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Poker News: March 22, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 Rocky Mountain News

Poker game picks up again

Nearly two dozen gamblers who got busted in a restaurant raid during a game of Texas hold ‘em last spring will resume their game tonight.
Prosecutors in January folded the last of their cases against the players, who called their bluff following a flubbed attempt to throw the book at them.

Officers jumped out of vans April 26 and stormed the Guadala Jarra restaurant with guns drawn and shooting glasses on, yelling "Put your hands up. This is a raid," gambler and Palmer Lake Town Council Member Trish Flake said.

Palmer Lake Police Chief Dale Smith organized the investigation involving undercover poker players without consulting the District Attorney's Office.

Nineteen people agreed to donate $50 to a charity of their choice in return for having the DA drop their charges.

But Flake, her husband and one other participant refused to ante up, fought the charges, and had them dismissed.

The case's embarrassing resolution exemplified how authorities across the state have struggled over the past year with how to crack down on illegal wagering as the popularity of Internet gambling, televised poker tournaments and sports pools has increased.

Authorities recently returned the "evidence" seized during the game that night. And thanks to some organized police work, the poker chips were returned to their rightful owners in their own, individually-wrapped baggies.

The Texas hold ‘em match resumes tonight at 7 p.m., in a barn owned by the former mayor of Monument, one town over from Palmer Lake, across the train tracks from La Casa Fiesta Restaurant.

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