Poker News

Arrest warrant issued for owner of Texas poker room

The warrant comes after the poker room was shuttered for outstanding debt

A Bexar County, TX, judge issued a warrant for Richard Florestan, co-owner of the closed San Antonio Poker Palace, after accusations he illegally entered the building and removed equipment. The card room has been closed since May after a controversial decision to refuse to pay a $100,000 bad-beat jackpot prize that became viral in the poker community.

In June, the owner of the Poker Palace in San Antonio, CPRK-II LP, filed a lawsuit alleging that Florestan and Christopher Aarons of Austin had not paid the rent. Florestan is now accused of entering the locked building to remove his property, although he was prohibited from doing so after he had stopped paying rent. In response to the alleged incident, the CPRK-II LP filed an emergency request for a restraining order, which Judge Christine Hortick issued.

CPRK Property Manager Gregory Mann arrived at the property at 5:00 pm with San Antonio Police to inform Florestan that a restraining order was in effect, but it was ignored. Mann returned with a Bexar County constable at 9:00 pm to tell Florestan to leave the property again, but he refused. After refusing to leave, Florestan has been charged with contempt for allegedly breaching a restraining order. Judge Hortick issued an arrest warrant, and he’ll remain in custody pending a later hearing.

San Antonio Poker Palace found itself the center of a controversy involving the refusal to pay out a $100,000 bad-beat jackpot at one of its tables in April. The club cited a jackpot rules violation as the reason it didn’t pay out the prize. However, similar minor technicalities in regulated poker states have rarely resulted in the refusal to pay a jackpot.

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