From the files of “poker news you don’t hear every day,” a poker player is suing the World Series of Poker. Joseph Stiers of Maryland has filed a lawsuit against Caesars Entertainment, owner of the WSOP, for kicking him out of the 2017 WSOP Main Event, taking his buy-in in the process.
Specifically, court documents indicate that Stiers is seeking “equitable and injunctive relief” plus punitive damages, arguing that his poker career has been “ruined.”
Stiers’ story dates back to late 2014, when he was ejected from Harrah’s Baltimore, explaining on Two Plus Two that no reason was given to him. A couple weeks later, he returned to the casino, apparently believing that his receipt of a rewards promotion in the mail was tantamount to an invitation to return. He entered into a poker tournament as an alternate, won some money playing blackjack while waiting, and then finally started playing in the tourney. During the tournament, casino security told him he had to leave. He said one man tried to push him out of the poker room, a move to which Stiers resisted. In the process, he said he lost his balance and fell down twice.
He actually returned to the casino two more times in January, getting apprehended on the second occasion. Stiers was hit with a criminal trespassing charge and was told he was banned from all Caesars properties.
Plays in Multiple WSOP’s, Anyway
That still didn’t stop him. In 2016, he registered at the WSOP under the name “Joseph Conorstiers” (Conor is his middle name, if that wasn’t obvious), cashing in three events including the Main Event. He did the same thing again in 2017, using the name Joseph Conor.
In the 2017 Main Event, Stier (or Joseph Conor) was among the chip leaders after Day 2. On Day 3, he had a sizable stack of 630,000 chips (which he said was “top nine”) when he was stopped by officials during a break. He had been found out and disqualified from the tournament.
In a brief explanation at the time, a live report on WSOP.com said:
When players returned from dinner break, one player’s seat was empty, and the roughly 630,000 in chips he previously had in front of him were gone, as well. It turns out that this player had been banned from all Caesars properties and thus barred from entering World Series of Poker tournaments.Though Stiers claims he didn’t know why he had been banned from Caesars properties, he tweeted after the incident, “I just got kicked out of wsop main event with 665k for being good at blackjack in Baltimore 3 years ago, ppl help.”
The player had knowingly bypassed security, going to great lengths to hide his real identity when registering for this tournament. When tournament organizers found out, his stack was terminated, and the chips were removed from the tournament. He left the premises without incident. His tournament buy-in remains in the prize pool, so the payout is not affected by this incident.
Thus, we have the assumption that Stiers had been caught counting cards. That’s not illegal, but casinos don’t like it and can refuse someone’s business because of it.
Stiers essentially feels that since Caesars/Rio/WSOP didn’t catch him when he was registering, he should have been allowed to keep playing. In his complaint, Stiers wrote (did we mention he will be representing himself?):
Caesars/WSOP had always accepted my money and retained my money when I was losing poker tournaments, which totaled to over $200,000, but only enforced this trespass eviction during a tournament when I was in a position to win up to $8 million and had around $150,000 in current chip equity.He also claims that if was kicked out but permitted to be blinded off, he would have ended up cashing for at least $20,000.
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