Police Raiding New York City PartyPoker Clubs

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November 21, 2021

NEW YORK - On a busy night at the New York Players Club in upper Manhattan, vice squad officers wearing bulletproof vests and raid jackets dealt the underground partypoker scene a losing hand.

The team entered unannounced at 11 p.m., detaining dealers, snatching up piles of cash and sending dozens of card players home with empty pockets. Downtown, another popular card club, Playstation, also was shuttered. In all, police arrested 39 employees and confiscated $100,000.

The raids on May 26 - dubbed "Black Thursday" by one partypoker.net Web site - and two more last month have sent a chill through the city's clandestine poker scene.

Several members-only card clubs closed their doors after 13 arrests on Oct. 16 at the Broadway Club in the Flatiron District, where the Yankees' $25-million-a-year third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, reportedly had played. On Oct. 28, a second-floor parlor on the Upper East Side, the EV Club, became the site of more vice squad arrests.

Regulars at the Manhattan clubs, including professional card player Phil Hellmuth, have questioned the crackdown while predicting the popularity of PartyPoker and its potential for profit make it unlikely the chips will be down for long.