It’s been a few months since accused poker cheat and perennial headline generator Mike Postle has been in the news, though that changed recently when he reappeared on the poker scene… in Mississippi, deep in the money in the main event of the Beau Rivage’s “Million Dollar Heater” main event.
Postle’s reappearance, as one would expect, involved its own special flavor of curiosity. Back when he was mowin’ down all cash-game challengers in the live-streams “Stones Live!” shows, Postle famously never played anywhere else outside the Sacramento area, not even in nearby Reno, where he should’ve been able to mop up a bunch of extra money at the tables there.
Postle claimed in court documentation from his multiple cases that he didn’t travel to other poker destinations due to the child-care responsibilities he had. So it was at least a mild surprise when he was spotted in Biloxi, even if, years earlier, that was his old stomping ground. Maxwell “Mawkswell” Young, a seasoned tournament grinder from California, and someone who had likely played against Postle several times previously, might not have been the first player to realize Postle was present at the Beay Rivage, but he was the first to spread the word.
Young grabbed a photo of Postle, who was dressed rather differently than he typically appeared in California games, and sent in to his friend and fellow poker pro Angela Jordison. Jordison posted Young’s photo of Postle to Twitter:
The player was indeed Postle, though without his typical ballcap, but with hoodie, mask, glasses, and possibly even a prosthetic nose, though that last hasn’t been confirmed or disproven, and Young’s pic isn’t quite good enough to make for a solid judgment. That Postle would probably return to the poker tables was something that was to be expected, but to make that return in a Gulf Coast room was still an intriguing development. Then, the story of Postle’s return took its first truly odd twist.
Presenting… ‘Mike Lawrence’
Mike Postle ended up making the final table of the main event, but according to the official chip counts as released by the Beau Rivage, he wasn’t even there. Instead, as you can see from another image Jordison posted on Twitter, Postle’s chips were credited to “Mike Lawrence” (that’s Postle’s first and middle names), and his place of residence was omitted:
Given what was to ensue, the presence of “Lawrence” in the counts was arguably an effort on the part of someone within the Beau Rivage’s poker operations to hide Postle’s participation in the event from the general poker public.
What’s known for sure is that Postle registered for the event as “Mike Postle”, not “Mike Lawrence”. He also filled out his overnight chip slip prior to the final table as Postle, not Lawrence. That info, including a picture, was posted by Postle’s traveling companion from California, Khou Fang.
Whose idea it was to report Postle’s name as Lawrence in the Beau Rivage’s official counts may never be publicly known. It could have been Postle’s, it could have been one of his friends’, or it could have been a casino person. The larger problem, though, is that the existing judgments against Postle, in which he now owns more than $30,000 each to Veronica Brill and Todd Witteles, remain in force.
Was the disguising of Postle’s name by the casino done to aid Postle in cashing out whatever his winnings would be before Brill or Witteles could reach across state lines in an attempt to garnish his winnings? That’s what the Bellagio did to Phil Ivey, when it had a $12 million judgment against Ivey in the celebrated “edge sorting” case: The Bellagio filed the judgment into Nevada and succeeded in seizing a six-figure payday Ivey had just logged at the WSOP. It seemed to have put Ivey on tilt, too. Just a couple of days after the seizure, Ivey donkey-bombed his way out of that year’s WSOP Main Event in the very first level, in a most un-Ivey-like way.
It’s nonsensical, too, to think that whoever at the Beau Rivage that changed “Postle” to “Lawrence” did so without knowing about Postle’s past, and that includes the legal judgments he still hasn’t paid. Mind you, good readers, that the court-ordered debts have nothing to do with whether Postle actually cheated during those several dozen “Stones Live!” streams where he posted phenomenal and statistically unlikely profits. The judgments for legal fess rendered against Postle were for his filing a frivolous defamation lawsuit against Brill, Witteles, and others.
It’s also worth noting that the Beau is one of several casinos where Postle played when he lived there, and he still has plenty of friends in the region. One of those friends and stalwart supporters to this day is Evert Caldwell, who himself was at the Beau with his tiny “Rounders Life” magazine. Caldwell stated on line that several people knew Postle ws there and playing and no one cared, supposedly. That didn’t include Maxwell Young, to be sure.
Caldwell and Poste have a relationship that stretches back many years, and Caldwell was the link between Postle and the California filmmaker who was going to do a documentary about the scandal from Postle’s point of view. That planned documentary was announced in conjunction with Postle’s filing of the $330 million defamation suit against Brill, Witteles, and many others, but the documentary disappeared without a trace after Postle’s suit was tossed out of court.
Garnishment attempts fall short
Had Postle been able to take down the Million Dollar Heater main event, he’d have cashed for about $200,000. As it was, he finished seventh, for a little less than $33,000. That would have covered at least one of the outstanding judgments against him, not that Postle has shown any interest or intent in making payments on the debt.
As soon as Postle’s deep run became public knowledge, lawyers stepped in to make a run at garnishing Postle’s winnings. A Mississippi lawyer spent several hours over the next two days obtaining a writ of garnishment, but by the time he was able to obtain the writ in person in Harrison County (where Biloxi is located), Postle had already been paid out.
Simultaneously, Brill’s defense attorney in Postle’s defamation lawsuit, the controversial Marc Randazza, worked through the legal department at the Beau Rivage’s corporate parent, MGM Grand, and asked MGM to contact the Beau to freeze whatever winnings Postle achieved. Randazza submitted paperwork to MGM, and at least some of that was transmitted to the Beau Rivage, leading to Postle’s winnings being temporarily frozen for what was reputedly several 90-minute periods.
Eventually, though, no writ of garnishment could be obtained that business day; it wasn’t until the next morning that Brill’s volunteer attorney from Mississippi could get the writ completed by a court official. By that point, and with no official writ in place, the Beau Rivage relented to whatever pressure Postle or his attorney was able to place on the casino, and they paid him out the cash.
Mind that it appears the casino wanted to pay out Postle’s cash and ignore a garnishment attempt that it allegedly knew was in process. From Postle’s friend Fang, before Postle was actually paid:
The casino did pay Postle out later the same day; this was just a Tweet in progress as the circus was playing out. Yet Fang’s Tweet inferred that Postle wouldn’t have too much trouble getting paid out, despite the delays. That two prominent Beau Rivage officials were showing whatever Randazza sent to MGM is another indicator that the Beau execs and Postle were on friendly terms. Whether Postle or one of his other friends might have been a Mississippi attorney who, since the writ of garnishment hadn’t been formally issued, demanded “Pay the man!” isn’t known either.
So Postle got paid. Brill and Randazza weren’t quite done with the situation, either. Two days later, Randazza filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in California, seeking to have him blocked from spending or disbursing his winnings.
Though the motion was filed as part of the same case where Postle had already been ordered to pay Brill’s and Witteles’s legal fees, it seemed there might be a chance the motion would succeed. Instead, the court denied the motion, ruling it was deficient on a couple of technical but legally required points, and that Brill and her representatives had yet to exhaust other legal means to collect the debt.
It all worked out as a temporary financial win for Postle and anyone that might have had a piece of his action at the Beau. Yet the emphasis remains on temporary. The debts Postle owes to Brill and Witteles remain in force, and they’re in effect for 10 years while accruing simple interest at a 10 percent rate per year. The debts can also be renewed indefinitely. Eventually, Brill and Witteles could explore turning over those debts to a third-party collector.
The matter has also become bitter and personal between Postle and Brill and her attorney Randazza. It’s likely that Randazza will keep pursuing Postle for payment, just because of the enmity between them.
Featured image source: California Superior Court