Shuffle Up and Steal

Inside accounts of a recent poker room robbery in San Antonio from a friend of mine….


Alright, so last night after a business meeting, a friend and I decided to play poker. We called a guy we know who usually runs his own game. He told us he was playing but at a different location. We assumed it was his game at a new place so we didn’t think anything of it and showed up. We got there and realized that this wasn’t his game. It was a 1/3 NL hold ‘em game with about 3-4K on the table. Was a friendly game and didn’t seem like a shady or unsafe place so we stayed…..yeah, stupid move.

We sit down with $100 in chips and commence play. The poker table is where a dining area would normally be, separated from the living area. I was sitting in seat 2 and I had direct view of the front door. Within 15 minutes of play, I see 3 guys walk in through the front door. They are all wearing dark clothes and two had their faces covered. At first I thought it must have been some kind of practical joke or something because they walked in normally without much fanfare. As they walk toward the table, I look to the game runner who was sitting across from me in seat 5 and I see him reach into his pocket, pull something out (I assumed it was his wallet), and put it into his sock. I knew, right then, that this was no joke. The two guys that approached each had a handgun; a .357 mag and a 9 mm. The 3rd guy stationed himself at the front door; he had a shotgun and no mask.

The two guys approach the table and start yelling for us to get up and face the wall. They ask where are phones and car keys were and said that if we had anything in our pockets we better take it out and put it on the table; they told us that if we didn’t and they found something on us when they did a strip search that they were going to kill us. My phone was already on the table but my car keys were still in my pocket. As I reached into my front pocket with my left hand to get the keys, I slipped my right hand into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet and stuffed it down the back of my pants. It then slipped all the way down my leg and fell on the floor. I kicked it under an end table in the corner of the room.


The guys then ask who the homeowner was and when they found him they pulled him into the living room. They then move us one by one into the living room and make us lie face-down on the floor with our hands up. The two guys then take the homeowner upstairs while the guy with the shotgun stayed downstairs with us. He kept repeating, “Don’t move; I’ll kill you, I don’t know you”. Maybe it’s just human nature, or maybe I watch too many movies but I couldn’t help but play over and over in my head the different things that could be done to overtake the guy with shotgun. Of course, I knew that this wasn’t smart because these guys were only there for the money and, besides, there were kinds in the room. If someone tried to do something and it went wrong, one of the kids could have been hurt. Anyway, by this point he had put all of our keys and phones into a pillow case. Apparently, the two guys upstairs were looking for the homeowner’s safe. So at this point there are about 13-15 of us in the living room. About 8-10 of us on the floor and the rest on the couch. This included all the players and the homeowner’s wife, two young girls and one baby.

The 2 guys come back downstairs with the homeowner and some bed sheets. The guy who had the .357 gave it to the one with the shotgun to hold and he proceeded to cover those of us who were laying on the floor with the sheet. As soon as he put it over us though one of the guys told him to remove it. Not that I’ve been the victim of many robberies, but these guys didn’t seem to know what they were doing. They seemed unorganized and were acting as if they had learned from movies or something. Anyhow, after deciding not to cover us with bed sheet, they opened the door to make their way out. No sooner than they opened the door did they close it right back. Apparently, someone in the house was smart enough to dial 911 when the guys walked in and left the line open. The dispatcher could hear everything that was going on. So, because the guys took so long trying to find a safe in the house, the cops were already waiting for them outside. The house was surrounded and there was even a chopper in the air. The guys panicked and tried leaving through the back door. Too bad for them, the cops were out back as well. When we knew the guys were leaving out the back door and that the cops were there, we made our way out the back door. I was the first one out the door and was greeted with 3 cops, guns drawn aimed right at me with one yelling, “Get on the floor and don’t move, I’ll blow your f****** head off!” I complied gladly.


The police then proceeded to get all of us out of the house and lie face down on the ground in the backyard. After finding out who the robbers were, they let us up and processed the house as a crime scene. 2 hrs later, we were all taken downtown in a “paddy wagon” and had to give statements which lasted about another 2 hrs. Gladly, nobody was hurt and the idiots were caught. Unfortunately, the police kept the money that was in the pool! Overall, those fifteen minutes of play cost me a lot of frustration and lost time. What’s this going to do to the hourly rate in my poker log?



  1. […] A firsthand account of the robbery/bust here. I’ll stay off my political soapbox for just a bit and say only wouldn’t it be nice if you could play poker in Texas at a place that can hire off-duty police officers for security? (Note to non-poker media: There’s a bill in the Legislature right now addressing this issue, fyi — HB 222 — that you may want to tie in to future stories of this ilk.) […]

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