Friday, July 14, 2006

I'm Glad I Didn't Get Involved...

Here is an article in today's paper about a "big" gambling bust. It involved several of the people that Jeremy and I play with on a regular basis - but unlike us, they weren't smart enough to realize that 1.) gambling is illegal 2.) drugs are illegal 3.) inviting the cops to your illegal games isn't bright

Jeremy and I only play in the "free" games, this occurred later at night during a "cash" game

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A gamble to play poker for money instead of points didn't pay out for several card sharks Thursday night when investigators raided a local bar, officials allege. Nearly a dozen players sitting near the back of Hillbilly Hideaway in Vero Beach had to fold early when four undercover investigators surrounded their table about 11:30 p.m.

"Everybody, get your hands up where I can see them," yelled one officer as others in plain clothes stormed the bar at 122 U.S. 1. Following a verbal announcement of the gambling investigation, deputies surrounded the bar, locked the doors and monitored everyone inside. Even those not playing poker — including the staff — were checked before being allowed to leave.

Detectives from the county's Multi-Agency Criminal Enforcement unit arrested nine people and charged them with misdemeanor gambling. Two of them also were charged with felonies including running a gambling operation and possessing cocaine. Their names were not released Thursday night, and all declined to comment. The One Stop Poker Tour, hired by the bar as entertainment, offers a free poker tournament every Thursday night at Hillbilly Hideaway. The company also hosts games on other nights in various venues from Melbourne to Palm Beach and is in its second season, according to its Web site, www.onestoppokertour.com.

The Web site claimed the games were legal because no money was exchanged and no prizes were awarded. The poker games are free, and winners have a chance to win a seat at a World Poker Tour in Las Vegas, the Web site stated. Detective Sgt. Darin Jones agreed the free poker games were legal. But it only took a few people to ruin the fun for everyone after the free games were finished, he said.

"We try to investigate every complaint of illegal gambling we get," Jones said, adding he got invited to play in the cash game during the initial stages of the undercover investigation. "If we get a complaint that turns out to be legit, we will enforce the law. We want everyone to know this."

Acting on tips from other companies that run legitimate poker tournaments, MACE detectives launched their investigation about four months ago into Hillbilly Hideaway.
Undercover investigators played in the free games for several months, and some were later asked to play in the "invite only" games for money, according to Jones. They even got tips from state gaming officials about how to play poker and what cheats to look for from dealers.
The cash games were played in the same area as the free ones. However, the chips were different to signify money instead of points, Jones said. The average cost to buy into a game was about $40 with the top winners receiving up to several hundreds of dollars.
"We found the chips for the free games stored in the back. The chips they used for the money definitely were different," he said.

The house kept 10 percent, so if the buy-in was $100 each player would receive $90 to gamble during the games, Jones alleged. Detectives were busy throughout Thursday night and early Friday morning sorting through the cash.

The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation also was in on the investigation. Officers from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco assessed the business during the raid and were determining if the bar was up to code.

As of Friday morning, officers continued their investigation.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kristen said...

I like that you and Jeremy go to a place called the "Hillbilly Hideaway".

5:17 AM  
Blogger MrsTito said...

We used to go to a place called "Hillbilly Hideaway". Now there is no more Poker, so no more hillbillys. I liked that bar too, but oh well.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:50 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Chica you have a faithful comment spammer!
Just wanted to let you know that my parents taught us how to play texas hold em. I don't if this is the version of poker you play but it can see the attraction.
Good thing you were playing in the 'free' games.

10:05 AM  

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