This poker story out of Houston is fucking crazy. For those who don’t play poker, never bet an over or lost on a flush, etc., let me give you the law of the land. It is illegal to gamble in Texas. Essentially. So, your friends, boyfriends, coworkers with bookies…illegal. You may say, but wait, haven’t I seen poker houses in Texas? Yes, you have.
Over the last few years Poker houses have been popping up all over Texas. The first one showing up in Austin (Texas Card House). Because, lucky for gamblers around Texas, these Poker houses have found a grey area in the law.
You see, under the laws of Texas, it is illegal for a third party to benefit from a gambler’s loss. But unlike Vegas, Poker houses in Texas do not take a rake from the pot and so do not directly benefit from a gambler’s loss. They operate strictly off memberships + food/drink sales.
It’s an incredible technicality that has allowed for (essentially) legal gambling in Texas. So, as the Poker houses have popped up around Texas, so have investors with deep pockets – financing some incredible establishments, some on par with what you would find in Vegas. The Texas poker houses aren’t hidden away in random neighborhoods or sketch locales, they are smack dab in the middle of Houston, Austin and San Antonio.
The most notorious Texas Poker Houses are in Houston. Prime Social is one of those big dogs and they’ve been killing it. Day in and out they have had all types of patrons: business men, cops, drunks, professional athletes, prosecutors, frat stars, degenerates, etc.
Well, sometime in the midst of Prime Social growing over the last few years, they came into contact with Houston District Attorney Kim Ogg’s right hand man, Amir Mireskandari’s. Amir was Ogg’s campaign finance committee chair in her 2016 race. Once she took office, he became a consultant on her financial crime investigations team, although he is not a lawyer. He’s also apparently boys with Trump.
According to sources, the communications between Amir and Prime Social went something like this:
Amir approaches Prime Social, knowing Prime Social is living in a grey area that they would like to make clear.
Amir: If you donate to the Democratic party (AKA help keep us in power at the DA’s office) we’ll get this city ordinance passed which will officially legalize your operation.
Prime Social: Hmmm
Amir: We will also keep you safe of any law enforcement issues.
Prime Social: Done. Here’s $250K.
A classic little you scratch my back, I scratch your back situation between a Poker Club and the Houston’s District Attorney’s Office.
But, here’s where things go terribly wrong.
The city ordinance doesn’t get passed.
Amir comes strolling back into Prime Social trying to collect his toll.
Prime Social: Go fuck yourself, Amir. We gave you a quarter of a million dollars and you didn’t do shit. We held up our end and you didn’t.
Amir: We will get the ordinance passed the next time around I promise!
Prime Social: Nah, we’re good, bro. We aren’t doing anything wrong here and we’ll make it clear another way. We don’t need you, we can hire our own lobbyist.
Amir: If you don’t give us money then we are going to arrest you for illegal gambling.
Prime Social: Fuck off.
A month or so later:
These innocent, hard working, blue collar men were blackmailed and bullied by an office that was sworn to protect and serve us Texans. They were arrested. Shamed. Treated like criminals. Had their family names tarnished. Why? Because they stood up to corruption. They said this isn’t 1910 and you’re not the mob.
Well, luckily these men hired an incredible defense team who picked the case a part real quick. Last week, just a month after being arrested, BOOM:
That’s right, all the cases were dismissed and the FBI has apparently opened an investigation on the Harris County (Houston) District Attorney’s Office. A big win for our boys, poker and justice. But it doesn’t take away from the fact these men were thrown in jail, had their freedom and liberty taken away, and were forced to pay thousands of dollars to clear their names from false charges brought on by corruption. As of today, almost a week since Ms. Ogg dismissed the charges, she still hasn’t said a peep. Yikes. How long can Kim Ogg keep this poker face? I don’t know, but until then….Gaga take it away: