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Thread: Prime Social (Houston) Poker club raided.

  1. #1

    Prime Social (Houston) Poker club raided.

    I received news that Houston, TX. Largest poker club has been raided with possible FBI involvement. The owner (Greg) has supposedly been arrested. No further details at this time.

    This comes 1 day after Bill HB 2669 was voted down in Texas. HB 2669 was a bill introduced to have the Texas based card clubs regulated by a governing authority.

    Again, all of this is just speculation and 3rd hand knowledge at this point. Will post any updates as they come in.

  2. #2
    There seems to be some speculation that the raid has to do with money laundering and not being a poker club in general, but still no confirmation.

    However all these other clubs are business as usual as this raid is going on and the players don’t seem a bit disturbed. If it were me personally, I’d be avoiding playing until I found out exactly why Prime was raided.

    Although you’d think if they were going to raid the clubs, they’d do so all at once so the other clubs don’t get wind and start hiding evidence and shutting things down?


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  3. #3
    Confirmed a 2nd club was raided. Post Oak Poker Club.

    If anyone wants to follow, join the Facebook page Houston Poker Live.

  4. #4
    Lol, fucking idiots.

  5. #5
    Silver sah_24's Avatar
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    Gotta get them damn poker players ... society lols

  6. #6
    Update:

    UPDATE from Adam Bennett, reporter with KHOU News & Harris County DA.

    2 poker clubs raided (Prime Social and Post Oak), 9 owner-operators charged w/money laundering, a 1st degree felony. Clubs' bank accounts frozen and face being seized. Result of 2-year investigation by DA's office & Houston Police.

    Working in the industry, we are provided with Title 31 training “Anti-Money Laundering”. My guess is they wasn’t making people fill out the proper paperwork and reporting it to the IRS?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  8. #8
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    These raids were coordinated with PokerFraudAlert so they could occur just in time for this week's radio.

    I apologize for anyone's inconvenience.

  9. #9
    Silver sah_24's Avatar
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    Good thing Houston doesn't have other things to police like murder lol ...

    https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/mur...u-s-cities/35/

  10. #10

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    These raids were coordinated with PokerFraudAlert so they could occur just in time for this week's radio.

    I apologize for anyone's inconvenience.
    Does that mean radio is tonight?

  12. #12
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Yes, radio is tonight.

    For those wondering, the Texas poker rooms are "social clubs", which attempts to skirt the Texas state law against charging a rake for poker games.

    No rake is taken, but instead players must pay "membership fees" (daily, yearly, or monthly) and "usage/seat rental" fees (usually by the hour). This attempts to approximate a rake, while supposedly remaining legal.

    The problem is that Texas authorities often disagree with the legality, and liken these to a rake.

    The legal defense is that this is simply a "social club" where poker happens to take place. However, the seat fee thing starts to really encroach upon the possible legality.

  13. #13
    being someone that has frequented these places in Houston along with some in Austin I have to say it's a very gray area. They not only charge you a "membership fee" but most make you pay rake very far in advance that you have to "use it or lose it". There are some that let you buy time chips but will let you sell them back at any time and those places have NOT been raided.
    The toughest thing is all the employees that were legally working there and paying taxes and are now out of a job.

  14. #14
    Gold duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDouble View Post
    being someone that has frequented these places in Houston along with some in Austin I have to say it's a very gray area. They not only charge you a "membership fee" but most make you pay rake very far in advance that you have to "use it or lose it". There are some that let you buy time chips but will let you sell them back at any time and those places have NOT been raided.
    The toughest thing is all the employees that were legally working there and paying taxes and are now out of a job.
    Do they let you pay up with several pounds of small denomination chips sent in the mail from another state?

     
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  15. #15
    “HPD was called to Prime Social Club a number of times in 2018 for incidents involving theft and terroristic threats related to the activity taking place inside the business,” Ryan said in his statement.

    Each lawsuit seeks both a temporary and a permanent injunction to shut down the businesses, Ryan said.

