Posts Tagged ‘underground-games’

Poker Raid in South Carolina: 1 Player, 1 Cop Shot

Violent standoff and hefty charges in uncertain battleground state [Pictures]

by , Nov 4, 2010 | 4:14 pm

A relatively routine raid of a low-stakes poker game in Greenville, South Carolina turned bloody yesterday night — as police tried to gain entry to a poker house. The game host, now known to be Aaron Awtry, 72, shot through the front door, striking sheriff’s deputy Matthew May with a bullet that went through his arm.

A vice squad in SWAT gear returned fire, hitting Awtry with multiple rounds in his arm and thumb … which was followed by a 20-minute standoff between cops and players, according to a spokesman for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department. Both shooting victims were taken to the hospital where they are in stable condition.

There were 12 people and Awtry in the house at 502 Pine Knoll Drive when police arrived at about 9:20 pm last night. According to frontline witnesses, they had just finished a small buy-in dinnertime tourney … and a 1/2 cash game was just getting underway when someone saw 5-0 approaching on a security monitor. Before he could clearly vocalize an alert, a battery ram begin slamming the front door and players froze. Awtry, who players say has notoriously bad hearing in his senior years and presumably believed the game was being robbed, began shooting at the door with his pistol, firing “at least once” according to a player, “multiple shots” according to police. At least four officers returned fire at the door with at least 20 bullets from their higher-powered assault weapons.

As Awtry fell back into the poker room entryway, he balked, “Why didn’t you tell me it was the cops?”

click to enlarge


S. Carolina Supreme Court to Decide: Game of Skill or Luck?

Unscientific poll on how much of each

by , Oct 18, 2010 | 9:53 am

Poker is back in the state-level Supreme Courts … this time in South Carolina, with five appointed justices set to decide if playing Texas Hold’em in a private residence is a crime.

The decision, which will likely reverberate throughout the Carolina underground and beyond, will rely heavily on matters of skill and chance involved in poker, as gamecock law calls for a “dominate factor test” to determine whether or not a game violates South Carolina gambling statutes. Like we saw in Kentucky and Washington, the SC SC will just be hearing arguments tomorrow, for about 30 minutes from both sides combined, and not issuing a ruling for a few months. But when they do … well read below for what’s at stake beyond a few misdemeanor convictions.

In the meantime … we know there’s skill in poker, but how much is often debatable. Where on the continuum do you draw the lines for these different “games”?


RE: Big Austin Poker Robbery

Police details on the heist, one suspect arrested

by , Mar 29, 2010 | 4:55 pm

Police say they are hot on the case … details emerging about the Austin poker game that got robbed EPT-Berlin style (only for less money and with more gunfire) … and apparently this one — occurring in a middle-class residential neighborhood in northwest Austin — ain’t gonna go the way of poker robberies in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and others recently in Austin.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Dept. (woking with APD) has caught at least one of the suspected bandits after tracking down a (coincidentally German-made) possible getaway car. Osaro Osagie, 22, is currently in custody on felony charges of credit card abuse, for possessing one of the poker player’s stolen cards.

An investigation on the aggravated robbery is still ongoing, and thus police are saying little else at the moment.

This all shook down at a game in near West Anderson Lane and Mopac.

UPDATE: More on the heavily armed robbery from KXAN here.

Big Austin Poker Robbery Friday Night

by , Mar 27, 2010 | 8:12 pm

There were really big guns, shouting, and shots fired. That’s the word circulating in Austin poker circles right now about a scary armed robbery somewhere on the west side of Travis County late last night — just before the bars closed … always an action time in Texas poker rooms.

Here’s an email from one of the players there, with names redacted for now …

HORRIBLE Robbery at *****’s tonight, around 1:40am. I was there 3-4 black guys w/ AK 40’s, shot their way in back door. **** was running game, 24 people there. Amazingly, No one hurt. ***** was downtown, **** and ***** hid in laundry.

They specifically asked for ***** by name. Must have known back yard had no cameras. Climbed fence from mopac.

Made us all go face down, empty pockets, took most wallets, phones keys. My wallet was found by cop, amazingly a mile down feeder laying in road, all intact except $1000 in cash (i had won $600 last night and forgot to remove it before going to *****’s).

Gunshots were fired Inside. they kept yelling at us not to look up or move, so we didn’t know if people were shot.

****** saved our lives. he obeyed them, rationalized w/ them, showed them closet w/ money, but had no key, they harassed him, they shot or kicked doors in,

Over 9 cops were arriving as we drove away. They stopped us and interviewed us individually, were very concerned for our safety and catching criminals, not even a question of poker game. Helecopters, forensics, detectives and K9 were all there lining the street.


