Charges Dropped in Houston Poker Club Case After Consultancy Ties Exposed

Harris County (Texas) prosecutors have dismissed all charges related to the closure of two private poker clubs operating in Houston that were raided in early May. A total of nine owners and operators of the two venues, the Post Oak Poker Club and the Prime Social Poker Club, had faced a variety of counts related to the alleged operation of an illegal gambling business.

All those charges have been dropped, clearing the way for both clubs to reopen, at least in the short term. One of the two clubs, Prime Social, has announced its intent to reopen, but also noted that it was still battling a civil case separately brought against it seeking the club’s closure on “public nuisance” grounds.

The most interesting development, however, is the primary reason now asserted for the charges being dropped. According to  local Houston reports, jailhouse discussions between the two clubs’ principals shortly following the May 1 raids uncovered the fact that both clubs had been approached by a consultant in the county’s employ who promised to arrange formal legal approval for the clubs’ operation in exchange for hundreds of thousands of the dollars.

The reports name Amir Mireskandari (feature photo above), whose employment by the Harris County District Attorney’s office has since been terminated. Mireskendari, who operates several opaque investment firms in Texas and Washington D.C. and promotes his ties to the United States’ leading fraudster, Donald Trump, alledgedly pushed a scheme to the owners of both Post Oak and Prime Social. That scheme promised inside political access to District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office and to Harris County politicians as well, purportedly to get codes passed that would get the clubs existence onto firmer legal ground.

In a pay-to-play scheme somewhat reminiscent of Full Tilt Poker paying a million dollars under the table a decade ago to Nevada Senator Harry Reid to author favorable online-poker legislation, Mireskandari and two other unnamed associates extracted $250,000 from the Prime Social ownership, with another $250,000 due as the supposed legalization scheme moved forward. The Post Oak owners were offered the same deal but looked into its workings and backed away, believing it to be the scam that it likely was all along.

Mireskandari was also a significant political donor to Ogg and to other prominent politicians around Houston. That relationship is also likely to be examined, as Ogg’s office, while announcing the dropping of the charges against the two clubs, has also turned over the entire matter to the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While an FBI investigation is a concern to all involved, its federal focus is far more likely to be on Mireskandari’s pay-for-play activities than on the two Houston poker clubs, whose legality is more of a local and state matter.


Leave a Comment



filter by

Dan Katz

29th February 2020 // Uncategorised

Is the Coronavirus a Threat to the 2020 WSOP?

This has been one hell of a week. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is picking up steam globally. World financial markets have...

Dan Katz

26th February 2020 // Uncategorised

Side Bets Available at PokerStars Poker Tables

Poker is gambling. We like to say that it is a game of skill – and it is – but it is also gambling. And that’s...

Dan Katz

17th February 2020 // News, Online Poker Action, Poker Tournaments

World Series of Poker Expands Online Bracelet Schedule to 14 Events

On Thursday, the World Series of Poker released the schedule for this summer’s online bracelet events, to be hosted...

Dan Katz

8th February 2020 // Gossip, News, Online Poker Action

Phil Galfond Down €750,000 to VeniVidi1993 in Galfond Challenge

Look, I don’t typically make a habit of feeling bad when people of means lose money, but oh man, I am starting to get...

Dan Katz

2nd February 2020 // News, Online Poker Action

PokerStars, partypoker Launching Dueling Bounty Tourney Series on Super Bowl Sunday

The year 2020 is already one-twelfth gone. It seems like just yesterday that Larry David was arguing that it was too...

Haley Hintze

31st January 2020 // Misc, News, Poker Tournaments

Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Postponement of Triton Jeju Series

The Triton Super High Roller Series scheduled for mid-Februry in Jeju, South Korea has become the first poker event...