[Author's note: Read the comment from 'PokerATL' for the real story of what went on in the Roswell raid; the mainstream reports have increasingly been shown to be wrong in several ways. --- hh]
It's been quite the week for S.W.A.T. teams looking for a break from the tougher routing of busting into armed and dangerous criminals, drug dealers and the like. Two recent Georgia busts now return this area to the lead, once again passing by Indianapolis, which had threatened to become the nation's leader in poker raids by taking down a couple of illicit clubs in recent weeks.
The big news was Monday night's raid at a private home in Roswell, which saw 27 arrests. This was an unusual game, to say the least. First of all, it was a 'safe' game, meaning that the cash was paid to the tournament's organizer in advance, and reservations were made over the Internet. Authorities still learned of the game, however, hence the arrests.
Second, it was a quite the high-stakes affair, purportedly. Players ponied up $10,000* each to participate in the tourney, according to initial televised and print reports. The authorities noted that they had confiscated roughly $40,000 from the players present.The raid also nabbed one semi-celeb type, professional wrestler Glen Gilberti, better known as Disco Inferno of WCW and ECW fame.
* Late edit: The $10,000 figure has now been disputed; it now looks as that may have been the value in tourney chips as opposed to the amount in real money, but no one has said exactly -what- the buy-in actually was. Here's an updated report from one of the local television stations on the story:
"'All the more serious stuff they're talking about, that's circling around $10,000 buy-ins, it's a bunch of garbage,' said Troy Gibson, one of those arrested." (--- source, 11Alive.com)
Authorities also made note of the fact that two handguns and 200 tabs of what was probably ecstasy were seized, but the stuff didn't actually come from the poker game or the host home, an affluent Roswell house. Rather, authorities impounded all the vehicles at the scene, and the drugs and weapons were found in the cars. Most of the players were Georgia residents, but North Carolina and Mississippi were also represented.
Most of the players received misdemeanor arrests, but Gilberti and Dan Tyre, the home's owner, received more serious charges as the alleged operators of the illicit event. Two woman hired to serve drinks were also arrested, though the nature of the charges against them was not immediately made public.
One would think that illegal games might lay low for a bit, but no, that's not the way things work. The very next night --- last night --- another raid went down at the Poker Palace, a probably-not-legal operation in Jonesboro. This raid saw 53 people arrested and included another person you'd think probably should have known better, Clayton County Magistrate Court judge Dorian Murry.
A local TV station reported that Sheriff Victor Hill conducted the raid after a month's surveillance, and that Hill had also been offered a bribe to allow the operation to remain open.