows June 16th, it looks like the papers were filed, or at least prepared on 5th June, meaning that Kirk went ahead with legal action just two days after receiving $1,000,000 from Tsourkernik, and little over a week from lending the money in the first place.

Since the matter went public another new 2+2 account going by the screen name "FabRicSing" has posted a short entry on the forum, apparently on behalf of Tsourkernik and his people. It says:

"We are releasing a statement on behalf of Leon Tsoukernik in order to address the issue raised in this forum.

While Leon will not comment on the specific issues raised in this thread because there is an ongoing litigation where he is represented by counsel, he would like to ensure everyone that he will provide a detailed explanation of this dispute upon its final determination.

Leon is not currently in the United States due to business obligations but is looking forward to returning to Las Vegas on July 1st in order to play in the Poker Players Championship, followed by the Main Event. He has a lot of respect for the American legal system and a lot of confidence that justice will prevail.

He would like to thank those who are familiar with the facts and circumstances for their strong support."

Whatever the reality of the situation, it's certainly going to be interesting to see how this one plays itself out. You can follow the thread on 2+2 here

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