Leaseholders sue owners of closed San Antonio Poker Palace over unpaid rent

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: June 21, 2023 10:06 PDT

The landlord of the San Antonio Poker Palace, the Texas social-poker room at the center of a controversy over an unpaid, six-figure bad-beat jackpot in April, has sued the owners of the now-shuttered club for at least $250,000 in unpaid rent, maintenance fees and additional costs associated with upkeep of the venue.

News of the lawsuit filed in a Texas District Court in San Antonio was first published by the San Antonio Express-News, which also reported that the club quietly closed last month in the aftermath of the bad-beat jackpot controversy. On April 6, the room's owners and management declined to pay out the room's advertised $100,000 jackpot when a qualifying hand occurred, citing minor infractions in the bettting sequence during the hand that in actuality had no effect on how the hand played out.

Anecdotal reports suggest the club, one of several social-poker clubs in greate San Antonio, lost much of its cash-game traffic in the days and weeks that followed as customers refused to patronize a venue that did not honor its guarantees.

Texas clubs operate in an unregulated grey area, and without a proper regulatory review, there would be no way to adjudicate whether the room's withholding of the $100,000 jackpot was done for valid reasons. In regulated states such as Nevada, the NGC has ordered jackpots to be paid out regrdless of whether minor betting infractions occurred, if these infractions did not materially alter the wagering in the jackpot hand.

The Express-News has reported that an affiliate of Caprock Investments, the landlord of the venue where the San Antonio Poker Palace operated, has sued two known owners of the club, Richard Florestan and Christopher Aarons. Neither owner could be reached and the news outlet reported that phone numbers associated with the two men are no longer in service.

Claims that the club did not have the $100,000 to pay out the bad-beat jackpot were widely published on social-media platforms following the denied payout. One curious factor is that unlike the vast majority of bad-beat jackpots promoted elsewhere, the San Antonio Poker Palace's offering always stayed at $100,000 and did not accrue with a jackpot drop raked from eligible tables. That lack of accrual and proper accounting played into the suspicions of many accusers that the bad-beat jackpot was not legitimately maintained and perserved for a possible payout.

PokerOrg will offer more details on the situation as they occur.

Featured image source: Facebook/San Antonio Poker Palace