Saturday, September 16, 2006

From the Police Blotter...

At last! It's a sprightly return to one of those very "occasional" recurring features, wherein we return to the theme of cops --- usually at the behest of overzealous, right-pandering D.A.'s --- showing us all yet again that the private, small-stakes poker game is a Menace To Society. In truth it's not always that, but one thing is for sure: Whenever a small poker game is raided, it's because somebody else wants to make a point, even if that point is revenge.

I love 'em, those moralistic, get-even or get-ahead types. Well, no, not really.

Stop #1 takes us to a story that John Caldwell just broke over at, wherein the cops in Greenville, SC last week raided a private home game with a $100 buy-in, based on a law that had been on the books for over a hundred years (and has, you can safely wager, but only for fun), rarely been enforced. According to the report, the cops not only kicked down the door, they made the players lie down on the floor while arresting them.

What? No dogs? No S.W.A.T. team? Someone's going to have to pay for that oversight.

Stop #2 takes us to this little item from the Toledo Blade, where 24 poker players were arrested or charged with --- *gasp!* --- more gambling. A 40-year-old Steve Lang admitted to organizing the game, and was thereupon arrested for "running a gambling house," and two others were also arrested. The other 21 seem to have been issued court summonses for lesser offenses. And the total take from the search and seizure? $4,500. This after a three-month investigation into the game, based on an informer's tip. No report as to whether any doors were kicked down here, but the article specifically mentions the seizure of cards, chips, and "surveillance equipment." Sounds like the game was run in the back of somebody's small-business building.

Geez, but that's a good use of enforcement resources, isn't it? The problem is, these games never get bothered until someone makes a complaint, and then, because the laws are on the books, antiquated though they are, the police have to investigate.

The greater lesson? When you're at a private game, know who you're playing with.

Good thing I don't play poker --- I just write about it.

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