The tangled story of the San Antonio Poker Palace, the Texas card room that went out of business just weeks after citing a minor rules technicality as the reason for not paying out a $100,000 bad-beat jackpot, continues to unfold in a Bexar County courtroom.
In the latest development, as first reported by the San Antonio Express-News, the defunct room’s owner, Richard Florestan, has filed a countersuit to an action brought against him and others by the owner of the strip-development property where the San Antonio Poker Palace had been located.
After the unpaid bad-beat-jackpot occurred in early April and the social-poker club closed its doors in May, the property’s leaseholder, Caprock Investments (d/b/a CPRK-II), sued for at least $250,000 in unpaid rent, maintenance fees and additional costs associated with upkeep and renovation of the venue.
The story, though, soon went sideways. After Florestan allegedly entered the club at the start of July by picking a lock and began removing equipment from the property, CPRK-II sought and initially received a restraining order against Florestan. A Bexar County court issued an arrest warrant for Florestan after he defied the order to not enter the property or remove equipment, and he was arrested and briefly detained before being released.
CPRK-II asserted it had learned of Florestan’s plans to sell the equipment he had removed from the club, and it sought a temporary restraining order, which was first denied, then granted by a second judge in mid-July after being revised. Since then, the two sides have been active legal combatants on several issues, with CPRK-II also alleging that Florestan had failed to comply with an August court order to supply CPRK-II with bank statements and other financial information regarding the club’s operations.
Florestan alleges wrongful eviction and defamation
According to the Express-News update, drawn via local access to court records, Florestan has now countersued CPRK-II for “wrongful eviction” and “defamation” for up to $2.8 million for lost future revenue and punitive damages.
Florestan also asserted that his rent for the space occupied by San Antonio Poker Palace was current, rather than being deeply in arrears as alleged in CPRK-II’s initial complaint. As reported by the Express-News, Florestan claims that “Poker Palace… was operating on May 7 — a Sunday — when property manager Gregory Mann arrived with ‘two armed security guards’ and began ‘ordering everyone to depart the premises.'”
Florestan blames that action for large numbers of the club’s members having cancelled their memberships and moving to another San Antonio poker club. He claims that the May 7 lockout by CPRK-II damaged the poker club’s “reputation and ability to re-open its business.” The Express-News update does not touch on whether Florestan’s countersuit mentioned in any way the bad-beat-jackpot controversy or whether any players’ departure as members occurred prior to the May 7 lockout, which was over a month after the denied bad-beat jackpot took place.
The two sides continue their pre-trial maneuvers, though a trial date in February 2024 has now been set.