PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world, is being sued by Dutch poker pro Marcel Luske in Nevada’s Clark County District Court for fraud, breach of contract, bad faith, interfering with his prospective economic advantage and stealing his copyrighted poker rule book.
Luske, who was a Team PokerStars brand ambassador from 2008 till 2014, created the International Poker Rules through his Federation International de Poker Association (FIDPA) in 2008. The rules had a similar approach as the Tournament Director Association (TDA) rules but instead of focusing on tournament organizers and casino staff, Luske’s rules paid more attention to poker players, according to a report on CDC Gaming Reports.
The Dutch poker pro stated that he shared his rule book with PokerStars who expressed their interest in using these rules in exchange for paying Luske $25,000 every year. Since he was representing the company as an ambassador, he believed the deal was closed with a handshake and a verbal agreement. There was no official contract drawn up and signed by both parties.
Luske has decided to take PokerStars to court because they did not honor their verbal agreement and instead came up with their own poker rules handbook, called PSLive rules, which Luske believes was made with the ‘exact proportions’ of his original rules handbook.
In the court filing, Luske said “Every single PSLive rule is an exact copy and/or derivative of language from the International Poker Rules. PokerStars proceeded to publish, advertise and use the PSLive rules throughout the poker community. All the while, they just copied plaintiff’s copyrighted rules and proceeded to say they were their rules”.
The Dutch poker pro stated that his FIDPA international poker rules carried a lot of weight because a casino that was endorsed by FIDPA attracted more poker players as the rules ensured that casinos would meet the standards outlined for consistency and fairness towards poker players. Luske also said that the Bellagio in Las Vegas was the first casino in 2008 to implement the international poker rules that he prepared.
Luske alleges that PokerStars not only agreed to pay him $25,000 on an annual basis but also promised to feature his FIDPA branding and logo at all PokerStars events. Luske, who uses the online poker handle ‘flying Dutchman’, went on to say that the Global Poker Index expressed interest in acquiring the International Poker Rules and FIDPA but he turned down the offer because he believed that his deal with PokerStars would give him more benefits and exposure.
Las Vegas attorneys Kerry J. Doyle and Tyler M. Crawford are representing Luske, who has a great reputation on the poker circuit. He has won European Poker Awards Player of the Year in 2001 and 2004; a Lifetime Achievement award in 2008 and nominated twice for the World Series of Poker Hall of Fame, the report said.