SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- Two recent arrests in Saratoga Springs raises questions about how to hold' em when it comes to playing a game of poker. Two men allegedly held illegal Texas Hold' Em games twice weekly out of Saratoga Springs. We found out what sets popular weekly games at home apart from illegal gambling operations.
Shuffling and dealing cards for Bob Daubney is second nature. After all, he used to play in major national poker tournaments and even brought home a trophy. "In the olden days they used to call me rabbit, because they thought I was lucky but I was a good player too," said Daubney.
Daubney now owns his own shop where he sells everything you'd need to hold a poker tournament in your own home. "I get invited by everybody, everywhere, all the time," he added.
He says household poker games are widespread, but if you're not playing by the rules you could end up in jail. Earlier this month the NY state police searched a building in Saratoga Springs after a 2 month investigation led to an illegal Texas Hold'Em game played every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Police arrested 27 year old Arthur Wexler and 44 Joseph McTiernan for promoting gambling in the second degree. "Say the person running the game is taking 50 dollars out of the pot that's promoting gambling," said Attorney Steve Coffey.
He says the rule is pretty simple, paying the host ahead of time or taking a cut from the pot frequently can get you in trouble. "five, six, seven people makes no difference, play for a dollar or a million dollars, the size of the pot makes no difference," Coffey added.
At Daubney's his play at home customers come in to ask for his expert advice on poker games. "Weekends you know a lot of people play little tournaments," Daubney said.
He tries to steer them clear. "I'll say be real careful, be careful where you play and when you play," Daubney said.
"The smaller the operation the less concerned authorities are," Coffey added.
In Saratoga Springs investigators seized around $3,000, but Coffey says chances are your home tournament with friends won't get much attention from police. The two men arrested in Saratoga Springs will be in court again on the 22nd of October. Both men could face up to a year in jail for their charges of promoting gambling.