Samuel McMaster, Jr. didn’t play his cards right before, but hopefully he can now. The former stockbroker admitted to 26 felony charges of securities fraud, after having sold half a million dollars of worthless promissory notes to his victims. He faces up to 12 years in the clinker.

But, apparently, McMaster is a skilled poker player. And as one would expect from an expert swindler, he’s quite a smooth talker. According to ABC News (via Dealbreaker), New Mexico prosecutor Phyllis Bowman agreed to an unusual deal with him: he can try to play poker for his freedom.

White collar defense attorneys, listen up. If McMaster can win back the $440,000 he owes his more than 20 victims, he’s a free man…

ABC News has quotes from all the legal types involved:

“There’s nothing to indicate he is a violent threat to society,” New Mexico prosecutor Phyllis Bowman.

No. He’s just a financial scam artist. Let’s unleash him on some poker tables!

“We’re not talking about a get-out-jail-free card,” Kelly O’Donnell, superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Duh. We’re talking about poker not Monopoly.

“The IRS came in and took everything,” John Rhinehart, attorney for the card shark, said. “He plays poker to make ends meet.”

And to avoid prison time.

McMaster has to make restitution payments of $7,500 a month for the next six months while he throws card in tournaments. If he’s not able to prove he’s got the poker skills he needs to make $440K, he’ll be back before the judge and off to jail he goes.

Though he probably doesn’t need to worry. No matter how he does in poker tourneys, we’re sure he can sell a screenplay about this for a couple hundred thousand.

Poker Pro Playing for His Freedom [ABC News]
Broker Caught Stealing From Clients Sentenced To Six Months Of Poker [Dealbreaker]


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