Wichita Businessman, Poker Pro Brandon Steven Subject of Federal Probe

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  • FBI and US Department of Justice mum on subject of investigation
  • ”They are looking into my poker and my involvement with Castle Rock Casino,” high stakes poker pro advised the media Tuesday
  • To date, Steven has won just over $3.1 million in live tournaments

A Wichita, Kansas businessman, Brandon Steven, confirmed to the Wichita Eagle that he is the subject of a federal inquiry related to poker and his attempt to open a state casino.

Letters initially sent out February 1 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office were delivered Tuesday to several parties, including various news outlets, saying that phone communication with Steven was intercepted under federal law last year, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Neither the FBI nor U.S. Department of Justice has said what the investigation is about or who may be involved, though it has been revealed that the probe was begun a few years ago.

Steven and a team of local investors bid unsuccessfully to construct the Castle Rock Casino in southeast Kansas. 

Steven told the paper: “I’m aware of the broad nature of this inquiry. As you know and everybody knows, I play high-stakes poker.

“And from what we understand, they are looking into my poker and my involvement with Castle Rock Casino.”

In addition to being a partner in Genesis Health Club Management LLC and co-owning area car dealerships, Steven and a group of investors also purchased the building that happens to house the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

Letters provided to the paper read: “This notice does not mean that you are being charged in court with anything,” says the letter, signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith. “This is simply a notice the law requires we send you,” it says. “It only means that you, or someone using a telephone subscribed to you, were intercepted talking with a person using the telephone listed above.”

U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Jim Cross would not comment when asked by the Eagle.

Steven is a familiar face on the live poker circuit, having earned his first cash out in 2006 at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in a $5000 No Limit event.  He has also appeared in a number of World Series of Poker Main Events.  To date, Steven has won just over $3.1 million in live tournaments.  His biggest win to date was the $48,000 + $2,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller Area Super High Roller 11 in Las Vegas this past October.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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