Murder in the Dallas Underground?

Attempted robbery in Arlington went awry; shots fired, one killed

by , Sep 9, 2008 | 6:46 pm

Two masked men showed up at a poker game in a South Arlington apartment complex a week or so ago … they knocked on the door, one player got up to answer, and upon realizing that the game was about to be robbed, he struggled to shut the door. Commotion ensued as it became an inverse tug-of-war to see whether the robbers would be getting in or the poker players would be able to keep them out. After a few seconds of scuffle, shots rang out — eight, maybe 10 — at which point players and the dealer fled in the other direction, out a back door, jumping off the balcony. (Not sure if it was from the second or third floor — but three of them suffered minor injuries as a result.)

The player who originally got up from the table to answer the knock (“John” is all I know of his name right now) got hit by at least three bullets … one in the shoulder, one in the leg, and one somewhere else … and he died last night from blood-related complications to his wounds.

To be clear, this was not your typical Dallas underground game — you know, the strip-mall and warehouse sort run by good and sometimes not-so-good people trying to provide a valuable albeit legally questionable service and good-clean-safe place to play. This was more like the under-underground, where almost no one went by their real name nor had a regular job … OK, not the place for blogger jokes … but the livelihoods and nicknames start to matter when what might look like any other poker game turns into the scene of a homicide …

It was an apartment game where some of the regulars were apparently of an extremely thuggish ilk — not the kind of place that sends out subscription emails or emissaries to Oklahoma searching for players and runs satellites to the WSOP. A few of the guys here may have stepped foot into the Dallas scene at times — but for the most part, they weren’t welcome in the more legitimate games around town, despite their intense desire to gamble-gamble-gamble with fatter-than-usual bankrolls.

So the apartment in Arlington became their home game — and reportedly it was more than just poker. No one set up a full casino or anything, but supposedly itwasn’t uncommon to see a player bust out some dice on the felt and roll for money between hands. The biggest sums wagered, however, were on XBox action, sources say.

At the time of the robbery they were playing an 8-handed game of 1-2 NLH … a big 1-2, with at least a few thousand-dollar stacks in play.

(Note to any non-poker media who might be reading this: Please know that 1-2 is not a “high stakes” game. It is low-stakes, believe it or not, even when there are thousands of dollars on the table. Give me a call and I’d be happy to explain to you in further detail.)

More TK on this, for sure. Naturally, speculation and rumors will abound — these sorts of things don’t happen in a vacuum, and there are already hints that the assailants may indeed be connected to the Dallas Poker Bandits who robbed The Office five months ago …

Guns and Poker Pose Difficult Decisions for Players [Apr 13, 2008]
Dallas Poker Bandits Strike Again [Apr 11, 2008]
Poker Robberies [tag]

21 Comments to “Murder in the Dallas Underground? ”

  1. Johnny Hughes

    Any poker player should MEMORIZE this statement:

    “Take all the money. Don’t hurt anyone and we won’t call the law.”

  2. Johnny Hughes

    Here is an article I wrote about how to act when being robbed.

  3. pisswilley

    if this is the game i think it is i went there a few time in the past, always felt the place was open to getting the door knocked in. they would open the door for just about anyone and that damn balcony always was open, or at least i felt that way. at the time most all seats had their back to the door. just did not have a good feeling about the place.

    i stoped playing there when i got the feel that players were coluding(sp).

    until texas makes this a legal practice there will contuine to be this kind of activity. exactly the reason i “retired” from the underground scene.

  4. DanM

    Good article, Johnny … do you know what date that ran?

  5. DanM

    does anyone know what the major cross-streets were on this place?

  6. Banasko

    Willey, I think you might be talking about the Longhorn as I played there once and your description is similar. That room was closed by the cops, apparently around the same time as this incident. I know of another game in South Arlington but they are closed as well. The dealers I know in Arlington knew some of the guys from this game and as Dan said, it was a very questionable game to begin with.

  7. donkey

    Man, this sounds exactly like the Green Room (ex-6th st), in terms of location and setup. I played there about a month ago, 2-5NL with straddle anywhere for any amount, min buy in $500. There must have been $15-$20k on the table.

  8. Johnny Hughes

    I don’t know when it ran. It was on PokerPages and is in their archives. I’ve been robbed with some top players, by some pretty good robbers. These folks robbing poker games these days ain’t go no class compared to the robbers in the good old days…when I write that an annoying melody invades my head. We really didn’t expect to get hurt. We have TV cameras on the front door and parking lot at one table joints in West Texas. I am for giving them the money and offering to write a bigger check.

    I can think of a few robbers killed here in West Texas, and Iron Drawers killed by a robber. I’d advise carrying a gun in your car and not getting a license, because you got to show it to every Texas cop you encounter and it leads to cars being searched. A gun charge beats not having a fire arm handy. I have fired over the heads of lots and lots of people. Hope I never have to shoot anybody.

  9. DanM

    Just looking for a ballpark Johnny … you know, you’ve been around the block for a while … so was wondering if you wrote this post-poker-boom or like in the 90s.

    also, i’m not gonna call you a pussy for your write-them-a-check comment, but i think it’s only a natural reaction when a dude with a gun is trying to push in a door to try to push back and stop him from getting in. i can’t help but think what some simple pepper spray through the crack coulda done in this situation.

    also also, no offense, but i’m seriously questioning your Texas gun knowledge now … i know multiple people who carry CHL’s and guns in there cars. when they get pulled over by police, they always show the CHL with their driver’s license — to let the cops know they have a gun in their car — and the police almost always seem to treat them extra-good at that point. Cops hate guns in cars, unless you have a CHL, at which point they tend to love them.