UPDATE: Unconfirmed word is that Austin police caught at least one of the robbers, when he used a stolen credit card at a “club” either later that night or the next day.


Another Texas Robbery Foiled by Players, Cops

by , Dec 21, 2009 | 10:38 am

This one apparently happened a few days ago in Houston. They were playing 1/2 NLH/PLO (interesting game selection) … and the game was running a bit bigger than usual. According to one player who was there, about $8,000 was on the table.

From Pocket Fives:

It’s about 3am and i’m up about 300 when one of the guys that was smoking outside(who is definitely not in on it) comes back in with 3guys behind him wearing masks. One has a fkn assault rifle and the other a pistol pointed at the table. “Everyone get your hands and heads on the table”. “Mother fker” I say to myself as i’m complying. The game was soo good. I had my leather jacket over my lap and i shake it off and kick it to the ground under the table just hoping they wouldn’t find the $800 i had in it.

It was a semi-violent assault, with one player trying to hide a Rolex getting clocked upside the head, and the other players being duct-taped.

Apparently the mistake the bad guys made this time was stealing a car from one of the players … which made them easier to chase and track down. Before long, cops were in pursuit, a chase was on, the robbers ditched the car (a Range Rover) and fled on foot. Eventually they were caught and the money was recovered.

More details as they come-in …

NOTE: Just because Texas players are getting better at stopping the robberies doesn’t mean the robbers aren’t learning too … in this case, supposedly, the gunmen were wearing body armor.

This is the second Texas poker robbery in the past month where players chased the assailants, who would end up arrested and facing serious prison time. Travis Thomas, the 19-year-old apparent ringleader of a botched robbery of an oldtimers game in Seagoville, has a court date tomorrow. He’s charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, and faces 5-99 years in prison.

UPDATE: Armed Robbery in Austin, Too

Turns out a higher-stakes game in South Austin was also hit in the past few days. This game had reportedly about $25k on the table, and unlike recent robberies outside of Dallas and in Houston, the armed bandits got away without being arrested or killed.

PIC Club vs. Merge

Minor-league American-friendly online poker battle

by , Nov 24, 2009 | 5:46 am

There’s a little brouhaha I think outta Costa Rica that I’m not really following, but there might be something there. It involves PICClub … one of those loophole-based payment processing alternatives that has found itself embroiled in a 6-figure payment dispute with a network of smaller online poker sites (Carbon Poker, Reefer Poker, ACED,, Felt Stars, StinkyFish Poker, and more than a dozen others).

Apparently someone’s ripping off someone, and flaming fingers are starting to point all willy-nilly in a world of folks trying to play as legit as they can providing a service that the US government would prefer they not.

I first learned about PICClub about a year ago … heard about it from one of my old cronies in the Dallas underground, and TJ Cloutier was apparently involved. Though I had decided it was not quite my thing, I wanted a second opinion, so I sought the counsel of a trusted friend and colleague semi-involved in the poker bidness:

On Dec 3, 2008, at 9:22 AM, [name removed] wrote:

[Name removed] told me about it. But I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to steer clear of shady, 4-year-late concepts that are audibly mistaken for porn sites.

LOL, right, exactly …


Poker Homicide Updates

by , Oct 28, 2009 | 9:50 am



James McDaniel gets sentenced today. McDaniel, of course, is the smooth-talking, purple-suit-wearing rogue Dallas underground-poker-room-operator/drug-dealer convicted in June for contributing to the overdose death of SMU coed Meaghan Bosch. Good money says he will go to prison for the rest of his life … as he was already on parole after serving 20 years for the murder of a former Dallas cop before he got into the underground poker scene. Jurors in the Bosch case were not told his past murder conviction, nor were they allowed to consider allegations from up to a dozen young women claiming they were drugged and raped inside his poker room, some of them apparently on video.

UPDATE: McDaniel did indeed get life. He is currently in custody at Seagoville’s federal prison, but will likely be sent to a less comfortable state prison to finish out his old murder sentence before being sent back to Seagoville for his time on Bosch’s death.

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Meanwhile, Swedish police are still looking for clues around Europe in the murder of PokerListings founder Andreas Oscarsson. They’ve concluded that indeed his killing was carefully planned by a professional hitman — with his family home fully staked out, exits noted, etc. … allowing the killer to break into the house and fire six silenced shots into Oscarsson and then leave without waking his six family members also asleep in the house that night. And while no motive has been disclosed, apparently investigators have unearthed at least a few death threats against him. and possibly have ruled out some Latvians.

