The Texas-Alaska Poker Pipeline

by , Nov 22, 2006 | 8:09 am

Word of Dallas’ pokery discontent spreads far … and Chris in Ketchikan, AK, writes in offering his belligerent support:

From: Chris Snyder
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 4:36 AM
To: info@pokerati.com
Subject: Jack-Booted Thugs

Just found your website….What a bunch of BS you Dallas folks are putting up with. Or not putting up with.

I would encourage your readers to check out a couple of web sites: cato.org and reason.com Reason has some great articles on the new gambling law, and cato has a pertinent booklet I think called Overkill, The Rise of Paramilitary Police Forces. Read that and I think you may come to my conclusion that the SWAT teams are purely after the money.


The study mainly deals with the use of SWAT teams in the prosecution (persecution?) of the drug war, but the basic premise is the same. A city obtains a bunch of surplus military gear to put together a SWAT team and then has to find a way to continue funding the squad. Usually they get a CI to point out a ‘drug house’, obtain a no-knock warrant from a pathetically blase’ judge, break down a door in the middle of the night, and start making arrests and seizures. Unfortunately, CIs sometimes lie and cops sometimes fuck up. The thing is..even when they fuck up they still often try to seize property. One particular case that sticks in my mind is that of an old grandpa in California. Cops had the wrong house, busted in and shot the old man, found 10K and seized it, then realized they had the wrong house. They kept the money until the guy’s family could PROVE that it wasn’t ‘drug funds’.

It sounds to me like the Dallas PD has found the ultimate victimless crime to help fund their little war games. And I’m curious, any reason why a couple of beat cops without attitude couldn’t have carried out these warrants? Perhaps the Chief thinks it is his job to create dangerous situations instead of protecting and defending. I’m disgusted, but I’m in Alaska, and I’ll be at my neighborhood game tomorrow. Good luck in court and good luck at the tables to y’all.

Regards,
CKS

Again it’s a case of agreeing with his sentiment — in America we shouldn’t have to live in fear of armored semi-soldiers busting into our houses and shooting us for petting our dogs — but I’m still cautious about pinning the brunt of dismay specifically on the Dallas police. Not only has the “victimless crime” rant not worked too well for the prostitutes and druggies, but also … if the problem really is with the DPD, then Dallas as a whole has issues to deal with that go far beyond just poker. And while it’s quite plausible that being named the #1 crime city in America could put an entire department on tilt, we all know the best way to approach such a situation would be to simply let them knock themselves out.


8 Comments to “The Texas-Alaska Poker Pipeline”


  1. Scott Chaffin
    says:

    pinning the brunt of dismay specifically on the Dallas police

    Absent any other evidence, where do we pin it? According to what we learned from the exclusive CBS11 video:
    – the Dallas police planned it, complete with white boards and dry erase markers.
    – the Dallas police asked for the warrant.
    – the Dallas police undercover officers gathered the evidence needed for the warrant.
    – the Dallas police chose to use their Special WEAPONS ASSAULT team to execute the warrant.
    – a Dallas police official spent considerable face time on the exclusive video explaining why they were raiding the games, and there was no hint of anything external to the Dallas police — “just doing their jobs protecting the citizenry”, to paraphrase.

    Now, I’d also say that we do have an inkling of other possible pressures on DPD to perform these actions. We need to determine if it’s an absolute fact that one of those arrested spent any amount of time discussing things with somebody from the IRS. Because I can’t picture IRS agents just lounging around at the Lew Sterrett Center for Eternal Justice at midnight on a Friday hoping for an enormous money-centric bust.

    Or maybe our federal agents are spending their free time bonding with our local po-po. Or maybe it’s SOP for our PD to phone up the revenooers when they take down these hardened gamblers, which seems to violate some principle of federalism to this hayseed. Dunno…someone go find out.


  2. DanM
    says:

    Scott, the non-Dallas cops were supposedly wearing jackets that said “JUSTICE”. Dept. of Justice maybe? If so, then it can’t be the IRS, because they are the Dept. of the Treasury, no? I’m not sure how the Federal gov works anymore … maybe all the various men in black are one in the same.

