Really Scary

On March 6 at the European Poker Tour Berlin Event an armed robbery occurred during the tournament. One of my friends and a regular reader tipped me to this story and I am not exactly a news outlet so I will have to spin it into something I can use. I took the story straight from Poker News Daily.
Apparently, the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s casino was attacked in an armed robbery while the tournament was in action. An announcement by Kristy Thompson, a spokesperson for the EPT, stated, “An armed robbery by six men took place today at EPT Berlin. Nobody was seriously injured. We hope to restart all events at 4PM local time. A police investigation is underway. If you have video footage or photographs that could help the police, please contact the EPT organizers as soon as possible.”Video of players streaming out of the venue has appeared on YouTube, possibly even showing the attempted robbery as it was occurring.

I am going to assume at this point that the robbery was at least partially successful. There are lots of stories and rumors flying about how this went down and how heavily armed the robbers were. With no way to verify the stories just assume they had guns and guns can kill you.

The reality is I am surprised things like this do not occur more frequently. Because I live in suburban middle class America I am sheltered from much of the crime and violence that exists in the world today. Poker players are really easy targets and generally are far too comfortable walking around with huge sums of cash. Whether a live game or a tournament, players need to be on high alert and provide for their own safety.

In my town of Fresno many players travel downtown to a rougher part of town to play poker and they bring large sums of money with them. Many of these players are cashing out and carrying the cash with them every day. Why are you doing this? Do you want to be robbed? If you play there regularly get a safe deposit box in the cage and leave your chips in the cage. All of the professionals that play in the high limit games handle money this way because they have been robbed or know somebody that was robbed. Do not make yourself a target.

If you are playing in home games where a decent amount of cash is brought to the game on a regular basis look around and be sure you trust every single person in the game. People will rob you for a thousand dollars and for several thousand they will do it by very dangerous means. If you are invited to a $1000 buy-in home game you should know that the odds are 50-50 that this is a robbery set up and somebody will hit the place with guns drawn and take the money and the host and several players could very well be in on the crime.

I recently played in a $45,000 guarantee tournament in Crescent City at Elk Valley Casino and I have to admit that it is not a comfortable feeling knowing that the security is not armed and the public knows that there is well over that amount of cash in the casino. Of course the primary defense the casino has is video surveillance. Masked robbers are usually what hit the casinos and they are usually armed with serious weapons. The Las Vegas Casinos were attacked by Los Angeles street gangs and it was a quick hit and run. Usually involves a stolen car that turns up not far from the robbery and once the masked men have changed cars they are generally in the clear. The situation is too inviting and too easy for the robbers. You have to protect yourself. Do not carry large sums of money in dangerous areas such as parking garages. Be aware of your surroundings. Once in the middle of the robbery give up what you have and get down on the ground before all hell breaks loose.

I need to expand on beware of your surroundings. When you go to the cage and cash out watch for people that seem interested in what you are doing. If you plan to leave right away make a quick out and back and see if anyone leaves following you. Just walk a little ways toward the parking lot and make a turn and return inside. Once you are in your vehicle make sure nobody is following you. If you are not sure take a few detours and see if you have anyone following you. If you are headed for your room in the hotel be particularly careful as many times you are robbed by people pushing into your hotel room. I f they tie you up or hit you over the head they will be long gone before anyone knows something happened. You must be hyper alert at the door to your room. A good friend of mine cashed at Casino San Pablo for over $12,000 and was followed back to his motel about a fifteen minute drive from the casino only to get grabbed at the door by somebody he never saw. Once pushed into his room he was hit over the head and robbed. All of his money was gone along with his wallet and no idea of who did it. A perfect robbery of a dumb ass kid netted over $25,000 for some street thug. Do not let it be you.

The World Series of poker is full of single guys with tons of cash falling out of every pocket and many of the pretty girls running around that place intend to get that money by whatever means necessary so realize that your robber could be the girl you invited into your room. Be aware and do not carry so much cash.

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