Rick Salomon Loses $2.8m Legal Battle Over Unpaid Poker Winnings.

If I’m not mistaken, it was the 2 December 1804, when Napoléon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I at Notre Dame de Paris, snatching the crown from the Pope in a display of Pontiff rejection. It’s written that Napoléon not only hated authority, but he wasn’t too fond of losing at cards, so much so that he would often cheat.

At the same time, in that part of the world, a new law entered the record books stating that the only gambling debts enforceable by the courts had to involve weapons, foot or horse racing, chariot races, tennis and other games that involved physical skill and exercise.

Did the law come into effect to protect an emperor?

Who knows, but we do know they’ve just helped a sheikh.

Back in October, a court of law in Grasse, France, sharpened their knives during a tete-a-tete between legal teams representing Rick Salomon, and Raad al-Khereiji, and those knives now lie in Salomon’s back.

Salomon sued Khereiji over an unpaid gambling debt weighing in at an impressive $2.8m. The Telegraph reported that Khereiji incurred the debt competing in a private cash game at the Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel near Cannes. The year was 2014; a time when Salomon’s then-wife, Pamela Anderson, said that Salomon had earned $40m playing poker.

Now we know-how.

The court recently sided with Khereiji, and the legal teams believe the 1804 law was the meat in the stew. Ronald Sokol, Salomon’s lawyer, argued that poker is a game of endurance, because the game in question, lasted 48-hours. Khereiji’s lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, successfully argued that poker was a game of complete chance, with no physical skill involved.

Iweins refused to acknowledge that Khereiji even owed Salomon a debt, calling the American’s pre-trial chances of winning, ‘infinitely small {a bit like Bonaparte}’

“You cannot pursue someone in France for a gambling debt, full stop.” Said Iweins.

Sokol admitted that while it was easy to explain to the court that poker was a game of skill, it was more challenging to persuade them that playing poker for the 48-hours straight involved exercise of the body.

“These two cumulative conditions were not met,” said Sokol.

If you ever considered becoming a high stakes poker player, then maybe the following fact may be the nudge you need. Court documents showed that Khereiji lost $34m playing poker in Ivey’s Room at ARIA with a minimum buy-in of $100,000, in a little over two years. 

Several players backed up Salomon’s claims that Khereiji told him that his lawyer in Los Angeles, would arrange payment of the debt, before rescinding that suggestion. Instead, Khereiji claimed that there was no payment owed because there was no money at risk in the game.

Salomon has earned $9.9m playing live tournaments, and is the only player to make the final table of three One Drop events, finishing fourth in 2014, third in 2016, and fourth in 2018. Things didn’t go as well at the recent Triton Million. Salomon was the first player eliminated.