Columbus police warn of fraudulent poker games

Columbus police detectives are warning poker players to be careful which games they play. The warning comes after the vice squad last month busted-up a fraudulent charity game.

In mid December a classified ad in the Columbus dispatch encouraged poker players to take part in a charity Texas hold’em tournament at an American legion post on Cleveland Avenue. At the bottom of the ad, appeared what appeared to be the group’s charity license number. Well, some from the unnamed charity spotted the ad, recognized their number and called authorities to let them know the charity had not authorized the poker game.

Columbus police vice detectives say they attended the game, played a few hands, determined proceeds from the game were not going to charity, and arrested the organizers and dealers.

Cathy Mitchell and Diana Blankenship, both of Columbus, face charges of running an illegal game.

Now detectives are trying to get the word out they there may be fraudulent games out there. Sgt. Stan Latta says the chances of fraud grow with the game’s TV fueled popularity.

Friendly poker games among friends are legal, as are games where proceeds go to a licensed charity. Also, the games cannot take place in a place where liquor is sold.

Players can really lose in illegal games. When detectives raided the game in December, they let the unsuspecting players leave with their winnings. Police say that may not happen next time. The pot may end up in the police headquarters property room