Now, legal spats over poker have not been uncommon. In the case of Gordon Vayo, for example, we remember the spat that originated between him and Poker Stars. Glossing over the details, Mr. Gordon attended a tournament in Canada and won $700,000. However, he had forgotten to switch off his VPN, which alerted Poker Stars to suspicious activity and the rest, as they say, is history. We haven’t heard of Mr. Gordon receiving his money back whilst a court battle may be imminent.
And now, another player is not quite happy with the latest developments. Not that they have anything to do with PokerStars. Back in March, Adam Lulat managed to win the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour in Manchester, taking a modest amount of the prize pool at around $100,000. Mr. Lulat had definitely not been a big name in poker when he made his entry with modest earnings that were sub $20,000.
The Curious Case of Lulat
The $100,000 were definitely a rather substantial victory for the self-made professional who lost them in the biggest bluff of his life so far. The British Government has clearly had other intentions for that money. However, the facts are not as ominous as an intervening-government makes it all sound.
The truth is that Mr. Lulat was implicated in a multi-million money laundering scheme and when he entered the tournament he had just left prison. Worst, he hasn’t paid anything out of the over $600,000 dollars he and his accomplices had to give back to their victims for crimes that took place between September 2010 and November 2011 before authorities rounded up the culprits.
Not on my Watch
Mr. Lulat hasn’t been up to any criminal activities after his release. His poker earnings have been his blood and sweat. However, the government has seen it necessary to confiscate the proceedings and make sure that Mr. Lulat in fact pays back what he owes to the people he has scammed.
Playing in several GUKPT and PokerStars UK and Ireland PT events, Mr. Lulat has been building his bankroll steadily. Apparently smart and with a talent for poker, his past definitely isn’t something he can be proud of. If he does care that is.
In the meanwhile, depriving him of all of his money will not only impact his poker career. It may downright push him towards criminal activities as he’s forced out of money. Despite the Revenue and Customs service’s swift and commendable reaction, there have been six total culprits running the money-laundering scheme and they also have to pay their due.
More importantly, Mr. Lalut could have been approached much more civilly, despite the weight the sentence against him carries. He could have been asked for half of the amount so that he would be able to continue and carry on with his poker endeavors.
Most of all, as an ex-con, he will have a much harder time procuring money to fund his poker accounts through honest day’s work. Poker is not a haven for people who have veered off the right path, but in the case of Mr. Lalut, it could have been a fresh beginning.