Dallas Poker Rooms Get SWATted. Again.

For the second time in two months, SWAT teams in Dallas fanned out to knock off the city's underground poker rooms.  The Pokerati blog has firsthand accounts of police breaking through windows, kicking down doors, and charging -- assault weapons drawn -- into peaceful gatherings of people playing cards.

Sleep safe, Dallas.  Your children are no longer threatened by Texas Hold 'Em enthusiasts gathering behind closed doors to wager their own money on a card game.  At least until those check-and-raise-scum try to play again.

Also this weekend in Dallas:  A "senior corporal" in the DPD was arrested for drug distribution, and another Dallas cop is under investigation for roughing up a Whataburger cashier.  Oh yeah, there's also a serial armed robber on the loose.

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  • ||

    I've pointed this out before... I wonder how many of these jack-boots have poker nights with their buddies? What's the difference?

  • ||

    What's the difference?

    They're above the law. Don't you get it?

  • ||

    "You know the score, pal. If you're not cop, you're little people."

  • ||

    In which thread do we post our jokes/complaints that the "looking for the perfect gift?" girl looks like a transsexual?

  • ||

    i had an unusually easy commute this morning, actually got to run some errands and still got to the office on time. it's also a short week due to the thanksgiving holiday. it's like a new happy and exciting world!

    and h&r brings me right back to reality.

  • ||

    Why would they be playing cards with assault weapons drawn? Sounds like a pretty rough game....

  • ||

    tarran,

    Or a amok-running replicant.

  • ||

    Oh yeah, we're all safer now. Jesus Christ...

  • ||

    Years and years ago, I saw a guy on The Mike Douglas Show who could throw a playing card in such a way as to embed it in the skull of a mannequin. Maybe the cops saw that show, too?

  • PJ Doland||

    I think Mitch is projecting his desires.

  • Jennifer||

    What is the EXCUSE for making such things illegal? The drug ban at least has an excuse behind it: "drugs turn people into mindless crime-zombies." It's bullshit, of course, but at least it's an excuse. What is the alleged threat to the republic posed by poker games?

  • ||

    Huh. I did some research on the lethal potential of a thrown playing card. There's some seriously amazing throwing going on out there, but Mythbusters tested the claims and came up short.

    So much for the one, possible excuse for using S.W.A.T. tactics on poker players.

    For anyone who is interested, Google "'playing cards' and weapon".

  • ||

    "What is the alleged threat to the republic posed by poker games?"

    The government wasn't getting its percentage.

  • ||

    What is the alleged threat to the republic posed by poker games?

    The threat is that they won't spend their money at state licensed casinos.

  • ||

    What is the EXCUSE for making such things illegal? The drug ban at least has an excuse behind it: "drugs turn people into mindless crime-zombies." It's bullshit, of course, but at least it's an excuse. What is the alleged threat to the republic posed by poker games?

    The excuse I've commonly heard is that gambling is addictive and is therefore a public health concern. The image that accompanies this argument is of somebody wagering his family's house on a card game because he ran out of money with which to call -- then losing, and then going on a burgulary spree to pay his gambling debts. The idea of this sort of thing happening at small-time poker games is somewhat ridiculous, but hysterias don't run on rational fears.

  • ||

    Dallas PD, priorities, priorities, priorities. Any questions?

  • ||

    I think it's obvious these cops are only practicing a heavy bust, just in case they need to do it for real against some truly dangerous characters.

    For example, if a bunch of potheads get together to watch MST 3000.

  • ||

    Great post, Mr. Balko. Though I detect a bit of sarcasm in it.

  • ||

    Did I miss it? Is the Dallas PD the new LAPD? I guess there is something to be said for having the biggest gang of thugs in town....

  • ||

    The image that accompanies this argument is of somebody wagering his family's house on a card game because he ran out of money with which to call -- then losing, and then going on a burgulary spree to pay his gambling debts.

    This image is most commonly promoted by Las Vegas casinos who are trying to get voters in California to vote against liberalization of Indian gaming. Just another reason that the initiative process in California is a total waste of resources.

  • ||

    I say if we are going to bring back the draft, then we draft the Dallas SWAT and send them over to Iraq to bust down terrorist hideout doors. And they wouldn't even have to be trained first; they can hit the ground jackboots running.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The total donkeys cartoon at Pokeratti was great...

