The Most Botched Poker Robbery in Europe

  • Plan, plan and then plan some more
  • Check if the money is real
  • Dress for the occasion
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Because the playing of poker is synonymous with gambling and therefore money, it should come as no surprise that there are some bad people waiting in the wings to relieve the players of their hard won cash. But if you’re thinking of carrying out a poker robbery, then have a look at these poor efforts and up your plans accordingly.

Introduction: The Most Botched Poker Robbery in Europe

Though there probably have been any number of successful raids on poker or gambling establishments, today we’re going to have a look at robbery fails. Where the pre-planning, and execution left rather a lot to be desired. And where nerves and simple criminal protocols were either unknown or ignored.

The Minella Hotel Robbery

The Minella Hotel is in Tipperary in Ireland. On the evening of Feb 1994 the place was full to the beams with gamblers as the National Coursing Festival was in full swing. (“Coursing” is the chasing of rabbits and hares by dogs and is extremely popular among Irish gamblers). Now this hotel had always been an upper class sort of place, a “Waldorf Astoria” of the countryside. So it tends to attract both high roller gamblers, rich dog owners and wealthy businessmen.

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Bad Planning

The card game de rigueur was draw and stud poker, with the pots reaching some pretty impressive sizes. In fact much bigger than you would find in regular casinos, like at Intertops Poker. So it was no surprise that it was a target for robbers intent on making off with huge sums without bothering to play at the tables. Unfortunately, the armed criminal gang overlooked the essential element of doing a recce before hand. On the night in question, it transpired that though the bar was heaving with people, there wasn’t a gambling game in sight. With nothing else to take, the robbers resorted to taking watches, wallets and jewellery. The total damage being around £12,500 in cash and valuables. Though no shots were fired, it was an exciting but failed job.

Aviation Club Poker Robbery

The Aviation Club de France, otherwise known as “Le Club Barriere” is one of the world’s most iconic gaming venues. Their exclusive gambling rooms are the subject of wonder as are the players who would frequent it’s tables. It was also a somewhat clandestine operation, with little in the way of publicity or notoriety. Yet the small and intimate venue sat on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and was on the first floor of the world’s most expensive plot of real estate, just a mere 100 meters from the Arc de Triomphe. On July 2004, the World Poker Tour was to make a visit.

Not All is What it Seems

Being somewhat brash and loud in their typically American way, the WPT thought it a great idea to display hordes of cash in a glass case situated among the tables. Not to anyone’s surprise, thieves saw an opportunity to score themselves an easy million or so in Euro. Problem was….no-one bothered to check as to whether the notes were the real deal or just fakes. And yes, you’ve guessed it, they were nothing more than fakes. At least playing online at Intertops Poker, you would win real money. Nevertheless, at 8.30 pm the robbers made there move and asked the gamblers and staff present to hit the deck. Everyone complied and within a few tense moments the robbers were on their way down the stairs, a bag of cash in hand.

Amateur Hour

In a moment of unprofessional panic, the raiders foolishly dropped the keys to their getaway vehicle, a motorcycle, on the stairs and ended up having to commandeer the first vehicle they could. A rod sweeping utility truck! For some unknown reason the raid was never fully investigated. In spite of all the TV cameras being present, along with the venues’ own security cameras, no footage was ever forthcoming. There were no arrests and to this day, the identity of the culprits remains a mystery. Word on the street has it that the venue has some heavy connections with the Corsican mafia, and they dealt with the matter in their own quiet but effective manner.

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A Poker Robbery in Berlin

In March 2010 the European Poker Tour was taking place in the Hyatt Hotel in Berlin. The main event taking place on the Saturday at 2.15 pm. Each of the 945 players all had to fork over the €5,300 entry fee. So it should come as zero surprise that an armed raid so happened to take part at that exact time. Four masked robbers stormed the place armed with handguns and a machete. According to online poker news in Germany, the cash desk was the score and they made off with €242,000 simply because there was no security whatsoever. Looking good so far. At last, a successful poker robbery! But, within a couple of weeks, all the guys were under lock and key. It turns out that planning wasn’t the poker robbery group’s strongest point.

Make That a McPrison and Fries

Apart from leaving copious amounts of DNA evidence at the scene, they actually removed their masks within the range of the security cameras. One of the gang wore the same easily identifiable bright orange tee-shirt both during and before the robbery, when he went for a stroll around the premises to check it out. Then, feeling peckish before the robbery, he retired to a nearby McDonald’s for a nice lunch. All on camera! The four men were later arrested and all the money bar €4,000 was recovered. Their time would of been better spend, looking through this list of online poker sites in Germany. At least they could of won money without all that drama.

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