Big Chris the Commenter went to trial yesterday for his presence in the Aces bust in Dallas (June 2006), and he’s requesting an attorney recommendation.
I’ve gone ahead and passed on the name and number of Brady Wyatt, in Dallas, mostly because my fellow high school alum is the one accomplished poker attorney — president-elect of the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and undefeated in the Jackie’s cases he represented — who’s contact info I had handy. (Brady also played a little nickle-dime-quarter mixed games with me back in the late ’80s/early ’90s.)
I know there are others though, some with even much more experience handling poker cases in Dallas and elsewhere around the country. I figure we might as well start compiling a list … so if you have any poker attorneys to recommend, or if you are one actively taking on poker cases, please let us know here.
UPDATE: The PPA has a litigation support network for its members.
Lee Rousso has handled some of the bigger poker cases out there, most recently online issues in Washington state. We’ll add him to the list.
If the New York justice system is anything like Texas’ (er …), we can expect it to take about a year before the people responsible for the killing of a low-stakes (but high-action) poker player in Arlington. Just this week, New York courts officially charged William Delvalle with the murder of Frank DeSena, who you may recall was the recreational poker player killed last November in the robbery of an underground poker club in midtown Manhattan.
Interesting to note that the courts aren’t even claiming Delvalle pulled the trigger — and yet he still faces life in prison for being the leader of the robbery/homicide. Interesting to me because the poker robbers in Dallas likewise face a similar fate. Sure, laws are different, state-to-state … but not by that much. And without a doubt, though no arrests have been made in any Dallas poker robberies and there’s no certain connection between the latest in Arlington and others around the DFW area that were very similar … poker players in Dallas have a pretty good idea about the identities of at least a few people who have may or may not have donned ski masks and wielded weapons to rape a poker room. (And no, I’m not taking about the police SWAT teams who have done that recently, too — that’s a different story altogether.)
When the Ashton got robbed, I was a little dismissive of the finger-pointing (it was a bad time to be a black Dallas rounder). But now, four or five robberies later — +1 dropped cellphone, +recurring player presences, +1 dead — the reality in this sub-subculture is becoming clearer. Not to mention that police have had their own inside players in games since at least 2006 … we know this for a fact, and even who some of those guys are, but probably not all … but regardless, point being that whether it’s a year from now or not, it’s only a matter of time before we see the poker crooks and the law come to showdown.
Just to clarify for some who are writing in a bit confused … the room that got robbed/shot-up the other week was not the same place that got raided by Arlington police most recently …
That raided place was the Longhorn Room — similar neighborhood, I believe, but not certain, as South Arlington isn’t exactly small. I know it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between cops and robbers in these cases.
BTW, why does it always seem that robberies follow raids almost immediately? You’d think it would be the other way around.
Was there a poker robbery in Dallas last night — or perhaps talk around some tables about an old one?
Not trying to start anything, rumor or otherwise … I just happened to notice a few visitors coming to us via Google searches overnight for “dallas poker robbery”. Not to give my secrets away, but monitoring Google traffic isn’t too different from the way night-shift journos used to listen to police radios back in the newspaper day … and when I’ve noticed a quick surge in such searches before (or more commonly, “dallas poker room raided”) it usually meant something was up. But other than this “hunch” I’ve got nothing.
UPDATE: Yep … VFW hall that screams poker room was popped last night:
UPDATE: Oh, dude, I recognize exactly where this is! One of the best and biggest games kinda-sorta but not really in Dallas. Have played there a handful of times, and always enjoyed the action. Interestingly enough, both cops and robbers have been here before. This was the place where the guys who just might be the Dallas Poker Bandits got their start …
Here’s more info on the raid of the “40 Deuce” club in Hurst. It was indeed another undercover narcotics investigation followed by a paramilitary SWAT-team incursion:
Hurst police said they found two dozen people inside the home, which had tables, dealers and even a banker, and was set up to look like Las Vegas.
You know, Pokerati used to defend the police for just doing their jobs, and reminding poker players of that. But c’mon … SWAT teams? That’s so 2006. When you want to shut down a game next time … here’s a hint … try just knocking on the door(s). I know I know … I’m just a blogger and don’t understand police operations — so maybe you can explain to me how, using knowledge gained from your undercover, a knock on the door combined with a marked squad car in the driveway wouldn’t stop any poker crimes from being committed.
