The agencies raided two poker establishments, the Post Oak Poker Club and the Prime Social Poker Club. In addition to arresting those who own or operate the establishments, the clubs’ bank accounts, through which millions of dollars have flowed, were frozen and face being seized. The raids on Prime Social Poker Club and Post Oak Poker Club sent several other rooms into protection mode. Mint Poker was rumored to have been raided, but that was shot down by late in the.
- Prime Social Poker Club Raid Card
- Prime Social Poker Club Raid 3
- Prime Social Poker Club Raid Guide
- Prime Social Poker Club Raid 2
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Houston poker players itching for the return of two card clubs got good news on Wednesday as ABC13 Houstonreported that charges have been dismissed following revelation of conflicts of interest in the district attorney's office.
Apparently, defense attorneys alerted that the prosecutors that a potential witness for the defense had worked as a financial crime consultant for the DA's office. While still under contract with the DA's office, the individual was also consulting with the poker rooms, soliciting them in hopes of getting paid to lobby local governments on their behalf.
Further reporting by ABC13 revealed the individual as Amir Mireskandari, and he had apparently been paid around $500,000 for work in efforts to procure legal permits and gain favor with local legislators and law enforcement.
Early Conclusion to May Raids
In May, Post Oak Poker Club and Prime Social Poker Club were targets of police raids.
Authorities froze $10 million in bank accounts and seized $200,000 in cash. They arrested nine people and forced the cancellation of a five-day tournament that was scheduled to pay out at least $150,000. Dismayed poker players were left empty-handed, having bought into the event already.
Now, the $200,000 has apparently been returned, with players hopefully able to recollect their entries at some point. The case has been referred to federal investigators, but it's anyone's guess whether poker clubs operating on the periphery of the law in Houston will be any kind of priority there.
Latest in Ongoing Gray Market Situation in Texas
Prime Social told ABC13 it plans to reopen soon, but the rooms are apparently still dealing with a civil suit alleging they're a 'public nuisance.'
It's all part of an ongoing battle between the nascent rooms and local governments and law enforcement. Nobody seems quite sure whether the clubs operate legally. After several years of back and forth — the clubs having been around since at least 2016 — no conclusion has been reached.
Last year, things appeared to be swinging the way of the clubs as WPTDeepStacks took a major leap, hosting a tournament branded by an internationally recognized tour. WPTDeepStacks Executive Tour Director Chris Torina said the tour was interested in making Houston a regular stop, 'regulatory climate permitting.'
WPTDeepStacks Houston does not appear on this season's schedule at this time.
Months after declaring the rooms illegal, the district attorney may have lost this battle, but she seems intent on the war continuing. She said she hopes federal agents delve into the case, examining money laundering and public corruption as possible areas of infraction.
It seems at this time that the clubs are far from in the clear, whether or not Prime Social is able to resume operations as claimed.
TagsPoker and the Law
HarrisCounty Attorney Vince Ryan dropped the public nuisance lawsuit against Prime SocialThursday, the latest twist in the wholly unjust retaliation campaign againstHouston’s biggest poker club.
“While thefolks at Prime Social welcome this logical decision, this lawsuit was a joke inthe first place, a fake portrait created to justify the corrupt prosecution ofPrime Social employees who had not done a thing wrong,” says Wayne Dolcefino,President of Dolcefino Consulting and spokesperson for Prime Social. “Liveswere destroyed from this injustice, and the financial damage to the club issignificant. You haven’t heard the last of this.”
Prime Social was raided in May and four employees were charged with money laundering. The Harris County District Attorney dropped all the charges after learning that her senior “white collar” crime consultant and two others had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Prime Social after claiming they were working on a poker ordinance.
Weeks after the payments stopped, the club was raided along with the Post Oak Poker Club. The FBI is now investigating the possible public corruption allegations.
Prime Social Poker Club Raid Card
“The lastfour months is the perfect example of what happens when a corrupt criminaljustice system unfairly targets someone,” says Dolcefino.
Prime Socialis working to rehire employees and get back to business in the next few weeks.
“The CountyAttorney is always welcome to join the club and see what a great, safeentertainment venue Prime Social is. If he came to the club, he would see thatprivate poker clubs have ended the need for backroom crooked poker games andhave made the city safer while giving poker fans a place to play their favoritegame,” says Dolcefino.
Prime Socialhad 11,000 members and was the fastest growing private poker club in thecountry when it was unceremoniously closed.
Stay tunedfor the announcement of the grand reopening of Prime Social.