Poker Players Sue Borgata for Bungled Tourney

     ATLANTIC CITY (CN) - Six poker players sued the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for $33,750 apiece, claiming they were cheated of possible winnings when the casino stopped a poker tournament because a player had smuggled in counterfeit chips.
     Duane Haughton et al. sued the casino in Atlantic County Superior Court.
     The six plaintiffs claim they were among the "final 27" in the Winter Open poker tournament, in which 4,812 players anted up, and which began on Jan. 14 this year.
     There were so many players that the casino moved some games into an "overflow facility" that did not have the "constant surveillance" of security cameras, as the regular casino does, the players say.
     They claim that nonparty Christian Lusardi smuggled in fake poker chips, to improve his chances, and that the Borgata failed to detect him.
     The chips were so poorly made that they eventually were detected though, the plaintiffs say.
     The casino finally wised up on the third day of the tournament, and suspended play the next day, with 27 entrants remaining, the players say in the complaint.
     "The prize pool for the Winter Open was arranged such that if the tournament played down to single winner, the Final 27 would split, in uneven increments the total sum of ... $1,433,145," the plaintiffs say.
     "Had the Final 27 elected to 'chop' the remaining prize pool in even increments, each member of the Final 27 would have received a payment equal to ... $53,079.44," according to the complaint.
     The Borgata announced in April that it would pay $19,323 to each of the Final 27.
     The plaintiffs say that's $33,756.44 short of their "pro rata chop value."
     They each want $33,756.44, and damages for negligence, breach of contract and breach of implied contract, plus costs and attorney's fees.
     Their lead counsel is William Pillsbury with Offit Kurman of Philadelphia.