Click here and here for Google translations of the latest from Hungarian news reports.

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And Daniel Dean will get a new trial in the death of fellow amateur poker player Mark Urch. The two players were involved in a drunken dispute over hands in an Australian amateur pub tourney, and when they took matters outside, Dean leveled Urch with a single punch to the head, a blow that caused his death a couple days later. Australian courts sentenced Dean to seven years for manslaughter (eligible for release in May 2011). However, an appeals court threw out the conviction last month and ordered a retrial, on the grounds that the judge may have misinformed the jury about provocation and self-defense matters of law.

There’s a Daniel Dean support group on Facebook.

Lacey Jones: Sure, I’d Get Naked for Playboy

by , Oct 14, 2009 | 4:36 pm

That’s not really the point of this video, but hey, when Lacey Jones talks for 15 seconds about the business of getting naked, people listen.*

The Absolute Poker/Zizzazz girl’s latest spokesmodel gig is with (a gambling-themed clothing line by the people who helped set standards for douchebag- club-culture fashion with Caffeine).

The vid gives a little behind-the-scenes peek at her signing the deal, and then follows her as she hits the streets of Manhattan, where she runs across at least one New York City underground player who offers a glimpse of how the games work there. She also explains how above-ground casinos handle the shark-whale relationship, and eventually starts dressing dudes she meets on the streets … which is kinda like undressing them, but not quite. Special appearance by Spongebob Squarepants.

* listening props: @AlCantHang

RE: Houston Poker Room Gun Battle (3)

More details emerge as fallen robber is buried

by , Sep 18, 2009 | 3:04 am

Barron Boutte, 1985-2009

The funeral for Barron Glenn Boutte is today in Houston. He’s the 24-year-old shot and killed while attempting to rob a Houston underground poker room earlier this month. His shooter is not being publicly identified, though police have determined Boutte’s death a matter of self-defense. Club 203, where the fatal shootout occurred, has been indefinitely shut down.

A few more details about the thwarted robbery, coming to us now secondhand, as opposed to thirdhand

Apparently the robbery suspects confronted a player leaving the game in the parking lot, and a scuffle ensued. The first shots were reportedly fired at the door to gain entry, and the robbers continued shooting into the air once inside. They did indeed shoot one patron in the leg when he was slow to get on the ground as ordered.

Boutte’s armed nemesis and several others were smoking in the break room when the melee went down. One robber supposedly told these players they’d better not be coming out without cash — thinking maybe they were hiding it — and that’s when the poker-room hero emerged brandishing his own gun.

Boutte was shot at least four times in the abdomen and made it out to the parking lot before falling and dying.

A nervous wave has washed over the Houston poker underground — with action slower than normal, and some rooms looking to hire visible security.

RE: Houston Poker Room Gun Battle (2)

Attempted robber’s criminal record

by , Sep 7, 2009 | 10:53 pm

Here’s the complete criminal record of Barron Glenn Boutte, the poker robber shot and killed in Houston last week. A lot of marijuana charges and some evading arrests. Pretty petty thuggish. Not a surprise that robbing a poker room seemed to provide him an opportunity to step up into a bigger game. Ahh, the poker dream …

The only thing that stands out to me is that the dude was so short — 5’5″, 110 pounds. Probably just a coincidence, but in many of the DFW robberies that we attributed to the “Dallas Poker Bandits”, there was always one distinctly tall guy (6’4″ish), and one distinctly short guy (5’5″ish).

But Boutte definitely seemed to be a Houston thug, not a Dallas guy who moved to Harris County when the games up North dried up.

Click here for details on Barron Boutte’s poker robbery gone awry, and below for his pre-poker criminal record.

(Thanks Mrs. T for the research.)


RE: Houston Poker Room Gun Battle

More details, some questions, progression of violence

by , Sep 6, 2009 | 5:50 pm

The story behind an underground game in Houston that broke with a flurry of bullets last week — resulting in one fatality and two others wounded — is starting to emerge. Filtering through braggadocio, legal ambiguities, and the inherent fuzziness of thirdhand sources, here’s what we definitely know, what we are hearing, and then some speculation about an “inside job”. And what this robbery may or may not have to do with similar ones in Houston, Dallas, Arlington, and San Antonio.

Included is a semi-thorough timeline tracking the progression of violent poker robberies across Texas over the past 2+ years. The casualty tally so far: 2 dead, 4 wounded by non-fatal gunfire, at least 1 pistol-whipping, >150 players in the middle of it all (surrendering anywhere from a few hundred to more than $10,000 at a time). 3 arrested so far.

