California poker pro Ali Fazeli is facing fraud charges to the tune of $6.2 million. Times are changing, as The Stars Group joins the board of its one-time enemy, the American Gaming Association. Kristen Bicknell says women pros are “crushing it” this year, after taking down the APPT High Roller. These stories and more in the weekend roundup Hit & Run.
That’s not what they mean by “big ticket event,” Ali
It seems that California regular Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli was having trouble getting staked into the tournaments he wanted to play, and decided to dupe people into thinking they were buying a different kind of ticket. He’s been indicted on two felony counts related to the allegedly fraudulent operations of his business Summit Entertainment.
The story he told investors was that Summit Entertainment was in the ticket-reselling business. He said he needed a few million dollars to snap up large blocks of tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and 2018 World Cup, and managed to raise $6.2 million. Apparently, that money never actually went to the purchase of any tickets, at least not to sporting events. Rather, it’s suspected that he spent the money himself, in particular to fund his gambling, including repeated entry to the $25,000 High Roller poker tournaments at the Aria.
Presumably, the plan was to turn a profit in those tournaments and pay off his investors, who might then never know that their profits came from poker winnings and not ticket resales. That didn’t pan out, however: According to Hendon Mob, Fazeli has cashed for a bit over $2.2 million in his career, mostly from these High Rollers. That’s quite a bit less than the $6.2 million he raised, so he was unable to pay back his investors, who weren’t buying his excuses, and went to the authorities.
– The times they are a-changin’ for online poker in the US. It wasn’t that long ago that the AGA described PokerStars as a “criminal organization,” yet now that the new Stars Group (formerly Amaya) is playing nice with regulators, it’s been granted a seat on the AGA’s board.
– Donald Trump has apparently fired one of his aides for having an online gambling habit. Apparently this made him more of a security risk than everyone else currently in the White House.
– Kristen Bicknell beat David Peters heads-up to win the APPT High Roller and HK$2.2 million (US $280k).