Amid the talk of poker events and players dropping one career path to join poker, we have passed up on some of the routine stuff. Well, no more! On Friday, New York City authorities announced that they had arrested a number of individuals that were running private and all in all – illegal poker meet-ups.
The culprits utilized a common Internet tool, the Meetup.com website to recruit players and bring them to their private games. It was the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor fleshing out the details about the arrests and all those involved.
According to the official report, all 32 individuals were brought on multiple charges, apart from running illegal gambling operations. They were also caught with illegal substances and the authorities recognized a money-laundering pattern in their overall activities.
Poker was used to in fact help what appears to be also drug dealers to make sure their money is “cleaned” so that they can be put in circulation. The head of the gang was cited as one David Diaz, resident of New York.
As to the poker venue itself, the culprits have been quite daring, hiding their operations in plain sight at West 11th Street and Avenue of the Americas in the West Village, further reporting revealed. However, the operation was not a wanton clampdown of a single poker room.
We Have a Snitch!
Instead, authorities had managed to infiltrate the poker room by fielding undercover officers who subsequently managed to record the culprits admitting to running drug operations on an inter-state level. Shortly after, the police involved federal authorities and the operation took a more to-scale dimensions.
The games held at the poker room varied with the buy-ins fluctuating between $200 buy-ins to $500 buy-ins. Smartly enough, those limits are the smallest legal ones allowable in a regulated casino on the Strip.
The police reports focused chiefly on undoing the criminal ring that was built around it rather than focusing on the illegality of the card game itself given the circumstances. All across the U.S. private poker clubs have been trying to gain a foothold against state legislators.
The majority of such cases end up with the law ordaining a stopping of all such activities. One notable example is Los Angeles’ famous Viper Room, which used to host VIP poker games.
Understanding the Long Game
The creation of private poker rooms will become obsolete as the game is slated to expand and be regulated on a state level, allowing everyone interested to compete. Not to mention that one online poker rooms open doors, private pow-wows, such as the one busted, would always raise a red flag.
Indeed, putting things in a legal framework will effectively mean that you no longer need to worry about something as quotidian as having to organize your secret poker games. Naturally, private meetings between people who know each other would hardly come under fire from the law.
Then again, trying to launder what appears to be drug money on Meetup.com is not the wisest call, not by a long shot.