Given the money involved in poker, it tends to draw in the shady characters. There’s no surprise that plenty of professional poker players, of people involved in the poker industry have been in jail or had run-ins with the law.
Here are some of the biggest names in the poker world to get themselves into legal trouble.
Ted Forrest has been in legal trouble recently for presenting bad checks to the Wynn in Las Vegas. The incidents happened between October 2012 and May 2013.
The official charge has been quoted as “one count of drawing and passing a check without sufficient funds with the intent to defraud and one count of theft at Wynn Las Vegas”.
What this essentially means, is that the checks Forrest presented at the Wynn didn’t have sufficient funds backing them, which is considered fraud.
Forrest, who is a 6-time WSOP bracelet winner, is potentially facing up to 14 years in prison.
Greg RaymerGreg Raymer, the 2004 WSOP Main Event champion, was arrested in 2013 for allegedly being involved in a prostitution ring. It was alluded to that Raymer was a male prostitute tied to a group of other male prostitutes, but this turned out to be incorrect.
The charges were later dropped, after Raymer completed 75 hours of community service.
Dan Bilzerian, known for his social media presence where he regularly posts photos of himself with half-naked women, is also a keen poker player. On top of these photos, he regularly posts himself with a lot of money or a big stack of poker chips.
In 2014, Bilzerian was charged with explosives possession on public property.
Allegedly, Bilzerian put more than 90 pounds of explosives inside of a drink cooler. The resulting explosion sent debris for over 300 yards.
He eventually negotiated a deal which saw him pay a $17,231.50 fine for the charge “negligently failing to extinguish a fire in the open”.
He then created the below video to warn of the dangers!
Mike Matusow has created waves recently with his heavy support of Donald Trump. Back in 2003, he was arrested for buying drugs for a friend. That friend turned out to be an agent with the DEA.
He was charged with 6 drug-related felonies which saw him serve 6 months in prison. The deal allowed him to avoid facing up to 10 years in prison.
Way back in 1995, Shahram “Shawn” Sheikhan was charged and convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery. The charges stemmed from the fact he had relations with a 17 year old woman.
He was sentenced to 9 months in prison, and was placed on 5 years probation.
Sheikhan was almost deported in 2007 when the government came after him. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t have the necessary paperwork and evidence in time to formally peruse the deportation.
Poker player Jay Sharon is facing up to 25 years in prison for operating illegal sports betting activities.
He allegedly took in $3.5 million every year up to his arrest. 16 months of investigations were conducted before the arrest warrant for Sharon was issued.
Ray Bitar is known for running Full Tilt Poker and is commonly listed as responsible for the theft of money from players accounts which lead to Black Friday.
Ray Bitar did plead guilty to violating UIGEA regulations and conspiracy to commit both wire and bank fraud, but he managed to avoid jail time because he needed a heart transplant.
Other notable mentions
The following players have put themselves into borderline situations which have created plenty of controversy:
Howard Lederer – he played a big role in Full Tilt Poker and Black Friday.
Chris Ferguson – also played a bit part in Full Tile Poker, and recently returned to the WSOP poker scene.
Antonio Esfandiari – due to not wanting to lunge to the bathroom during a poker tournament, he urinated in a bottle at the table leading to him being kick-out of it!
Paul Phua – was caught up in an illegal World Cup betting scandal, but was released without charge.
Ali Tekintamgac – he was caught on camera cheating with one of the sideline reporters reporting cards back to him.
Phil Ivey – Ivey is currently caught up in multiple casino scandals where they are refusing to pay him his winnings.