"Let's get started," said Scott Stephenson. He's been wanting to say that for weeks and Monday night the owner of Jake's Sports Cafe, finally hosted a poker tournament.
"I think it's great," said retired firefighter Bill Bryant, one of 60 players testing his skills. "Poker's a lot of fun. I mean it can be serious money, it can be addicting, it can be a lot of things, but, if its used in the right direction like Scott's trying to kick this program off. It's gonna be fun," he said.
Within minutes the room whispered Vegas. Quick furtive glances, chips shuffling, probing eyes hidden by shades...Vegas, but for one big difference. "We don't want anybody betting," aid Stephenson.
That would mean gambling, and gambling is illegal. "The DA said, 'If it's free, there's no fee, it'll be ok with me,'" said Stephenson.
Well, sort of. While it may be legal by the letter of the law, the DA certainly isn't endorsing it. "I told him specifically, 'Do not go telling people that the DA's office has said what you're going to do is ok,' It may or may not be ok, but we did not go to him and ok to run ads saying the DA's office said this is a proper way of promoting our business," said Mark Grace, Assistant Criminal District Attorney.
"Are you allowed to bet on the side?," NewsChannel 11 asked one player. "No, there's no side bets, they said absolutely no cash on the table or no talking of cash or anything like that, so, the DA would definitely shut 'em down, I heard," said player Gabe Hogan.
"What are the odds that one of these players is an undercover law enforcement agent making sure nothing happens?," NewsChannel 11 asked Stephenson. "I invited the TABC to come out, and hey, that's great, come out, play some cards, you don't have to buy anything, you don't have to drink beer, just, I hope they're on our side," he smiled.
The first place winner took home $125 and interest was so strong that another tournament has been scheduled for Tuesday night.