    Both Ogg and Ryan called these poker rooms illegal, but the owners of the businesses maintain they are not because the businesses make no money from any of the games.

    According to Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code, gambling is against the law unless the following conditions are met:

    1. The player is in a private place.
    2. No one profits from hosting the game.
    3. The risk of losing and the chance of winning are the same for all participants.
    https://www.click2houston.com/news/l...ker-room-raids
    http://www.miraclecovers.com

    "Donk down, that’s what you say to someone after they have lost 28K straight?" - Phil Hellmuth, online

  16. #16
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Fixed AHoosierA's broken link to the press release.

    Anyway, here is the actual indictment:

    https://cdn.fbsbx.com/v/t59.2708-21/...bRCJ4sm7Q73oHM

  17. #17
    So the county is charging them with money laundering, stating that the money they are making from the room is illegally obtained due to a illegal business.

    One of the things I read in there is “open to the public” which is false. These are private clubs, but they have light requirements for becoming a member.

    On the other hand, are these clubs able to deposit millions into their account each year without it being a poker room? Absolutely not.

    I think the court proceedings are going to be an interesting battle between both sides.

  18. #18
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Interesting post from someone in a Houston-area Facebook group I'm in:

    Holy shit there’s some serious follow-me-off-the-cliff stuff going on.

    One-by-one now everyone is switching to a daily fee......because that totally changes everything. 🙄

    And for fuck’s sake...putting some Chess, Scrabble, and Connect fucking Four board games in the corner of your establishment DOESN’T CHANGE SHIT.

    I can see it now...the undercover officer reports back to his superiors, “we got ‘em sir! Let’s bust ‘em!”
    Lieutenant, “wait...stop everything...is that a Parcheesi board in the corner?!”
    Cop, “dammit! We we’ve been outmaneuvered!”

    GTFO of here with this grasping-at-straws bullshit!

    I’m disappointed with the level of criminal in this town. It’s fucking embarrassing.

    Trying to make poker legal with some Uno cards and complimentary WiFi...it’s just sad really.


    I gotta agree with this guy.

    If the remaining Texas card rooms are changing "seat fees" to "daily fees" and think that really changes anything, they're kidding themselves.

    And placing non-gambling games in the corner of the room, so as to not make it look like a poker room? Also LOL.

    This is really one of those quacks-like-a-duck situation.

    If it looks like a poker room, if poker is played there like in a poker room, if people pay for the privilege to play poker like in a poker room, and if the primary source of income is due to it being a poker room, then it's a poker room.

    It's possible they can squeak by if Texas law is overly broad to where they can legally pass it off as "a private club where poker just happens to be the main game played", but make no mistake about it, they've definitely been breaking the spirit of the law.

    It's possible they can use an "implicit permission" defense, claiming that law enforcement knew the full extent of their operation for a long time, yet never attempted to interfere with it or tell the it was illegal. So they can claim that they continued operating, with the belief that law enforcement believed it to be legal.

    This could be a criminal extension to rental law, where even if your apartment forbids dogs, if the landlord is aware for a period of time (usually 90-180 days) that you have a dog, and says nothing about it, then he's implicitly giving you permission to have the dog there.

    Maybe I'll ask Eric Bensamochan about this. Should have asked him on Wednesday's show.

    Personally I think Texas should just legalize poker, shut these bullshit unlicensed rooms down, and allow new rooms to open through a state licensing and regulatory process.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Interesting post from someone in a Houston-area Facebook group I'm in:

    Holy shit there’s some serious follow-me-off-the-cliff stuff going on.

    One-by-one now everyone is switching to a daily fee......because that totally changes everything. 🙄

    And for fuck’s sake...putting some Chess, Scrabble, and Connect fucking Four board games in the corner of your establishment DOESN’T CHANGE SHIT.

    I can see it now...the undercover officer reports back to his superiors, “we got ‘em sir! Let’s bust ‘em!”
    Lieutenant, “wait...stop everything...is that a Parcheesi board in the corner?!”
    Cop, “dammit! We we’ve been outmaneuvered!”

