BY TOM SOMACH
This time it was in Tennessee, where police in Kingsport raided a poker game Friday night and arrested 16 people, including 82-year-old William Paul “Cigar” McKinney, who won a WSOP event in 2005.
According to the Times-News, a Kingsport newspaper, police vice squad officers, acting on a tip, raided a building on Fort Henry Drive at about 9:30 p.m. Friday and found an illegal poker game in progress.
The officers busted 16 poker players, charged them all with illegal gambling and seized playing cards, poker chips, drugs, “moonshine” liquor, a gun, football betting slips and $19,900 in cash, the newspaper reported.
In addition, some of the gamblers, including McKinney, were also charged with drug or weapons or other offenses, the newspaper reported.
Police said McKinney, in addition to participating in illegal poker playing, was also an illegal sports bookmaker, booking bets on football and other sports, the newspaper reported.
In addition, when searched, police found some unidentified pills on the octagenerian and hit him with a narcotics charge, the newspaper reported.
Another man at the game was in possession of illegal liquor–so called “moonshine”–and was charged for that, while another player was charged for having a gun, the newspaper reported.
Referring to the tip from the public that led to the poker raid, Kingsport Police Chief Gale Osborne told the newspaper:
“It takes all of us. It’s vital that we have the eyes and the ears of the community to partnership with us. It’s truly the public saying enough is enough. Whether it’s drug activity or gambling or domestic abuse, it takes people saying we’re going to have a safe community in Kingsport.”
Charged were: Donnie Godsey, 46, of Church Hill, Tenn., who ran the game, with aggravated gambling promotion; Randy Leonard, 37, of Bristol, Tenn., with gambling; Mark Ketron, 42, of Kingsport, Tenn., who had the moonshine, with gambling and possession of untaxed liquor; William Carey, 72, of Clinchport, Va., with gambling; Randy Sims, 38, of Elizabethton, Tenn., who had the gun, with gambling and going armed; James “Cole” Dolan, 51, of Kingsport, with gambling; James “Eric” McConnell, 36, of Kingsport, with gambling; and William Paul “Cigar” McKinney, 82, of Weber City, Va., who helped run the game, booked sports bets and had pills, with gambling, possession of a gambling device, aggravated gambling promotion and narcotics possession.
Also charged were: Clarence Begley, 71, of Kingsport, with gambling; James Bradley, 51, of Kingsport, with gambling; Cecil George Bradley, 71, of Kingsport, with gambling; Scottie Brown, 32, of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., with gambling; Robert J. Woods, 33, of Johnson City, Tenn., with gambling; Timothy Ruckman, 47, of Gray, Tenn., with gambling; David Palmer, 31, of Kingsport, with gambling; and Jerry Sheets, 66, of Johnson City, with gambling.
According to WSOP records, McKinney in 2005 won WSOP Event #34, a no-limit Texas hold ‘em tournament for senior citizens, and earned $202,725.
He also finished 10th in a WSOP no-limit Texas hold ‘em tourney in 2006, earning $43,530; and third in a WSOP pot-limit Texas hold ‘em tournament in 2003, earning $37,820.
In addition, he finished in the money in 11 other WSOP tournaments.
All in all, his total winnings from poker tournaments for his career–including WSOP and other tournament events–adds up to $532,611.
WSOP gold bracelet-winners getting busted for playing in illegal card games is nothing new, though.
Two months ago, Maciek “Mike” Gracz, 26, of Raleigh, N.C., who won a no-limit Texas hold’em tournament at the 2005 WSOP and earned $594,460, was among 74 people charged with illegal gambling when cops raided an illegal gambling den in Benson, N.C.
It was Gracz’s second bust for playing poker illegally.
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])