Shamed Midway Poker Tour Owner Dan Bekavac Resurfaces During Live Event Whilst Still Owing Players $55K

27 Jan

Dan Bekavac, the founder of the embarrassing Midway Poker Tour, recently returned to play in a live poker tournament while still refusing to reimburse or even contact players still collectively owed over $55,000 from his failed Chicago-area event.

Bekavac emerged from virtual cover to play in this past weekend’s Mid-States Poker Tour main event at the Grand Falls Casino, near Sioux Falls in northwestern Iowa. Bekavac fired at least two $1,100 Day 1 bullets in the event, according to a PokerNews update, failing to bag chips and advance to Sunday’s Day 2, where the money spots were awarded. Bekavac has been a regular participant in MSPT events, where he has won over $220,000.

Bekavac’s re-emergence onto the poker scene translates to more bad faith regarding his one-time promise to make things right concerning his jilted Midway Poker Tour participants. Twelve of the 27 players who thought they had cashed in Bekavac’s MPT event remain to be paid a combined total of $55,060, including event winner Renato Spahiu ($16,038) and runner-up Satoshi Tanaka ($10,974).

The Midway Poker Tour event, held near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, also attempted to pay off those players who made the money with silver bullion, which was in turn discovered to be “valued” at a significantly overinflated price. Bekavac used the silver-bullion scheme in an attempt to evade Illinois charitable-gaming laws that cap the amount that can be won by gamblers in a single day or event. 

Bekavac allegedly also jilted his partner charity — a requirement for this type of event in Illinois — leaving it to collect only a few tips donated by players instead of the thousands they had expected to receive from their share of the event revenue. Bekavac later blamed Illinois regulators for not allowing him to evade the state’s gaming regulations, which were designed expressly to protect the public from such occurrences.

The charity workers also found themselves forced to work the crazed MPT finale without guidance, since well-known tournament director Jeremy Smith (formerly of the Heartland Poker Tour) resigned from his duties before the final day, and Bekavac himself was a final-day no-show after his silver-bullion payout scheme blew up in his face.

Bekavac went silent regarding his Midway Poker Tour fiasco early in November, meaning that none of the players awaiting payouts have heard from him in three months. MPT event winner Spahiu told PN that being paid by Bekavac “is likely never to happen.” The sad truth of the story is that legal fees would likely eat up all or most of any assets recovered or seized, despite what appears to have been Bekavac’s blatant malfeasance. Meanwhile, Bekavac, according to a detailed poker forum posting from an embittered former life partner, allegedly continues to live a comfortable life on the foundation of a healthy military pension.

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