    GTFO of here with this grasping-at-straws bullshit!

    I’m disappointed with the level of criminal in this town. It’s fucking embarrassing.

    Trying to make poker legal with some Uno cards and complimentary WiFi...it’s just sad really.


    I gotta agree with this guy.

    If the remaining Texas card rooms are changing "seat fees" to "daily fees" and think that really changes anything, they're kidding themselves.

    And placing non-gambling games in the corner of the room, so as to not make it look like a poker room? Also LOL.

    This is really one of those quacks-like-a-duck situation.

    If it looks like a poker room, if poker is played there like in a poker room, if people pay for the privilege to play poker like in a poker room, and if the primary source of income is due to it being a poker room, then it's a poker room.

    It's possible they can squeak by if Texas law is overly broad to where they can legally pass it off as "a private club where poker just happens to be the main game played", but make no mistake about it, they've definitely been breaking the spirit of the law.

    It's possible they can use an "implicit permission" defense, claiming that law enforcement knew the full extent of their operation for a long time, yet never attempted to interfere with it or tell the it was illegal. So they can claim that they continued operating, with the belief that law enforcement believed it to be legal.

    This could be a criminal extension to rental law, where even if your apartment forbids dogs, if the landlord is aware for a period of time (usually 90-180 days) that you have a dog, and says nothing about it, then he's implicitly giving you permission to have the dog there.

    Maybe I'll ask Eric Bensamochan about this. Should have asked him on Wednesday's show.

    Personally I think Texas should just legalize poker, shut these bullshit unlicensed rooms down, and allow new rooms to open through a state licensing and regulatory process.
    This is especially LOL for clubs that have “Poker Club” in their name.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by AhoosierA View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Interesting post from someone in a Houston-area Facebook group I'm in:





    I gotta agree with this guy.

    If the remaining Texas card rooms are changing "seat fees" to "daily fees" and think that really changes anything, they're kidding themselves.

    And placing non-gambling games in the corner of the room, so as to not make it look like a poker room? Also LOL.

    This is really one of those quacks-like-a-duck situation.

    If it looks like a poker room, if poker is played there like in a poker room, if people pay for the privilege to play poker like in a poker room, and if the primary source of income is due to it being a poker room, then it's a poker room.

    It's possible they can squeak by if Texas law is overly broad to where they can legally pass it off as "a private club where poker just happens to be the main game played", but make no mistake about it, they've definitely been breaking the spirit of the law.

    It's possible they can use an "implicit permission" defense, claiming that law enforcement knew the full extent of their operation for a long time, yet never attempted to interfere with it or tell the it was illegal. So they can claim that they continued operating, with the belief that law enforcement believed it to be legal.

    This could be a criminal extension to rental law, where even if your apartment forbids dogs, if the landlord is aware for a period of time (usually 90-180 days) that you have a dog, and says nothing about it, then he's implicitly giving you permission to have the dog there.

    Maybe I'll ask Eric Bensamochan about this. Should have asked him on Wednesday's show.

    Personally I think Texas should just legalize poker, shut these bullshit unlicensed rooms down, and allow new rooms to open through a state licensing and regulatory process.
    This is especially LOL for clubs that have “Poker Club” in their name.
    I drive by Freerolls Poker Club almost every day and wonder when it will get busted. Here is their new schtick to try and stay open...security fee....$15 an hour...haha

    Per the site:
    Our only fees (other than the $10 annual membership processing fee) are for the security controls, devices and protocols we have in place to give patrons a secure environment to relax in. We define the Security Access Fee as the following: 1. Presence of and access to professional security personnel. 2. Security cameras and recording devices. 3. Vehicle escort services. 4. Security locks and devices on all entry points. 5. Environment control and conditioning systems. As a member, one will be required to sign a disclaimer notice that advises the Security Access Fee is not being paid only the services above and not any of the activities or services that may be provided in the club.
    Club Entry Processing Fee: $10
    Security Access Hourly Rate: $15

     
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