Thursday, March 10, 2005

Illegal Poker Game Raided in Greensboro

The $1000 per seat game was raided in December. All players lost their buy-in and the ring-leader got the book thrown at him.
Posted in the Greensboro News and Record on 3/5/05:Poker players ante up in deal
By Eric Collins, Staff WriterNews & Record
GREENSBORO — Prosecutors on Friday won more than the pot from 14 poker players charged after a late-night raid of a secret Greensboro poker parlor in December.
Under a plea agreement, the players forfeited all the money they’d brought to the $1,000-per-seat Texas Hold ’em poker event — totalling more than $25,000, police officials said.
“I think we punished (them) right where it counts,” Guilford District Attorney Stuart Albright said. “Gambling is all about money.”
The seized money will become state property.
As part of the agreement, only one of the 14 pleaded guilty to criminal charges after stepping forward as the “ringleader.”
Joshua August Andrews, 34, of 4535 Cross Ridge Lane in Greensboro, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of gambling and possession and consumption of fortified wine, liquor or a malt beverage on unauthorized premises.
District Judge A. Robinson Hassell entered a prayer for judgment continued, which means it won’t count as a conviction on Andrews’ record. Charges against the remaining 13 were dismissed under a deferred prosecution agreement, Albright said.
Agents from the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement began investigating the poker parlor because organizers were serving liquor to players. Undercover ALE agents began gathering evidence by playing high-stakes poker in the business suite on Ashwood Court in the Lawndale North Business Park. They joined the games of Texas Hold ’em and Omaha poker by making contact with organizers through an e-mail address found on a poker Web site. It cost $1,000 per seat on high-stakes nights and hundreds of dollars for lower-stakes games.
Despite the growing popularity of high-stakes poker — boosted by televised matches on cable — Hassell told the courtroom that “it is and has been ... contrary to our public policy and against the law.”
Poker is legal in the state as long as players do not wager money.
After the hearing, Andrews’ attorney, Davis North, questioned why ALE agents pursued the friendly poker games with such vigor. Warnings to stop the games would have sufficed, he said.
“It just doesn’t seem like a very productive use of resources,” he said.
ALE officials said they received a complaint about the poker games and were obligated to investigate. Another complaint led agents to break up a poker tournament at a southwest Greensboro Ham’s restaurant on Wednesday night. No one was arrested.
The restaurant chain paid 5th Street Entertainment of Charlotte to host the card games, which did not involve traditional betting but included a grand prize trip to Las Vegas that ALE officials considered a violation of state statute.
Despite the recent high-profile cases, there is no statewide crackdown on illegal poker games, said Alan Fields, assistant supervisor for the ALE district office in Greensboro.
“We’re not specifically targeting people playing poker,” he said.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

More Trouble for NC Poker Promoter

From the Hickory Record 3/9/05:
Hickory -- A poker tournament business police busted last week was dealt another bad hand Tuesday.Authorities seized three electronic poker machines from Holdum Foldum on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard, SE. Christopher Dietz, who owns the business, was charged Thursday with operating a gambling business.Investigator Bryan Adams of the Hickory Police Department said the machines weren’t properly registered with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. The machines each have a yellow registration sticker, but were not registered at Holdum Foldum, Adams said.Investigators believe the business gave payouts on the machines. Players who won got tickets redeemable for food items or discounts, Adams said.Charges - which will be misdemeanors - are forthcoming, Adams said.Adams said his department received numerous complaints about an illegal gambling operation before investigators conducted a search warrant last week.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More Bar Poker in Charlotte, Maybe.

Wednesday night at Angry Ale’s Uptown (222 S. Church St., 704-632-3663, ) enjoyed its fifth week of tournament play hosted by upstart 5th Street Entertainment. I'm not to sure this will continue since the same group (5th street) got busted in Greensboro this week.

Police Raid Freeroll Tourney in Greensboro

It is a sad state of affairs for poker in Greensboro. As reported by WFMY TV2, March 3, 2005 Texas Hold'em Poker Game At Ham's Shut Down
Investigators say the game is illegal because it is one of chance and it offered prizes.Greensboro, NC -- A Texas Hold'em Poker game at Ham's on High Point Road got shut down by State Alcohol Law Enforcement Agents Wednesday night.Investigators say the game is illegal because it is one of chance and it offered prizes.Large and small prizes like food coupons. The grand prize is a $10,000 seat at a poker game in Las Vegas.Ham's hired a company out of Charlotte to run the game and ALE Agents seized the tables, poker chips and other gambling materials used to run it.No one was charged in the case.Ham's voluntarily agreed to call off poker games at other area restaurants scheduled for this week.

Second Story:

Gambling At Restaurant Spurs Sweeping Investigation
A recent poker tournament a Ham's is just a fraction of activity agents are probing.
Greensboro, NC -- A game of free poker at a Greensboro restaurant has touched of a widespread investigation of illegal gambling.Undercover Alcohol Law Enforcement officers busted a Texas hold 'em tournament at Ham's restaurant Wednesday night. Restaurant owners thought the game was legal because patrons played for free. But agents say any game of chance that offers a prize is illegal.ALE Supervisor Rodney Johnson said, "We live in North Carolina the state that prohibits gambling not in Las Vegas. It should be pretty easy for people to understand."Ham's issued a statement saying: "Ham's restaurant was assured by the promotions company that an opinion had been issued by the ALE that this form of entertainment is in no way a violation of any gaming or ALE regulations."An ALE supervisor says he's unaware of any agency endorsement of the events.Since January, Charlotte-based 5th Street Entertainment has scheduled events at 38 restaurants in nine different cities.Players were competing for a chance to win a place in a $10,000 a seat poker tournament in Las Vegas.