Poker vs Prison – the McMaster case

There is a category of life situations where life just seems inspired from a movie scenario. In this category falls what has happened recently to Samuel McMaster, a 59 year old stockbroker and professional poker player.

As a stockbroker he swindled over 20 of his clients and has stolen from them the beautiful sum of over $400,000. Nothing so special so far. The best part of this situation, the one that seems taken out of a movie, is the fact that the judges have given him a sentence never heard of before. He has to repay the stolen sum by playing poker!

He is now free to leave his home state New Mexico and travel to tournaments and cash games in the attempt to make $7,500 monthly as decided by the court. If the first 2 payments are not done, then he will face immediate sentence of up to 12 years. The reason why judges have agreed to this unusual conclusion is that poker is McMaster’s only chance of raising the money he owes.

According to prosecutor Phylis H. Bowman: “There’s nothing to indicate that he’s a violent threat to society. So based upon those factors, that’s what determines conditions of release. It has nothing to do with profession.”

We will see if he comes back victorious from his tournaments or if he will come back at all. To be continued!

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