Monday May 19,2014 : A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR POKER CHAMPIONS
Be sure to thoroughly check out those private game offers.
Details of a three-year-old crime story that surfaced this week in the Czech Republic should serve as a cautionary tale for successful high profile poker pros who are tempted to accept offers to play at private tables.
The poker information site PokerArena reports that 2011 World Series of Poker runner-up Martin Staszko was the intended victim of an elaborate kidnapping and extortion attempt by Czech criminal elements, who contacted him through the Czech Poker Association with an offer to hire him for a private home game in France soon after he won $5.43 million as runner-up to Pius Heinz in the 2011 main event.
A person now the subject of a police investigation and identified as crime boss Michael Šváb was behind the plot, and according to the report he used the false identity ‘Robert Keiner' in trying to persuade the then 35-year-old Staszko to travel to Cannes for the game, which he said was a Christmas gift for his father.
Staszko was smart enough to decline, and only this month became aware of how close he was to a dangerous situation when the police announced the Prague arrests of seven individuals allegedly involved in at least six similar attempts to lure wealthy Czechs to locations where they could be easily kidnapped and held to ransom.
The report indicates that in two cases the victims were never seen again.