Texas Hold-Up

Posted: Feb 21, 2006 7:00 AM

May want to have some security at your next neighborhood poker game. That, or just cut down to 5-cent chips.

The first time Doug Thomas looked up from his cards to see a gun pointed at him, the chips on the felt-topped poker table were piling up to about $100 a pot. The Texas Hold 'Em game was just revving up last month at the Manassas electrical shop when two masked men, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, ordered players facedown on the floor.

The second time was less than two weeks later and just a few blocks away. Nine players had paid $500 each for a seat at the poker game at his Manassas apartment, but Thomas wasn't making any money, other than the few bucks he skimmed off each pot to pay for food and drinks. The pizza and wings had just arrived when the police officers showed, weapons drawn.