Friday, February 18, 2011

Poker Tournament Chip-Cheats Get Jail Time in Florida!


Two men received their just deserts after being discovered cheating during a poker tournament at the Gulfstream Park Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

In April 2009, Lashone Dobard, 33, and Kelvin McClendon, 37, had apparently concocted a plan to steal chips from the casino during one tournament in order to utilise them in another tournament a few days later.

Having those extra stack of chips to boost their tournament chances just at the right time obviously initially worked out for the Broward County men.

McClendon tied in first place at the tournament to collect a $1,300 pay-out, as well as receiving 186 points towards entry to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Dobard, too, managed to finish near the top of the field and walked away with $320 in cash and 116 WSOP points.

However, the Gulfstream Park Casino had already grown suspicious that something was awry after noting that chips were missing during the first tournament. Those extra chips then turned up after an audit of the second tournament was completed thus leading security staff to review security video of the poker events.

It didn’t take long for them to spot the two men slipping chips into their pockets, as well as apparently working in cahoots with one another. As a result the men were arrested and subsequently in a court of law pleaded no contest to the felony of cheating.

As punishment for their immoral behaviour, Lashone Dobard received a 142 day stretch in jail, of which he had already served 112 days, while McClendon received two years probation. The men have also been banned from returning to the Gulfstream Park Casino.

Despite poker acquiring a more respectable reputation over the past few years, there will always be criminal elements trying to gain an unfair advantage over their unfortunate opponents.

Only last year, Ali Tekintamgac reached the final table of the Partouche Poker Tour Cannes, which had a top prize of €1,300,000 ($1.824,190). However, he was found to have cheated and was subsequently removed from the competition. Incredibly, a suspected Turkish collaborator of his by the name of Kadir Karabuluta was also disqualified this month from the €1,500 Holland Casino Dom Classic on similar grounds.