Iraj Parvizi, a wealthy Iranian-born financier, is entering a legal battle against Les Ambassadeurs Casino, requesting £10 million be paid to him, as the casino hosted high-stakes poker games in which, according to his claims, he was cheated out of his money in numerous ways.
Parvizi was a regular in the weekly high-stakes poker game held at Les Ambassadeurs that gathered wealthy sheikhs, famous footballers, and professional poker players. Six-figure sums exchange hands regularly in these games, as one would expect, but one night was crucial for Parvizi.
After losing £185,000 during the session, he cancelled the checks he had earlier written in exchange for chips. Not being able to retrieve the money, the casino started a lawsuit against Parvizi, to which he responded with a lawsuit of his own, requesting Les Ambassadeurs pay him damages because they failed to prevent collusion and cheating against him in the games.
This sum Parvizi is seeking represents his entire losses during the four years he attended the game on a regular basis. He accuses two professional players who were also regulars that they were colluding against him the entire time. Furthermore, Parvizi claims that some of the masseuses present in the casino to help players relax were circling the table and signaling hands.
The casino called Parvizi’s allegations “embarrassing” and stated that the staff knew nothing about any sort of strategy that went down during the game. One of the high rollers who is also a regular in this game commented on the entire situation, but requested his identity to remain hidden.
No one would need to cheat to beat Iraj. We’re professionals and he’s terrible, so it’s like Brazil versus San Marino in football. As a professional player, you sometimes need credit and you rely on your reputation. I’d rather lose than collude.” dailymail.co.uk
One interesting statement by Les Ambassadeurs is that it was an accepted poker strategy for stronger players to encourage weaker players to bet more. This, obviously, makes sense up to a certain point, where encouragement becomes collusion, but it is highly unlikely that a casino of this reputation would ever allow such blatant collusion to take place.
Without further evidence and inquiry, we are not to pass judgments. All sorts of things happen in life and poker is certainly no exception. Parvizi, who is currently based in Dubai, refused to comment on the suit. At the same time, he is preparing for totally different legal proceedings as he is to appear in court in September on account of insider dealing charges.
Whether there is really something fishy in the whole story or it is just another case of hurt ego remains to be seen. In the meantime, Parvizi might lose his invitation to some other high-stakes games frequented by the same people.