Dan Bekavac, the organizer accused of scamming players in a 2020 Midway Poker Tour event, competed in an MSPT tournament in Grand Falls, on Saturday. The players in Illinois he’s owed for months, however, might be rooting for him to cash.
The Mid-States Poker Tour is hosting an $1,100 main event with a $200,000 guarantee. Bekavac bagged a Day 1 stack of 61,300, which is above average.
He’ll be on to Day 2 as he hopes to win his second career MSPT event. That might be good news for those to whom he owes money. In 2019, he won his first MSPT event in Milwaukee, WI, for $126,000.
Midway Poker Tour is a Lost Cause
Bekavac hosted a Midway Poker Tour event in Illinois last October. The tournament had an $1,100 buy-in with a charity component, but Illinois law permits tournament charitable winning payouts of $500 above the buy-in — $1,600 in this case. That obviously presents a problem for those who enter a tournament at the $1,100 price point.
The organizers attempted to find a loophole in the law so they could legally run the event. Bekavac came up with an idea to pay out the remainder of the prize pool by providing each player who cashed with precious metals (gold and silver) as a payout. They could then turn around and sell the precious metals for the value of their winnings.
There was only one problem – Bekavac overpaid the true value of the metals by about 30%. That meant the players wouldn’t be able to receive the actual value of what they were supposed to be paid from the tournament winnings.
Bekavac and the Midway Poker Tour still owe approximately $50,000 spread out between the 22 players who cashed. The winner, Renato Spahiu, is still owed $16,038 of his advertised $55,060 payout. Satoshi Tanaka, the runner-up, still has $10,974 owed his way.
Bekavac has refused to make the players whole. The players initially threatened legal action, but no lawsuit has since been filed. But, the organizer for the now-defunct Midway Poker Tour was able to come up with an $1,100 buy-in to compete in an MSPT event this weekend.