    And re: DPD, I am not disagreeing with you. I’m just not ready to scream bloody murder misdemeanor yet, until I can find out more … and see where authorities (which as far as I can tell include the city, county, state, and/or feds) try to go with it all.


  3. poker player
    says:

    Here is a copy of email I sent to J.D. Miles at NBC 5:
    In regards to the recent poker raids in Dallas, I think the police could find better use of their resources to fight “real” crimes in Dallas.
    As a poker player, I resent being called a criminal for playing poker in local rooms. I am a law abiding citizen who pays taxes that pays Dallas swat salaries.
    I have a professional job and a family. I don’t drink, use illegal drugs or participate in illegal activities.
    If Texas government would smarten up and legalize casinos in Texas, we would not have to travel out of state or go underground to play. Texas is losing millions of dollars to Nevada, Oklahoma, Louisiana and other states. The money we spend on traveling, lodging, food and gambling could benefit our state a whole lot.
    As far as the local rooms charging a lot to play in, all casinos charge a percentage of our money to play as well. The rates are comparable or slightly higher to any casino, but we save traveling expenses so it really evens out.
    The rooms are not seedy as the media and police lead you to believe, most are nice facilities. They are clean, secure and most provide snacks and food. I hear more about fights, drugs, shootings and other problems at local bars and clubs than I have ever seen at poker rooms. Most poker players are like me, just looking to have a little fun playing poker with friends. We do not cause problems or hurt anyone.
    There are prominent people in Dallas that play at local poker room, including police, lawyers, doctors, judges, city officials and local news personalities. I know this for a fact, because I have played with them.
    I think it is time for all poker player to unite and pressure our political representatives to legalize gambling and poker in Texas, for all to benefit from!

    Respectfully,

    A poker player


  4. Scott Chaffin
    says:

    supposedly wearing jackets that said “JUSTICE”

    I don’t care if it was the USDA looking for mis-spent mohair subsidies. My point is the same — what are feds doing in local raids? Why are they talking to the arrestees? We all know the feds, states, counties and cities do joint task force stuff, and I have no problem with that, necessarily. But it’s another thread to pull on to start unravelling the meaning of the raids, and where we can/should/might apply pressure to stop them.


  5. dbone
    says:

    I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out why the treasury department has an interest in bringing illegal poker houses down. I don’t think their interest is poker players…or even dealers for that matter. I doubt that any of the dealers had to answer any questions about themselves at all. It’s been proven time and time again…with Aces bust, as well as all these others…that it’s tough to make a conviction stick for local law enforcement. So where do they go instead? To the bureaus that are going to care the most that millions upon millions of untaxed money is funnelling through businesses that are not regulated. That’s where there going to make convictions stick, and that’s a whole lot scarier to the owners than a Class A misdemeanor gambling charge.


  6. Scott Chaffin
    says:

    Bingo. That’s why I would like to see a journalist dig into this aspect of the raids. Fun window-breakage by the shock troops caught live on tape for teevee is a ratings-getter. But if our local police are being directed to do that by DoJ, DoT, USDA, HHS, DHS, what-the-eff-ever…we need to know about that.


  7. Federalism
    says:

    There’s nothing shady going on with cooperation between the Treasury Department and local law enforcement. Underground card rooms violate state laws that prohibit gambling and, unless they declare income and pay taxes accordingly, federal income tax laws. The DPD doesn’t enforce federal law – the feds do. By planning an operation with local law enforcement, they have not trampled any principles of federalism. Besides, it seems much more likely to me that it happened the other way around. DPD probably requested help from the Treasury Department as opposed to the Treasury Department suggesting a raid.

    I think the raids are as silly as anyone. But the way to stop them is to lift the prohibition on running games the way card rooms run them. The unfortunate raids won’t stop until that happens.

    Since that’s a legislative change, it seems that the focus in the meantime should be on convincing the DPD that the specific manner in which the raids are conducted is wrong. Maybe this is what you’re getting at when you talk about applying pressure to stop the raids. As everyone reading this already knows, a SWAT presence at any of these games is entirely unnecessary. No poker player I’ve ever met in Dallas is interested in a shootout with the police.


  8. DanM
    says:

    **Here is a copy of email I sent to J.D. Miles at NBC 5:**

    Umm, JD Miles works for Channel 11. I’m just sayin’ …