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Seitz, I voted for Indian Gaming when it first came on the ballot years ago figuring it was a step in the right direction. Big Fargin Mistake. Now the Indians have all the political power and money and gaming will never come close to being legalized in Ca. If I had it to do over again I would never vote to give the gambling monopoly to the Indians. And worse than all that, when you drive through the reservations and look at the houses, they look exactly like they did 20 years ago, falling down ramshackle dumps that you wouldn't live in. Somehow the money just ain't trickling down, or so it would appear. Just an example of how half-way measures can backfire big time.

    The other irony, is that in many cases the casino interests from Nevada are actually managing the Indian casinos in Ca.

  • brian423||

    More proof that use of the word pig to describe some cops should be no more controversial than quack or shyster for some doctors and some lawyers.

  • ||

    I note that the Pokerati blog says there was virtually no media coverage of the raids, which is disappointing.

    I don't think the raids would sit well with most people, since just about everyone enjoys an occasional game of poker. [Including me, even though I have more tells than a Rossini opera and am usually first out.]

  • ||

    Seitz, I voted for Indian Gaming when it first came on the ballot years ago figuring it was a step in the right direction. Big Fargin Mistake.

    Well, my point was that Indian casinos are great or anything. My issue has more to do with the initiative process in general than any of the specific propositions themselves. But I don't necessarily disagree with your digression.

  • Ryo||

    Ricky Jay "was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card 190 ft at 90 miles per hour ... Ricky Jay can throw a playing card into a watermelon rind from ten paces". He was on the previously mentioned episode of the Mythbusters. While probably not lethal, I wouldn't want to be hit by a card at 90 mph. That's gotta smart.

  • ||

    And he was in Boogie Nights!

  • ||

    Pro Libertate and Ryo: In my young and carefree days I was a playing card thrower. My record was 150 feet or so. I stopped after I almost put someone's eye out.

  • R C Dean||

    [Chuck Norris] can throw a playing card into a ______________ from ten paces.

    It practically writes itself.

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    Chuck Norris can throw a playing card through a black hole. The law of gravity? Ha! Chuck Norris never studied law, you see.

  • Robert||

    Let me get this straight. There are named poker establishments in Dallas, and it's illegal? Was it just that the law was unenforced for a long time and thought to be a dead letter?

  • gary carson||

    In Texas poker nights with your buddies is legal. Running a poker room where the games are raked is not.

  • ||

  • ||

    I am not justifying SWAT tactics, but this is hardly poker nights with their buddies. After watching the CBS11 video on this, it appear the Dallas police were busting up illegal casinos.

  • ||

    Sounds like somebody lost a bundle or didn't get invited to play.

  • ||

    "I say if we are going to bring back the draft, then we draft the Dallas SWAT and send them over to Iraq to bust down terrorist hideout doors. And they wouldn't even have to be trained first; they can hit the ground jackboots running."

    I would bet you that most of them would do their best to get out of it. Being a thug is a little more intense when the victims shoot back. It's nothing at all like pointing guns at people that are unarmed and not likely to be a threat.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate - Didn't you mean to say "Chuck Norris can throw a playing card through a black hole. The law of gravity? Ha! Chuck Norris IS the law!"

  • ||

    rob,

    Yes, in a pure Chuck Norris vein, your statement is the superior one. I just couldn't resist the Bugs Bunny tie in.

  • ||

    Doh! I missed the Bugs reference. Yours IS funnier.

  • ||

    Gambling is often a very addicting vice, and the only ones that are legally allowed to profit from one's misfortune to fall victim to it, is the State. If you lose all your money to your "friends" through poker, how can you buy a lottery ticket????

  • Robert Goodman||

    "In Texas poker nights with your buddies is legal. Running a poker room where the games are raked is not."

    Then why would they name such an establishment something so obvious as "Aces High"? Is it supposed to work like labeling your truck "International Cocaine Smugglers"?

  • ||

    The card rooms in Dallas aren't illegal casinos, although the Texas Penal Code doesn't actually make much of a distinction. There are two points here, one about the allegedly "seedy" nature of the games, and one about what the law does and doesn't allow (and, of course, a third, normative, issue about what the law should and should not allow).

    As to the first point, if you are imagining a smoke-filled room patronized by career criminals who are glorifying their own vice by gambling, you're treading entirely the wrong path. Think instead of inviting 40 or so professionals and retirees to your home to play cards.

    The second point, however, makes the first one mostly irrelevant. If these places were predatory, crime-ridden illicit casinos, they'd get basically the same legal treatment.

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