How to Act When Being Robbed

How to Act When Being Robbed
By Johnny Hughes

There have always been a lot of robberies of poker games and casinos. A gambler must learn the correct way to act when being robbed. The House Man should say "Take all the money and don't hurt anyone and we won't call the law." Don't look at them. Lie on the floor. Don't try to hide any money. I would call the law.

In the old days, the legendary Texas gamblers taught me to prepare to be robbed, arrested, cheated, and stiffed. It all came to pass. There were thirteen guys at a game one night when a shotgun ripped through the window screen. The robber made a player open the back door. It was very quite and over in no time. Ed threw his boodle behind the refrigerator. One reason you keep the money tightly in rubber bands is that you can throw the boodle on a roof or under a bed. You tote a big bank roll. and a little b.r. because you wouldn't want Slim and Shorty catching you broke.You pay for things out of your little b.r. and don't flash hundred dollar bills in public.

When I was a young gambler, I would pull out all the money I had in the world every time I made even a tiny purchase. People driving by could count me down. Flashing a heavy wad of cash is damn near suicidal in modern America.

There have been several casino robberies lately. Players should hit the floor. One poker player left Bellagio and was murdered at the Imperial Palace. You are playing in public with thousands in long green in front of some desperadoes. One of my best friends was murdered this year while being robbed by another guy we played with. I wrote an article entitled Death of a Gambler about him. ( Poker Pages archives)

In their memoirs and biographies, every top gambler that I can think of tells of being robbed: Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, Bobby Baldwin, T.J. Cloutier. Titanic Thompson and Benny Binion both shot folks during robberies. We have had a few heisters bite the dust in West Texas.

There was a four handed poker game in Odessa where some type of hot score or squabble broke out. Two of the players started shooting as barking iron is most common in these parts. Three of the players were killed. The survivor ran to the neighbor's house and started beating on the door. The neighbor killed him. After all, this is West Texas.

There are some real low life people out there heisting folks these days. Once that door breaks down and it is the law, everyone is laughing and happy because the alternative is one of the really bad sides of gambling. Who hasn't tipped over a sweet score and gotten really worried when you catch the breeze? Now it is proper manners in our Lone Star State to leave your barking iron in the car and not pack heat in another man's joint. I want to be with people that know how to get robbed and what everyone is supposed to do. It is not the money I want to save.

I've been robbed with pistols, shotguns, and by a lawyer with a ball point pen. Give 'em the money and hope they high tail it out of there.

When we did get robbed, some of the hot heads with guns in their cars wanted to give chase and drove off looking for a gun fight but played lucky and found none. Being in a room full of outlaws, there was not even any consideration of calling the law. You always about half way figure the finger man could be John Law or his cousin, a bail bondsman.

Once Ace and Pat Renfro were down near Corpus when some real professional robbers out of Kansas City took down a really big game. They had shot guns and tear gas and the lookout decided to open the door. Ace hid his huge diamond ring in the bathroom towel dispenser and locked himself in the bathroom. The robbers yelled for him to come on out and "bring that sparkler." After they searched every one, they lined them up and announced they were going to search them again and if they found any hidden money, somebody was getting pistol whipped. Pat Renfro pointed at $300 in his shirt pocket and said, "You missed a little dab." This was long ago and they both said they were pleased to be doing business with real professional robbers because no one got hurt.

The robbers took Ace's Cadillac and promised to leave it down the road with the keys and they were honorable about that. They missed a big paper sack full of Mexican money in the trunk. Ace had been fading craps in Mexico. The laws and the newspaper guy saw Ace counting that Mexican money in the dark and put in the paper the robbers had missed a huge amount which was not so. Ace was robbed at a motel the following night.

As I am updating my web site, Otis and the gang at Up for Poker are talking about a series of robberies in their neck of the woods.  Things don't change. 

Next time I get robbed, I sure hope the other folks know how to act.

This originally appeared on PokerPages.com