9 arrested in social poker room raids in Houston
The two locations reportedly broke local laws with the games
Despite having hosted a major tournament when the Card Player Poker Tour (CPPT) rolled into Texas last July and August, the Post Oak Poker Club was targeted by Houston police this week for allegedly violating Texas gambling rules. The club, along with the Prime Social Poker Club, both came under attack, leading to the arrest of nine individuals.
Poker, as well as all forms of gambling, are illegal in Texas. However, the poker rooms were operating as social clubs that had individuals purchase memberships, while the venues didn’t make any money from table games. This way, they were reportedly operating within the legal framework of the state.
The two clubs were raided by the Houston Police Department Vice Division and the District Attorney (DA) Office’s Money Laundering Division. They seized laptops, gaming equipment and ledgers the Harris County DA, Kim Ogg, said after the raids, “Poker rooms are illegal in the State of Texas. We are changing the paradigm regarding illegal gambling by moving up the criminal chain and pursuing felony money laundering and engaging in organized crime charges against owners and operators. Players are not being targeted.”
The raids had to be politically motivated. The clubs have been operating for two years and everyone – even law enforcement – has visited the operations. Apparently, gambling leads to “organized crime and fuels other criminal activity,” if the Houston Police Chief can be believed.
In a small stab at irony, the raids took place because poker is “illegal gambling,” yet the House just approved a bill that would legalize daily fantasy sports.