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Poker News | World Poker News

Spiderman Tobey Maguire Sued for Poker Winnings

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Most people know Tobey Maguire as the star of Spiderman, but in the poker circle of Hollywood, Tobey is not just known for his skills in front of a camera, but also for his super hero size skills at the Texas Holdem tables. But now, because of his fondness for poker, Tobey could be entangled in a web of the legal kind - and it could take a super hero to get him loose.

The legal web spinning around Tobey accuses him of being involved in an illegal, underground gambling ring and is being spun by Howard M. Ehrenberg, the trustee for Ruderrman Capital Partners. According to the complaint filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, Bradley Ruderman managed the Capital Partners hedge fund, before being sent to federal prison for a decade after being found guilty on an assortment of fraud charges which amount to an elaborate ponzi scheme.

Known as a fish at the poker tables, Ruderman had used money collected from investors to cover his poker loses, which he admits were in the range of $5.2 million. He lost those millions in several Texas Holdem games which were spread around some prestigious addresses in Hollywood including five star hotels like the Four Seasons and the Peninsula. It is also rumored that poker games were held at a home above the Sunset Strip owned by Rick Salomon, which he bought with the proceeds from his sex tape "One Night in Paris" starring sexcapades partner Paris Hilton.

Besides Spidey, the Holdem games were well attended by some Hollywood A-List stars including Leonardo DiCaprio and two familiar faces at live poker events - Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

The court filing states that the “exclusive, invitation only” games involving “wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessman” were “controlled” affairs complete with “food, alcohol and massages,” but were not licensed by federal, state and/or local laws, rules and ordinances, as required by California law.” The suit also claims, “As the Poker Games, the operators of the Poker Games, the dealers for the Poker Games, the equipment used at the Poker Games and the locations of the Poker Games were unlicensed and improperly conducted pursuant to state and local laws, rules and ordinances, to the extent that a player were to ‘win’ at one of the Poker Games and to the extent that the player was not paid for the winnings, the player had no legally enforceable contractual right to receive payment, and had no right to enforce the winnings in state or federal court.”  

It is not clear why Tobey is the only poker player being targeted since it is said he only won around $300K of the millions Ruderman lost when he played in the so called unlicensed poker games between 2006 and 2009. But with Ruderman's company now in bankruptcy, the trustees are desperately scrambling to find money anywhere they can find it to pay his victims and other creditors. Whatever the reason, the trustee has set his sights on Tobey and is demanding he pay back a minimum of $311,000 in winnings.

In the unlikely event Tobey and the other A-Listers were charged and found guilty of participating in illegal poker games, according to California-based criminal defense attorney David E. Wohl, they could do jail time and face fines. “If a bloodthirsty prosecutor wanted to go after these celebs, the law allows he or she to file charges and seek up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each poker game played,” said. Wohl. “The reality is however, that there's a greater chance of Arnold Schwarzenegger being reelected governor than Matt Damon, Ben Affleck or Toby Maguire actually doing jail time for a game of cards.”

The problem for Tobey is that so far he is the only poker player to be caught in this sticky web and in California, unlicensed poker games are illegal, so his winnings can be considered ill-gotten. These private games are one of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets and are known to have been going on for years, with the rich and famous playing Texas Holdem poker together regularly with thousands of dollars being wagered. The good news is that if Tobey is as good at poker as his poker playing buddies say he is, even if he has to pay up it may be a drop in the bucket compared to what he has actually won over the years.

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