Phuas can’t go to casinos; card-counter says Caesars casinos got rough

phua-no-poker-vegasAccused online bookie Paul Phua has lost his bid to play poker while he’s waiting for his illegal sports betting trial to commence. Phua and son Darren have been charged with operating an online sportsbook out of three luxury villas at Caesars Palace during last year’s FIFA World Cup.

The Phuas had asked the courts to allow them to pass the time by playing some poker at casinos on the Vegas strip while they’re out on bail. Phua Sr. is a known high-stakes player, having participated in the original $1m buy-in Big One For One Drop event at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

The Phuas’ attorneys noted that (a) the charges against their clients had nothing to do with poker, (b) casinos weren’t exactly lax when it came to keeping an eye on their customers and (c) the Phuas are rapidly burning through the entire Netflix catalogue (we may have made ‘c’ up). Prosecutors argued against allowing the Phuas to ante up, saying the Phuas’ alleged illegal behavior had been “furthered through associations made and maintained through poker gambling salons.”

On Thursday, US Magistrate Judge Bill Hoffman denied the Phuas’ request, saying they’d offered no new evidence to justify lifting the court order preventing them from entering casinos and they remained “a danger” to the public. The trial is scheduled to get underway on Feb. 9.

Sticking on the Strip, a pro gambler from New Jersey has sued Caesars Entertainment’s Planet Hollywood Resort, claiming he was illegally detained by security in June 2013 after they caught him counting cards. Ross Miller has also filed charges against Caesars in New Jersey over similar claims of illegal detention at three of Caesars’ Atlantic City casinos in 2013.

Miller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he was originally detained in May 2013 at Caesars Atlantic City, then again at Harrah’s AC in July and at the Showboat in November. In each case, Miller was charged with disorderly conduct, only to be acquitted on one charge while the other two charges were dropped. Multiple patrons have sued Harrahs in the past year over alleged overzealous and violent tactics by security personnel.

In the Planet Hollywood case, Miller attempted to cash out nearly $5k in winnings after claiming he was being ‘watched’ by casino staff. When the cashier asked for Miller’s ID, he refused. The cashier then refused to return Miller’s chips and security was called. When Miller attempted to take a photo of his chips, he was “grabbed and handcuffed.” Miller ultimately beat the charges police filed against him, but has yet to reclaim his winnings. Miller, who says he suffered cuts and bruises during his arrest, is suing for theft, false imprisonment, defamation, battery and malicious prosecution.