    I’m not joking … I know of multiple incidents where this has happened … and the cop starts asking, “what kinda gun? do you like it? what kind of bullets you using?” and then eventually let the guy off without giving him a ticket.

  10. edbucks

    “…i’m not gonna call you a pussy for your write-them-a-check comment”

    What a pussy.

  11. Colin

    I played here at least 50 times. None in the past 6 months. I never saw any of the behaviours supposed by these statements.

    – no dice rolling
    – no xbox gambling
    – no thugs

    The ownership of the place changed hands right about when I had to cash out my bankroll. Hadn’t been to the place under the new management.

    Either there was a severe change in the type of players that showed up to that card room, or you’re espousing shitty journalism. I wish I had played there in the last 6 months so I could point out yet another blogger that doesn’t check facts, but that would make me a hypocrite.

    Let’s just say that I’m a former regular totally disagrees with the picture you’ve painted in this article.

    – C

  12. DanM

    Colin, I welcome your challenge … point of all this is to work our way towards some semblance of truth.

    I can tell you my info comes from three sources — all secondhand. One of these sources is extremely reliable, another is someone new to me who certainly talked like he knew what he was talking about and said other stuff that made me think he had no reason to distort any facts, and the other is generally reliable … and the things that i wasn’t so sure about checked out with what the other sources were saying.

    An example of a fact I didn’t thoroughly check is the XBox. There’s a fair possibility it coulda been a Playstation.

    I don’t think the dice thing happened all the time — not organized or anything — but it supposedly happened more than once.

    I left out information that I haven’t been able to confirm — that there were some middle-management level drug dealers there … but that’s what people are saying.

    I also am hearing from one reliable source that one person in attendance at this game was the last guy called by the phone of the robbers who hit The Office. (One of the bad guys dropped his cell phone in that robbery … so people know who those robbers were, who would have to be at least suspects in this case.)

    To be sure, one person has died here and at least two others are/should be headed to prison … so I take this shit pretty seriously and don’t want to be throwing around misinformation. So indeed, any who have info contrary to what I have purportedly learned, don’t hesitate to let me know.

    For what it’s worth, I haven’t even confirmed the exact location yet, other than that it was in south Arlington and wasn’t the Longhorn Room.

  13. Colin

    my reading comprehension fails then, as I was referring to the LHCR.

    /my aren’t these laces tasty

  14. Johnny Hughes

    Dan…I am sure you are right about the guns. Only times I ever had trouble with guns is when I fired them foolishly.

    Writing up this robbery is a public service to warn poker players about the most serious part of it. Here in Texas, poker is illegal and it makes everything different from some other states, but no different from the old days.

  15. edbucks

    You sound like the po-po

  16. DanM

    There was a point when the po-po used to talk to me. Not any more for some reason … I guess the DPD vice chief didn’t like our snarky jabs?

    I just hope people realize that what happened at this game is NOT the standard. From what I am hearing, this was a bad game … full of poker exiles.

    Perhaps the Poker Bandits bit off a little more than they could chew this time. (Or they were different, less experienced robbers.) I hate that writing this might hurt business for the good folks … but, it’s not like we can ignore it.

    And it’s a shame that police can’t work with a poker room or two to catch the armed robbers.

    Maybe next year we’ll have more success with the Texas Legislature to protect poker citizens … but until then, we just have to hope no one else dies. I gotta think the robbers might be laying low for a while, being that they just killed someone … but at the same time, maybe they care even less about not shooting people knowing they are kinda fucked eventually.

  17. DanM

    From one person who played in the game (not the night it got robbed):

    >>>i wouldn’t say they were shady, they just weren’t friendly. they acted more like bouncers and not like hosts. but that night i didn’t see any dice action, drug dealin or xbox/ps action.<<<

  18. Anonymous Asshole

    Hell, Winstar or Choctaw can have all my action. 1 hr 10 mins to get there vs. 20 mins to 45 mins here in town. It just isn’t worth it anymore and, as long as the action keeps on coming (ie. tons of players in OK), I am cool with it.

  19. Marvin C

    It’s in today’s Star Telegram as area brief. They don’t call it a poker club but several people playing cards. They give an address of the 1800 block of Scouts Vista.

    By the way, does anyone want to give the name of the club and who ran it?

  20. jc

    This gambling house was in North Arlington, You could gamble on anything there. I know these guys. these guys are some of the biggest gamblers in Tarrant County. its obvious this forum knows nothing about games in Arlington area. Was not the Longhorn room. They were raided the same night and no one was there. The Green Room is operating very privately 4 days a week.

  21. DanM

    Hey JC, thanks for the extra info … indeed, we are clear now that the Longhorn Room was raided, not robbed … I had no idea, however, it was on the same night.

    (Yikes, the same thing happened in Dallas a year or so ago in an incident where the attempted robbers also struggled with the door, but I don’t think they got in.)

    And interesting about North Arlington … I had been hearing South from everywhere … but could be wrong on this.