In fact, I’ll even give you the answer to this question: “Uh, duh, Mr. Know-it-All, because then there would be no money to confiscate for us to put toward other poker raids/the police “petty cash” fund.”
And while we’re bitchin’ about the money … yo local news media … when “dozens” of players gather with a sum total of a few thousand dollars … since you’re not going to really follow the money to look into what police are really up to with it, at least do the math and realize that this is not “high stakes.” You should be journalistically ashamed of yourselves for being so careless/sensational with your word choice.
For the rest of you, check out the comments on the Channel 5 story. At the time of this posting, they’re running 11-1 in favor of poker and against the police:
A poker room in Hurst (a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth) got raided Thursday or Friday night. I have few details — perhaps some Pokeratizens can fill us in on the game action, weapons in play, arrests made, etc.? — but according to my source:
Channel 4 said it was a gambling club.
Channel 5 said it was a poker club.
Hmm, makes me wonder if ItsOverJonny may have been right when he suggested that a little extra poker ink tweaks the coppers into action. Not saying that Pokerati or a forthcoming poker documentary is to blame (the doc, after all, wouldn’t be coming out for a long while, and Pokerati generally prefers to pass on responsibility) … but there was apparently a big to-do in Dallas (again) over turning Reunion Arena into a casino … and boom, a few days later, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, somebody in some police force decided they didn’t want to look like they were turning a blind eye to “gambling.”
BTW, The Dallas Morning News poll results to the question:
Would you support a casino in downtown Dallas?
So far …
85 percent yes
15 percent no
There’s a legitimate New York film-making outfit working on a documentary about the history of poker … and next week they’ll be in Dallas. Naturally, because it has such a relevant role, they want to talk about the Dallas underground — and they’re asking me for contact info for people to talk to, games to see, etc.
I’ve talked with a lot of you before about doing something similar with local news crews — but perhaps not shockingly, ever since the first newscaster to sneak a hidden camera into the Dallas underground ended up getting engaged to the (already married) Chief of Dallas police around the same time her station got a sweeps-week exclusive showing SWAT teams busting up three games simultaneously, most of the “good guys” in the Dallas poker scene have been a little shy about opening their doors to the media … even with assurances that no one would give up any identifying info.
(Ahh, remember the good-ole-days when Stagecoach used to openly run its ballin’ website and pay little-ole poker websites for ads the Observer couldn’t run?)
Anyhow, so this outfit, 4th Row Films, is offering the same guarantees that they will protect identities and locations. Personally I think it would be a shame for this part of poker not to be seen. But I respect the fact people who run these games generally do so to support their
gambling addictions families … so I’m not giving out any phone numbers or email addresses without any special OKs. I have, however, suggested they simply drive around to area strip malls looking for the telltale white, wireless doorbells — but that doesn’t seem to be giving them confidence as they fly their people and equipment to town. So if you happen to run a game in Dallas and would like your room to live on long after you die/get arrested and have to plea bargain down your misdemeanor … send me an email and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with the right people.
Another North Dallas poker room apparently just got robbed about two hours ago — the gunmen making off with more than $10,000 in cash, watches, cell phones, and at least one bracelet.
The 15/30 Omaha game had just broken a little after 10 pm central and a full 2/5 NLH table was going strong when players heard Smash! Crash! “What the fuck?!?” one player screamed.
“I know what that is,” another player answered as he ran toward the back room and others followed. It sounded like a police raid — we all remember how the cops busted through the walls at Jackie’s on semi-live TV — only this time it was robbers. Two armed black males wearing ski masks and hoodies came busting through glass windows and sheet rock to enter through the smoking room. Players looked for an escape in the seconds that followed, but there was no back door. This game Ã¢â‚¬â€œ located in an office building near the Galleria Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was relatively new Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ had been open just a few months Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and seemed plenty secure with a two-door entry system monitored by cameras.
“Where’s the fucking money at?” the lead thug shouted as he emerged from the smoking room into the main area and made his way to the gace.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are a couple 50s beneath the drawer,Ã¢â‚¬Â on of the room operators said.
Four or five players had crammed into a supply closet in the back room and locked the door behind them. Huddling together in the dark, they scrambled to find places to hide their wallets. One player had wedged his in some plastic wrap behind a stack of plates just a few seconds before the robbers realized there were people in there and ordered them out. They were told to lay on the ground with their faces to the floor Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all complied Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at which point the other robber frisked them one-by-one for their valuables while his accomplice made a quick check of the closet but apparently found none of the stashed goods.
