Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Safety Dance

How safe is playing poker in Continental Europe ? It sounds less and less safe with each festival. I have read more than one very disturbing post regarding the recent Amsterdam festival, and players being robbed at gunpoint on their way between casino and hotel. All hearsay, but it is hard to believe that people would make this stuff up just to post it anonymously on the Internet. Maybe if you're trying to nip someone, that's different :-)

In truth this is no laughing matter. I have only played on the continent once, in Vienna in 2002, and even allowing for that fact that I did my proverbials (fair and square at the poker table), I didn't enjoy it much. American casino/hotels are very safe environments. Extraordinarily safe considering the amount of money splashing around. Being able to play and stay under the same roof is a huge personal safety plus. And safety aside, you have much lower expenses, round-the-clock satellites and very competent and fair floor staff (Mike Dean * style home town rulings are much less common).

I stress that much of this is hearsay regarding playing on the European circuit - I would be interested to hear from those who have played there more than I have.

* Or is it Mike Riley ? I always mix them up. The ref who gave Rooney's penalty against Arsenal you know the one I mean !


Blogger Eyeofsauron said...

Being robbed whilst leaving a casino is perhaps the one thing which is really putting me off playing live events or ring games. I don't think it's restricted to the continent, going off what I've read on the mob forum. Nottingham springs to mind.

Playing online has it's own risks (hackers, colluders, dodgy poker sites, etc.), but I feel it's much safer than playing live.

It's a shame, because I really do enjoy the atmosphere of playing in a casino. But not so much that I'd risk my life for it though.

PS. Would you consider home games to be any safer? There's less chance of any thugs lurking around, waiting for you to leave, if it's a private game held at someone's house. I suppose it boils down to the type of neighbourhood it's situated in, and whether you can trust the people hosting and playing in the game itself. What do you think?

12:29 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Frankly I wouldn't think home games are any safer, if they're played for any amount of money. At least in most casinos you're safe while you're inside. Tony Cascarino describes being robbed at gunpoint at a private game in his autobiography. On top of that you have the issue, as you say, of whether you trust the people running the game.

I don't want to scaremonger too much. After all, I've been going to Luton twice a week for 6 years (on and off) and I've never had a single problem. No game is 100% safe, human nature being what it is, but all things considered I would rate it Internet - Casino - Home Game in decreasing order of safety.


10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was at Amsterdam but never heard of any robbery tales.

Before I went to my first festival over there I was warned by a Dutch friend to beware of muggers. However, as with all towns and cities it depends on the neighbourhood you are in, your awareness and circumstances ie alone or in a group.

I have been foolish in the past and wandered out and about (usually after some falling down water) with far too much in my pockets. Indeed last year after scooping some euros in a cash game I took off to find a watering hole not far from the Leidesplein.

My brother rang to enquire as to how I was faring and when I told him and he realised I was not sober he told me in no uncertain terms to get my bum back to the casino and put the cash on deposit. Actually sober or not it was most unwise to leave with more cash than necessary on me.

There are always incidents - one of the UK poker fraternity got mugged in Barcelona adjacent to the Casino. The bar staff in the bars down at the Marina said muggers were very prevalent there and always looking for 'easy' targets.

There have been times in the UK when I have been more concerned for my own personal safety than on the continent. I suppose in summing up wherever you are vigilance and some basic common sense is required.

Highland Blue

4:56 PM  
Blogger redsimon said...

I wouldn't want to paint Nottingham as the safest city in the world (we do have a serious gun crime problem). But I have played for nearly 3 years at the Gala and apart from the guy who saved £2 by parking his car in a very unsafe place and ended up with a black eye and money-less I have never heard of any problems. It comes down to common sense. I always get a taxi ordered by the casino and have never encountered a problem. If you come by car theres a subsidised car park (£2) accessible directly by lift from the casino lobby.

10:25 AM  

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