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Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Canada Continues Crackdown

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

In what’s being called one of the largest poker raids in the history of the province, authorities in Ontario, Canada, Thursday night raided an illegal poker operation in Toronto and arrested 61 people for playing Texas hold ‘em.

According to the Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, about 40 Toronto police officers raided the Thornhill Social Club on Finch Avenue West in Toronto at around 11 p.m. Thursday and seized cash, poker chips, playing cards and other gambling paraphernalia, before arresting 61 people at the club who were playing Texas hold ‘em poker.

All 61 were hit with gaming charges, and one of the 61 was also charged with cocaine possession, the newspaper reported.

The raid was the culmination of an 11-month joint investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the police departments from Toronto, York, Durham, London, Windsor, Hamilton and Ottawa, the Globe and Mail reported.

Ontario Provincial Police detective Emilio DiPoce told the newspaper that illegal Texas hold ‘em games have become “an epidemic” in the province.

He also said the Thornhill Social Club has a troublesome history, noting the club was robbed at gunpoint last year and shots were fired at police who pursued the robbery suspects. =A0

“Ever since all the televised tournaments, it (Texas hold ‘em) has just been rampant all over the city,” DiPoce said. “Now it’s not just run out of these clubs, but liquor-licensed establishments, too. We’re finding more and more of them.”

Two weeks ago, the Ontario Provincial Police broke up an illegal Texas hold’ em operation in Kitchener, near Toronto, where poker paraphernalia, marijuana, cocaine and $8,000 were seized.

A month ago, multiple police forces combined to raid two illegal poker games in the province, seize poker gear and almost $9,000 and arrest 26 people.

One game was in a private home in Waterloo and the other game was in a hotel room in Guelph.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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