2 Poker Hall of Famers bluffed in Ponzi scheme
They must be better at reading players’ faces at the card table than in real life. Two established and well-known poker pros – both Poker Hall of Famers – fell for a scheme perpetrated by fellow poker player Ali Fazeli last year. Now, they’re looking for a little payback, along with a third poker player, and are taking the shyster to court.
Fazeli ran a scam in 2017 that promised huge returns for markups in Super Bowl ticket sales, but never delivered. In pitching the idea to his network, PHOF inductees John Juanda and Erik Seidel gave him $300,000 and $500,000, respectively. A third player, Zachary Clark, also contributed $500,000. Fazeli has already been brought up on charges for the scheme, after he used all the collected funds to cover his own gambling expenses and repay debts and faces up to 40 years in prison. The poker players launched a formal complaint against Fazeli in Califronia late last year. Fazeli allegedly told the players that he didn’t have their money, promising to win it back by playing poker.
Currently, there appear to be more than five lawsuits pending against Fazeli, who had won more than $2.2 million in live action. The Aria in Vegas has accused him of skipping out on cash advances worth over $2 million, of which Fazeli has only repaid $1 million. The Bellagio has joined the Aria lawsuit, and says that it is owed $500,000.