Brandon Steven Pays Over $1 Million To Avoid Jail Time And Attend 2019 WSOP
Entrepreneur and poker high-roller Brandon Steven pleaded guilty for his role in running an illegal gambling operation in Wichita. The high stakes poker pro had to forfeit over $1 million to avoid going to jail.
While Steven could have potentially faced a year in prison for the misdemeanor charge, United States Magistrate Judge Gwen Birzer, only sentenced him to three years’ probation and 200 hours of community service, after he had pleaded guilty to the transmission of wagering information.
Steven had also agreed to forfeit $1.1 million to the US Marshal’s Office, his alleged proceeds from his involvement in the illegal gambling ring.
Steven Admits Hand In Wichita Gambling Ring
The US Attorney’s Office in Kansas recently tagged Steven as an accessory after it emerged that he was implicated in an investigation of an illegal gambling ring in the Wichita area. Steven confessed that he aided 48-year-old bookie Daven “Smoke” Flax, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to running illegal private poker games.
Flax was sentenced to 24 months’ probation in May and had agreed to pay $117,000 for his participation in the gambling ring. The authorities report that Flax took a cut from the money wagered in these private games to pay dealers, property owners, waitresses, and caterers that had agree to serve as discreet hosts.
The investigation showed that participants in these illicit poker games were often informed through text messages the date, time, and venue of these illegal meets. Steven has been accused of having a hand in hiding handwritten ledgers and other records detailing the gambling credits of these games.
In his plea petition, the 45-year-old businessman and poker player, admitted to concealing the involvement of its players and clientele by safeguarding the gambling ring’s computerized records and handwritten ledgers.
Steven said that he accepted the plea deal to put the case to bed and largely behind him. He has been under the scrutiny of authorities for at least four years now due to the case. In 2015, he was among the five men whose phones were wiretapped by the federal government in relation to the Wichita case.
Legal Troubles Hurt Steven’s Income
Steven is also a prominent businessman in the Wichita area, partnering with his brother, Rodney Steven, to invest in auto dealerships, health clubs, and other business ventures around town. In 2015, the Steven duo announced plans to build a $147 million casino in southeastern Kansas – less than a mile from the Oklahoma and Missouri borders – but the project has largely fallen by the wayside due to legal troubles.
The beleaguered poker pro saw the plea the deal as the best decision for the welfare of his family and his career, which is why he accepted went with it. With the court verdict over, Steven is thankful for the opportunity to final move forward.
Despite the three-year probation period, Steven revealed that he is not barred from playing poker. Though predominantly patronizing cash games in the past, Steven hopes to start playing tournaments again and he has his sights set on the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Brandon Steven Looking To Make A Mark At 2019 WSOP
Steven was a noted no-show at the 2019 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, after being a consistent participant of the WSOP over the years.
Steven is the top earning poker pro in Kansas with at least $3,196,690 in live poker tournament winnings. The poker pro has broken into the top 10 at World Series of Poker events four times now, his highest finish being seventh during an $111,111 No Limit Hold’em event in 2013. He took 7th place and won $621,180. His highest WSOP World Championship prize win to date is $635,011 which he earned after taking the 10th position in 2010.
Brandon Steven is keen on playing at the 2019 WSOP and wants to win his first ever WSOP gold bracelet. Now that his legal problems are behind, he is in a better frame of mind and will waste no time showing up in Las Vegas. He hasn’t confirmed what events he would like to take part in but one can assume he will play as many WSOP bracelet events as possible.
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