Idaho Pensioners Raided In Police Poker StingFebruary 28, 2010 7:06 am
A group of Idaho pensioners received a shock this month after having their friendly poker game of five years raided and shut down by police officers.
Despite their advanced years, the 20 or so retirees would meet up at the Twin Falls Senior Center every Friday and play Texas Hold ’em, each contributing $20 from the start with the money eventually being shared out amongst the winners.
The group mostly started playing poker since retiring and their weekly poker get-together was seen as a way to socialise and pass the time away, as well as adding a bit of spice to their week.
Wheelchair user Norman Pohl said, “I don’t have many things that I can do. I met so many people … I would look for it every week,” while Shirley Basham, 75 said she enjoyed the game because it was a fun way to socialize in comfort without putting any physical strain on her body.The group said that when they played, it was always within reasonable limits and, as Basham explained: “There are some of us who don’t get to play every week because of our budgets.”
One thing the elderly group agreed on is that they didn’t know what they were doing contravened state law, especially since they would donate between $400 and $500 each month to help support the Twin Falls Senior Center. Ora Deahl, 73, said, “because of contributions given to the center, we thought we were legal.”
However, Idaho law takes a different view and defines illegal gambling as “risking any money, credit, deposit or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, the operation of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, baccarat [baccarat’] or keno.”
Since the police bust, the senior citizens have changed the rules of their game and now play poker at the Center without money, although they feel that the excitement they would previously have received from winning a pot was now pretty much gone.