In the early hours of Wednesday morning, two masked men walked into Players Sports Bar in Madison, Wisconsin. The men, who were brandishing a gun and an unknown chemical spray, ordered customers to the floor while demanding money from the bartender. They also relieved the patrons of their wallets. Five minutes later, they were gone, but not before spraying the chemical irritant — believed to pepper spray — into the enclosed area.
"They came in to terrorize people and they got what they wanted there, they scared everybody," said bar owner Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon, a legend in the online poker world. "Hopefully, we'll find these two guys and they won't be able to do this to another establishment."
Players Sports Bar has long been a staple of the Wisconsin poker community. It’s the same bar where 13-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and online star Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond cut their chops during their college days at the University of Wisconsin. Kroon, who emerged as the overall chip leader on both Days 1 and 2 in the 2013 WSOP Main Event, occasionally works at the bar when he’s not playing poker, though he wasn’t on duty at the time of the robbery.
According to the police report, the suspects in the robbery, who were donning dark hooded sweatshirts, are described as black males, 5'9" to 5'10" tall, weighing 180 to 200 pounds. Authorities believe the pair are responsible for a similar robbery two days earlier at Burrito Drive, a restaurant about a mile away from Players Sports Bar.
"Some sort of pepper spray or bear spray or mace, we're not quite sure what the spray is but the effect is something similar to pepper spray, where people's eyes and noses and mouths are burning," said Madison police spokesperson Joel DeSpain.
The suspects remain at large and the investigation is ongoing. The amount of money taken has not been revealed.