Disputed Funds Unfrozen in Nick Marchington WSOP Backer Case

There’s been a small amount of movement in the legal case featuring 2019 WSOP Main Event seventh-place finisher Nick Marchington and a backing operation that alleges it is due 10% of Marchington’s winnings of slightly more than $1.5 million. An order this week in the Clark County District Court hearing the case issued an order unfreezing the disputed sum, $152,000, allowing that money to be received by Marchington.

The disputed $152,000 had been frozen while still in the possession of the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, home venue to the World Series of Poker. The WSOP had been in the process of paying the funds to Marchington when a lawsuit was filed against Marchington by David Yee and Colin Hartley, two of the owner-operators of the C Biscuit Stables backing company.

The unfreezing of the funds, however, should not be construed as an outright victory for Marchington at this juncture. Marchington’s attorneys had previously proposed a plan to the court in which the disputed funds would be placed into a holding account administered by those attorneys, pending later resolution. It is likely that that plan or a similar arrangement has been approved by presiding Judicial Officer Elizabeth Gonzalez.

According to Clark County District Court records, the order unfreezing the funds was the only forward development in the case. An evidentiary hearing originally scheduled for Friday, August 23 was cancelled and has yet to be rescheduled. The two sides are believed to be continuing negotiations, with a possible settlement one of the options in play, whether or not Nick Marchington is indeed liable for the claims being made.

As detailed earlier this month, Yee and Hartley had a deal with Marchington, a 21-year-old British online pro, to back 10% of his action in two WSOP events, including the Main. Marchington, after a poor series of results during his summer in Las Vegas, notified Yee and Hartley that he was backing out of their deal, and would be refunding the $1,200 the pair had put up, at a 1.2 ratio for $1,000 worth of Marchington’s $10,000 Main Event buy-in.

However, Marchington was unable to quickly refund the $1,200 via the pre-arranged method, and in the meantime, he changed his mind about playing the Main Event. Marchington also obtained a better backing deal for another 10% share, at 1.7 ($1,700 for 10 percent) instead of the 1.2 put up by the C Biscuit backers. The general confusion fueled Yee’s and Hartley’s assertions that Marchington was stake-shopping, despite the deal between the two sides clearly having been nullified well before Marchington played Day 1B of the Main.

Following Yee’s and Hartley’s filing of the lawsuit and cherry-picked posting of certain text messages deemed to support their arguments, Marchington — in perhaps a rogue moment — posted an additional five screengrabs of text traded between the two sides. The images have been confirmed as authentic and partly fill in one very noticeable time gap in what Yee and Hartley previously posted:

Without regard to considerations of an ethical or noble nature, Marchington’s legal defense is strongly bolstered by the text in the second of the five images above, where one of the backers wrote: “[T]he action is cancelled.” The backer also wrote, “…all we want is our money back…,” though once Marchington went deep, what could best be described as an attempted freeroll began.

Nick Marchington’s defense is additionally supported by both laws and industry standards that infer a backing deal can be broken at any time, for any reason. Still, a settlement, likely for an amount well less than the claimed $152,000, remains among the possible outcomes.

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