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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Fake gambling chips used by No. 2 Nuke Commander in Iowa Poker Game

Tim Giardina
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Navy Vice Admiral Tim Giardina — the No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces — is accused of passing fake gambling chips at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in a poker game. On September 3rd, Giardina was suspended due to an investigation that is underway by the Naval Criminal Investigation Command.

Giardina has been under surveillance since June according to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent David Dales who said, “[The situation] deals with alleged violations of the law when it comes to patrons playing in a poker game.”

No details have been released from the investigation as of this date but Giardina is believed to have full knowledge that he was breaking the law when he passed counterfeit chips while playing poker at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino. The amount of the chips has not been disclosed. reports that a source familiar with the investigation said, "It was a few chips discovered in a cash game on only one occasion [back in June]."

When the Horseshoe discovered the chips, management took that denomination of chip out of play for the month that followed and players that came away from the game with the counterfeit chips were paid face value by the Horseshoe.

Iowa's laws consider fake gambling chips put into play in a casino as a felony. No charges have been filed against Giardina to date but Dales has said the possibility of both state and the federal level filing charges exists in the future. Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler has suspended Giardina and he is not allowed to perform any duties at Offutt Air Force Base. Along with the suspension, Kehler recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned.

Dales said, “Obviously the nature of the allegations, as well as the person we found out was possibly involved in this, led us to go ahead and contact the authorities at Offutt.”

Since December 2011, Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command. President Obama appointed someone to replace Giardina back in early July and he was going to be rotated out of that position at some point this year. Giardina's biography on states that he “most recently served as deputy commander and chief of staff, United States Pacific Fleet. His most recent command assignment was as commander, Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group Nine, and Submarine Group 10 where he was responsible for all 18 U.S. Trident Submarines.”

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