International poker professional Marcel Luske has reportedly filed litigation in a Nevada court claiming that Pokerstars plagiarised a set of copyrighted tournament rules he had authored, and had reneged on a gentleman’s “handshake” agreement with the poker ace that should have paid him an annual fee of $25,000.
The filing alleges that Luske authored and created the International Poker Rules in 2008 and copyrighted them through his Federation International de Poker Association (FIDPA). The rules were focused more on players than tournament organisers, and therefore offered a unique appeal of value to organisers in attracting players.
The filing details that Pokerstars approached him in 2012 with a request to use his rules and feature the logo of his Federation International de Poker Association in its live events. This led to a “handshake” gentleman’s agreement in 2014 which included an annual payment of $25,000 to Luske.
However, Pokerstars later used what it claimed were its own rules, titled PSLive, although these are, Luske claims, “an exact copy and/or derivative of language from the International Poker Rules.”
Luske is petitioning the courts for general and special damages, plus interest, for fraud, interference with prospective economic advantage, bad faith and breach of contract.
Pokerstars has not yet commented on the issue.