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Poker News

Police Raid Two Houston Card Rooms

Written By: Maya Michaels | May 9, 2019 | Posted In Poker News

Local enforcement has raided a pair of Houston card rooms on Wednesday afternoon and it is believed that more crackdowns of these establishments are on the way.

Officers from the Vice Division of the Houston Police Department arrested nine owners and managers on charges of money laundering and engaging in organized criminal activity after raiding Prime Social Club and Post Oak Poker Club.

District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement: “Poker rooms are illegal in Texas.”

“We are changing the paradigm regarding illegal gambling by moving up the criminal chain and pursuing felony money laundering and engaging in organized crime charges against owners and operators,” he continues.

At Prime Social Club, the raid took place just before a $580 no-limit Texas Hold’em tournament with a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool was about to start. Officers seized computers and hard drives.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told local media that this is just the beginning and that until the legislature authorize this kind of activity, the police will do their jobs and shut them down.

Law enforcement believes that these clubs are breaking the state’s gambling laws, while the operators believe that they are in full compliance with the state law considering that they do not collect a rake. The operators only charge membership fees and see themselves as a private club.

Daniel Kebort, one of the five owners of the Post Oak Poker Club that was arrested said: “We are just facilitating the play between the players.”

Wayne Dolcefino, who worked for Prime Social Club in researching the law before the club opened, and in promoting events, stated that the idea that they are engaged in a criminal operation is ridiculous.

Even though the police did not arrest any of the players, both clubs had their bank accounts and assets frozen.

According to recent research, there are “about 40” of these poker clubs operating throughout the state, but it is clear that the law enforcement will not tolerate the existence of these establishments.

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