It's been a busy week for Atlanta area police as they have worked overtime to snuff out the dangerous game of Texas Hold-Em. In two unrelated raids on opposite ends of Metropolitan Atlanta, Clayton County sheriffs closed down the Poker Palace in Jonesboro, Georgia while Roswell police raided the suburban home of Dan and Angela Tyre.
The two locations are the polar extremes of poker in the Atlanta area. The Jonesboro location can be found in one of the endless string of strip malls in the Atlanta area while the Roswell location is in an attractive home at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac. Clayton County sheriffs arrested 53 people, including Clayton County Magistrate Court judge Dorian Murry. Sheriff Victor Hill said his department's Joint Vice Task Force had logged over a month of undercover surveillance culminating in the raid. Hill also stated that someone connected to the Poker Palace offered him a bribe to keep the operation open. "The sheriff's office is not for sale and those who wish to do any illegal activities in Clayton County will face the same consequences with no hope of safety, " said Sheriff Hill.
The Roswell game grew over the years from a neighborhood gathering to watch Monday Night Football to a three-table card room. The game included two cocktail waitresses with players from the Atlanta area as well as Pittsburg and Savannah.
"I've been with the city for going on 27 years, and I've not seen an operation like this," said Roswell Police Sgt. B.C. Brackett. The investigation into this residential game followed a familiar pattern, with fellow homeowners complaining about excess traffic and parked cars late into the night. "We have no idea what people are doing in their homes, or when they gather their friends together," Roswell Police Chief Ed Williams said. "We operate based on complaints the vast majority of the time. That's how this one originated."
Police officers including a SWAT team broke into the basement of the home of Dan and Angela Tyre at 10:30 Monday evening. Over twenty cars were impounded as officers led players and their confiscated cash and chips away, well into Tuesday morning. Charges included commercial gambling, drug possession, illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal gambling; a misdemeanor.
The two raids further illustrated the risks any citizen faces heading to a poker game in the Atlanta area. Host a regular game at your own peril.