The game currently being talked about was known as Club 203, located in a southwest Houston semi-industrial warehouse complex, nestled in a nook about a quarter-mile from the intersection of a highway and major thoroughfare.

The dead robber’s name is Barron Glenn Boutte. (Anyone recognize the name?) He was a 24-year-old black male. The official cause of death is homicide/multiple gun shot wounds. It’s not clear where Barron was from, though one mention of him on the internet does suggest Houston.

From the Houston Police Department:


Houston Poker Room Gun Battle: 1 Robber Killed, 1 Player Injured

by , Sep 4, 2009 | 12:11 pm

Details are just coming in, but it took place in an underground game in southwest Houston late Wednesday night …

Three armed gunmen burst into a strip-mall game to rob it, and one of the players pulled out his own weapon and began firing. The player shot one of the bandits (whom police found dead in the parking lot) and the other two escaped. One player was hit and transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital with what appear to be non-critical wounds.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Sigh. This is what we saw in Dallas … The underground blossoms for a year or two, the police start raiding rooms … games move more underground … robberies follow the next year … eventually someone gets hurt. Expect a huge boom for poker business in the card rooms just across the Louisiana border in 2010.

UPDATE: More details here.

Totally unrelated …

by , Jul 5, 2009 | 5:52 pm

A wise underground poker room operator once advised me (shortly before his room got raided) that every economic bubble burstage in history (or fall from grace) is predicated by luxe so redick, displays so over-the-top … well you can’t really define it, but you’ll know it when you see it … and that’s when it’s all about to come to an end.

In early ’08, the new 24-karat gold-plated Trump Tower began offering $1,000 spa days, complete with massages rubbing you down in emerald, ruby, or diamond dust (depending on how much you wanted to pay).

Now you can get it all for a bargain:

Local Gemstone Dream
For the month of July only enjoy a Signature 90-min Gemstone massage. This therapeutic massage uses oils from Dubai which are infused with gemstones that you can see in the bottle! A powerful mixture of herbs blended with specific massage techniques help to promote physical and mental well-being. This exclusive massage is only done at The Spa at Trump. Monday through Thursday, with a local ID you may try it for only $99 (regularly priced at $275).

James McDaniel Poker-Homicide Case Delayed

by , May 11, 2009 | 12:08 pm

Cop-killer-turned-Dallas-underground-game-operator (and alleged Choctaw colluder) James McDaniel’s trial in the death of 21-year-old SMU coed Meaghan Bosch is supposed to get underway this week, but has been temporarily delayed. In an effort to put one of the more, er … colorful characters from the Dallas poker scene behind bars for life, prosecutors will make the case that underground poker in Dallas (circa 2006-07) was a breeding ground for drug crimes, rape, and ultimately … an unfortunate, untimely death.

Update from the Morning News:

Monday’s trial of the ex-con accused of causing the overdose death of Southern Methodist University student Meaghan Bosch has been postponed, the judge ordered Thursday.

James McDaniel’s defense attorney, Thomas Mills Jr., is ill, according to court documents. No new date has been set. McDaniel faces up to life in prison if convicted of charges that he supplied Bosch, 21, of McKinney, with drugs that caused her death. She was found dead May 14, 2007, in a portable toilet at a construction site near Waco. Her death followed two other fatal overdoses of SMU students, prompting criticism that the university was ignoring a severe drug problem.

Prosecutors say that McDaniel drugged and raped other female SMU students who attended his underground poker games near campus and that they plan to call some of them to testify. McDaniel also supplied students with drugs, prosecutors allege.

McDaniel, a convicted murderer and self-described professional poker player, has denied he caused Bosch’s death. He also denies selling drugs or committing sexual assaults.

Inside the New York Underground

by , Mar 25, 2009 | 2:34 pm

Semi-related to all the activity going on today … there’s a great story in Salon about poker:

A city awash in cards
Inside New York’s underground poker scene, where no one thinks about the recession, or their rent money, when there’s a good hand to be played.

Hi, my name is Jim, and I have a gambling problem.

I told myself the last time was the last time, but here I am, in another bind: $1,000 in chips resting anxiously on the felt in front of me, and the ace-queen of hearts in my hand.

My lone opponent is Al, an egg-shaped old wiseguy who breathes heavy when he has a winner. Right now he’s taking up most of the oxygen in this three-story walk-up.

The rational part of my brain is screaming at me. “Fold, you stupid motherfucker. That’s half a month’s rent you are about to toss into the pot on a draw.” But Al is legendary for losing and that’s all the compulsive part of my brain can focus on. “Maybe he’s bluffing,” it whispers. “Move all-in.”

Read more …