Matt Kirk’s lawsuit against Leon Tsoukernik has been partially dismissed. Dani Stern has told 2+2 that he’s retiring. Reactions to the real-money launch of Power Up have been positive. And more.

When is a Loan Not a Loan?

We missed the story when it broke earlier this week, but a weekend op-ed by Dan Katz at FlushDraw has called our attention to the latest news about Matt Kirk’s lawsuit against Leon Tsoukernik. Tsoukernik’s defense team has managed to get most of the counts in Kirk’s lawsuit dismissed, but he’s not out of the woods yet.

If this is the first you’re hearing about the story, what happened is that Kirk and Tsoukernik were playing high stakes heads-up poker. Tsoukernik was stuck, and asked Kirk for a loan to continue playing. Kirk gave Tsoukernik $3 million in chips and they kept playing. Apparently things did not go any better for Tsoukernik and afterwards, he simply decided he wasn’t going to pay Kirk back. Tsoukernik’s defense is that the circumstances make the transaction not a loan, but a private gambling debt, which is unenforceable in Nevada. Freerolling high-stakes pros in this way seems to be Tsoukernik’s M.O., as Elton Tsang has a story very similar to Kirk’s.

Although the judge in the case agreed with Tsoukernik that the debt itself was unenforceable, he is allowing two of the suit’s counts to go forward, namely “fraudulent inducement” and “unjust enrichment.” To win the suit on these grounds, however, Kirk will have to demonstrate convincingly that Tsoukernik knew when asking for the loan that it would be unenforceable, and was never intending to pay him back.

Whatever the result of the lawsuit, one hopes that no one will be foolish enough to lend Tsoukernik money in the course of a poker game ever again.

Quick Hitters

– Here at PartTimePoker, David Huber gave an overview of veteran players’ responses to the real-money roll-out of Power Up at PokerStars, and it seems to be going over rather well. Dan Katz is a fan, too.

– Dani “Ansky” Stern has announced his retirement from poker. It seems he’s had a rough year, with only one live tournament cash and seriously heavy online losses in high-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha matches against a mysterious Swedish player known only as BERRI SWEET.

– Over at USPoker, Steve Ruddock examines PokerStars’s struggles to gain a foothold in the live tournament scene in New Jersey.