US Judge Rules Leon Tsoukernik’s Alleged $2 Million Debt Isn’t Enforceable

October 18th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

Kings Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik has won part of his recent legal battle against Australian poker pro Matthew Kirk, but he may still have to payout $2 million.

Leon Tsoukernik

Kings Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik was given the benefit of the doubt over an alleged gambling debt worth $2 million. (Image:

Following a lawsuit brought against him by Kirk back in June 2017, Tsoukernik has been arguing against a poker debt alleged to be worth $2 million.

According to Kirk’s version of events, the casino mogul asked to borrow some money from him so that he could continue playing in the Aria’s high stakes cash game back in May.

Having previously lost more than $1.5 million to Tsoukernik the previous day and the paying his debt in poker chips, Kirk obliged the request by sliding his opponent stacks worth $500,000 each.

In total, Kirk asserts that he lent Tsoukernik $3 million, which was then acknowledged in two text messages.

Contention Over Chips

At this point, Kirk’s lawsuit states that Tsoukernik went cold on the agreement. Although he received $1 million back, the Aussie high stakes player says no further payments were made. In reaction to this, Kirk filed legal paperwork detailing 10 crimes, including breach of contract and fraudulent inducement.

On October 16, District Judge Linda Marie Bell of Clarke County Court threw out eight of Kirk’s 10 claims. However, despite concluding that the loan didn’t qualify as an enforceable debt due to the fact it was linked to gambling, she did acknowledge that Tsoukernik “received a loan for wagering against Mr. Kirk.”

In light of this, Bell summarized by saying that if it can be proven the Czech businessman entered into a contract, he would be at the “greatest moral fault in this matter.” With all but two of the claims dismissed and an acknowledgment of some potential guilt by the judge, Kirk’s legal team will continue to pursue damages.

Dynamic Duo on the Case

Notable as the same attorneys that helped Paul Phua avoid a federal indictment for allegedly running an illegal sports betting business from a Las Vegas hotel suite, David Chesnof and Richard Schonfeld are used to cases of this nature.

This isn’t the first time Tsoukernik’s name has been linked with a high stakes debt. According to Chinese Canadian Elton Tsang, Tsoukernik refused to pay back almost €2 million ($2.3 million) he won from him during a high stakes cash game at EPT Barcelona back in 2016.

Although Tsang wasn’t able to enforce the debt he believes is own, he was prompted to speak out about the incident in an interview with when Kirk’s incident came to light.

With the World Series of Poker (WSOPE) set to take place inside Tsoukernik’s Kings Casino, Czech Republic, on October 19, the latest news could have an impact on the side games running throughout the festival.


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