Tobey Maguire sued for poker winnings (Caro blog)

  • By Mike Caro | Exit
Poker1.com default content graphicEntry #19 (2011-06-22)

Can someone who wasn’t in the game
take your poker chips?

Let’s get straight to the point. Tobey Maguire is a major Hollywood movie star who likes to play poker. I know. He’s sat to my left in a poker tournament, and — I might add — took appropriate advantage of his superior seating position. He is being sued for allegedly winning money from the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners, Brad Ruderman. The allegation is that Ruderman lost what is reported to be $25 million taken from investors. (See linked stories below.)

UPDATE: Settlements were made later in 2011 by Maguire and others.

→ See New York Daily News story

It is unclear how much of that purported $25 million, if any, was lost to Maguire, but the investors are suing the star to recover a potion of their losses. The poker game is reported to have been played regularly at prestige venues, including the Beverly Hills Hotel.

These are the things we should ponder:

1. When you cash out from a poker game, can you be certain the winnings belong to you?

2. Should the target of this lawsuit be Maguire or Ruderman?

3. Suppose something is stolen from you and the thief then gambles it away and someone else takes possession. Can you sue the unknowing recipient to recover it legally? Apparently. Can you sue to recover it ethically? I’m not so sure.

4. At what point does money become non-recoverable (except through suit against the primary person who first took it)?

Immediately? After it is first spent? After it is spent by the second person in a further transaction? The third? I’d like to know, because — otherwise — I can never be sure that money I won at a poker game (or that was given to me for any service or item sold) is truly mine. That bothers me.

I clearly see the arguments the plaintiffs may be making. But are they fair? Are they suing the right person?

The answer isn’t clear to me, except my heart seems to be stuck on: If you win money at poker, it’s yours. If you lose to someone playing with stolen money, can you sue to get your money back, because you had nothing to gain and would have had to surrender your winnings?

Many questions. Few answers. What do you think? — MC

Here are two links to get you started…

http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/06/tobey-maguire-sued-illegal-poker-game-leonardo-dicaprio-ben-affleck-matt-damon

http://www.tmz.com/2011/06/22/tobey-maguire-sued-over-illegal-gambling-bradley-ruderman-high-stakes-poker-bankruptcy-criminal-winnings-texas-hold-em/

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

11 thoughts on “Tobey Maguire sued for poker winnings (Caro blog)”

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  1. If it was a legal poker game in a license casino u have a clear answer in a illegal atmosphere under our laws the money can probably be seized

  2. Off the subject Mike, but just curious as to where the money goes in regards to the brodcast rights for the WSOP and WPT. ESPN spends hundreds of millions of dollars for the right to brodcast football games, and some of that trickles down to the players. I know they’re not paying millions of dollars to brodcast the WSOP, but they are selling advertising and shouldn’t some of those dollars end up in the prize funds of WSOP tournaments. Does it?

    1. Hi, thxNJ7Z —

      I don’t know about the current broadcast contracts between ESPN and the World Series of Poker.

      No money is currently being added to the prize pool. Actually, money is subtracted by management to cover costs, including dealer compensation. Many players who win money add additional tips.

      The 2011 WSOP main event had 6,865 contestants, paying $68,650,000 to enter. The prize pool was $64,531,000. That means about six percent was deducted.

      Whether or not money should be added has been vigorously debated. I haven’t stated a position on that yet.

      Thanks for making your first comment and joining our Poker1 family.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  3. I saw another blog post about Tobey Maguire being sued for winning poker and I was like, this is a joke. That post even have a picture of the star sitting at a poker table wide-eyed. Now I read it here and this must be for real. As for winnings, well the P is rightfully yours as long as you won it fair and square IMO. Playing it at a legitimate and popular poker house also helps the validity of that win. Just my 2 cents. :D

  4. The investors should not be going after Toby. They are wasting their money and time. If a judge sides with them, it would kill all of gambling, even the stock markets would crash.

    If I stake someone and they lose it, then I could just sue all of the beneficiaries to recover it? Insane!

    I think the number one rule for investors and poker players: Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.

    No takesy-backsy!

  5. If person ‘T’ (for Thief) steals some money from you and buys an expensive car, you don’t sue the auto-dealer. You recover what money you can from T and gain control of the car. Perhaps the auto-dealer will take it back or perhaps you can resell it. But you can’t start suing every one that T used your stolen money for. The legal assumption is that unless they knew T was a thief, then T’s money is good.

    Using this logic if a thief steals from you and gambles with your money, you should be able to claim the assets that T won. He ‘bought’ those winnings the same as if he bought a car.

    So if T seals $10,000 from me, and wins $30,000, I should be able to get my own money back AND the $30,000 as well.

  6. PLAYING POKER , TO ME, IS LIKE WORK IN THIS RESPECT THAT ONCE YOU SIT AT THE TABLE (PUTTING ON YOUR WORK BOOTS) ALL ELSE IS PUT ASIDE AND LEFT AT HOME… ONCE YOU SIT AT A TABLE,NO MATTER WHOS MONEY IT IS,THE PERSON POSTING THE MONEY IS RESPONSIBLE , NOT THE PERSON WHOS MONEY IT IS CUZ YOU CANT SIT AT A TABLE AND ASK EVERYONE THERE WHERE THEIR MONEY CAME FROM…..IT DOESNT MATTER…THE DUMBASS THAT PAYS WITH SOMEONE ELSES MONEY(EXCEPTIONS FOR THOSE THAT ARE BEING STAKED)IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AND EVERYTHING

  7. Player A could have won all of Rudermans money and then lost it to player B which lost some of it to player C and C lost some back to Ruderman who in turn lost it to B $ D along with some of the other players monies. Whos going to figure out whos got whos money? Who? Isn’t he the player on first?

  8. Gambling debt can be an ugly thing. My favorite quote is from Frank Sinatra, “You can buy food with your gambling money, but don’t gamble with your food money.”
    Gambling with someone else’s money is worse in my opinion.
    I hope the judge is a poker player to maybe have more insight. I think the poker players earned their money. However, being in an investors shoes, my opinion would be totally different. All I know is I won’t be staking Ruderman.

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