The whole robbery lasted just a few minutes Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ as of last night, no decision had been made about whether or not to call the police, which you can suspect whoever is behind this latest string of poker robberies is partially banking on.
According to current forfeiture laws, when the Dallas cops raid a poker game, they generally get to keep whatever money they confiscate. However, assuming the DPD is operating all on the up-and-up, that money is supposed to be used for more poker busts …
In addition to what I was calling “Henser’s Game” (have since learned it might be “Gennser’s Game”), DC’s Poker House also got raided last week — Friday, I believe, about the same time as the robbery at the Ashton.
From a Pokerati citizen journalist on the ground:
Another game that got raided was DC’s POKER HO– USE in dallas off of shiloh & northwest highway. The cops single handedly busted that game because of money laundering. DC had about 40 slot machines in the building that caused his place to be shut down. I beleive what made DC’s place get so hot was when he pulled out a 9mm on one of the players who were getting a little out of hand.
Yikes, mix 8-Liners and 9-millimeters together and you kinda gotta expect some problems, no?
Also, maybe this is where the reports of a triple poker robicide came from … within a few days last week you had two busts and one robbery nearly simultaneously … and as we know in poker, it’s often difficult to distinguish between the two, because the action and results are usually pretty much the same.
UPDATE: Hmm, this is the second time that a robbery and police bust went down at two separate poker rooms nearly simultaneously. Strange coincidence? It’s possible that both sides make similar assessments when it comes to game selection — picking nights when they expect the most money to be in play.
That’s what we’re hearing … that three games got robbed on Friday. One such robbery is semi-confirmed at a popular 2/5 locale.
Not sure about the other two. The last time guys with guns stormed in to three places simultaneously and took all the money was in November 2006, when the DPD busted out the big guns and battering rams. More TK, of course.
UPDATE: The one semi-confirmed robbery took place in an Uptown high rise. Reportedly, “the phone rang indicating that someone had entered the access code in the lobby. They authorized access without picking up the phone. Whoever opened the door did not check and the perps stuck a 9mm in the door. 2 black males. They told everyone to empty their pockets but did not even take all of the money on the floor.” One player who was there also happened to be at another Dallas poker robbery a while back and says it was the same two guys.
We continue to hear that two other rooms were robbed, but whenever there was a poker raid, we would always hear about two others with it, and only once did that check out.
Unconfirmed word coming in over the Pokerati newswire …
Police shut down a suburban Dallas game on Wednesday — I only knew it as [name temporarily withheld]’s Game — located in Mesquite at Motley and I-30. It wasn’t vice or SWAT, reportedly, but detectives … confiscated the money in the game, and issued players Class C misdemeanor tickets outside. The game’s purveyor was “caught on the street” and police supposedly confiscated his car, along with all the cash he was carrying.
I never played in this game before, but I did hear about it and find out about playing. If I recall properly, they were running a 1-2-5 … medium action and pleasant crowd. Can’t remember if it was in a house or office park. That’s all we know for now. If you’ve got any reliable info please fill us in. Interesting to see War on Drugs-style forfeiture laws being applied in poker cases where we pretty much know the results of prosecutions even before they don’t go to trial.
CORRECTION/DETAILS (3/16): A guy named “Henser” was arrested. The game took place in a residential house. Detectives were in the game (?), but they ticketed players outside the house. Not for gambling, but for parking too close to the curb and things like that. And Henser was apparently pulled over (driving away from the scene?) when cops caught up with him.
DALLAS–Man, I thought we were done with the legal proceedings from the first big poker raid in Dallas (June 2006) … and almost done with the trials stemming from the subsequent triple-raid (November 2006). But learned that charges against another dealer from Aces were thrown out just last week — as they should be … but are we done yet?
Go insufficient evidence!
As Matt the commenter informs us, DC’s Poker House in Dallas was raided last night. Hmm, we kinda thought Dallas poker raids would stop now that Pokerati has relocated. Apparently not. Details not clear — am curious to know the number of arrests vs. tickets … also, if someone could let us know where that room was located … and anything else that may have contributed to its shutdown.
It’s kinda funny sometimes the way news spreads … all the way to Chicago. Should be interesting to see how the non-poker masses respond (if at all) to the Dallas poker plight.