In the movie 'Rounders', the characters would make their living going to underground card clubs in New York City like the Chesterfield. Two real life Chesterfields were shut down this past Thursday in Manhattan. Police, after conducting an elaborate six month sting operation, raided and shut down the Playstation Club on 14th Street, and the New York Players Club, uptown on 72nd St.
Thirty nine people were arrested, and over $100,000 in cash was seized. Lt. Pasquale Morena of the NYPD said "These are two of the largest poker casinos in the city."
The clubs were both highly organized well run operations, with Valet Parking, massages, and custom imprinted chips at the NYC Players club. The dealers at the NYC club actually received health insurance as part of their compensation. The clubs were generally open from 1pm to 6am during the week, and the establishment would stay open from 1pm Friday to 6am Monday morning.
The clubs made money by instituting a seat charge, meaning every 30 minutes, each player would have to pay a small fee, say $5 to keep his seat at the table. There were approximately 12 tables at each location, all of which were full at the time of the arrests. "It's not illegal to play poker, only to profit from it," Morena said
Lt. Morena also said that the clubs were generating between $20,000 and $30,000 a night.
Usually, players would need to be sponsored by a known member to gain access, but Moreno said this policy was inconsistent, and at certain times, players would simply walk in.
Each club was raided at 11 p.m. Thursday night. Morena said most of the players, none of whom was arrested, appeared glad that it was the police, not robbers, storming in. "They thought they were getting robbed,"
The people arrested were charged with promoting of gambling, and possession of gaming devices. All offenses are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail.
Where is Teddy KGB when you need him?
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