Tuesday, July 05, 2005



NO POKER, NO PEACE: Card Tournament at One Police Plaza to Protest NYPD Hijackings

New York, 7/5/05 – Libertarian candidate for Public Advocate Jim Lesczynski announced today that the No Poker, No Peace Penny Poker Tournament will be played at the entrance to One Police Plaza beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of Thursday, July 14. The tournament, which will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. press conference, will protest the NYPD’s recent raid of two popular Manhattan poker clubs and the wrongful seizure of $100,000 in players’ money.

On May 26, the NYPD Vice Squad raided the Play Station poker club on Union Square and the Players Club on the upper west side. In addition to confiscating $100,000 from the tables at the two clubs, the police arrested 39 employees. Although it is not illegal to play poker for money, it may be illegal to “promote” gambling.

“The Manhattan District attorney admits the players themselves did nothing illegal, yet the police walked off with $100,000,” Lesczynski charges. “They claim the money was confiscated for ‘evidence’—as if anyone needs evidence that poker is played for money. The police say they have no plans to return the money to the players and that it will eventually become city property. It is not hyperbole to say that is simply armed robbery by the NYPD.”

Lesczynski demands that the police make a good-faith effort to return the confiscated money to the players to whom it rightfully belongs. He also wants the NYPD to refrain from future poker club hijackings.

The No Poker, No Peace tournament at the foot of police headquarters is open to all—seasoned gamblers and novices alike. At penny-ante stakes, the participants don’t stand to make a bundle, but the winner will get bragging rights as the Poker Protest Champion.

Gary Popkin, the Libertarian candidate for Brooklyn Borough President, will participate. “I hardly know how to play poker,” says Popkin, “but I knew enough, when one of my nephews suggested playing with two decks because there were so many players, to ask, ‘Does five eights beat a royal flush?’”


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