The owners of a Pennsylvania gaming arcade are facing a variety of charges connected to teaching local teenagers as young as 14 how to play poker and encouraging them to play the games for money according to authorities in McClure County.
According to a report in the Lewistown Sentinel, ‘Middleburg Police Department was contacted on July 24 because juveniles were playing poker at Sharky’s Arcade’, which resulted in the arrest of Robert L. Henry, 37, and Amanda J. Henry, 36, both of Beaver Springs.
It is alleged that a ‘16-year-old juvenile allegedly admitted to police that he had played poker in the arcade for money with the owner, Robert Henry’, while ‘police interviewed a 14-year-old who said he was invited by Robert and Amanda Henry to play poker and that “Henry taught him.”
The same youth is claimed to have told police that ‘other juveniles under the age 18 would play poker with adults in the arcade room if no one was present. Court documents indicate that if others were present to see the game, it was moved into a back room.’
The owners of the arcade and billiards hall are accused of conspiracy to allow gambling, allowing gambling, allowing gambling on premises and corruption of minors and are scheduled to appear in court on October 10th for a preliminary hearing with Magisterial District Judge Lori Hackenberg presiding over the case.
Underage poker is nothing new of course, even if this case is rather peculiar in its details.
Fans of the game will doubtless recall that Norwegian poker wunderkind Annette Obrestad who made a name for herself in online poker long before she was legally allowed to play, her screen-name 'Annette_15' highlighting just how young she was, starting her career on the back of freeroll wins.
After she came of age, just one day before her 19th birthday, she took down the first ever WSOPE Main Event held outside of Las Vegas, scooping the London Main Event for £1 million.
Another underager who became a superstar is Phil Ivey, regularly playing in casinos in Atlantic City at the age of 18, using a fake ID and acquiring the nickname 'No Home Jerome' as he was always to be found in a cardroom.
Two months ago, PokerListings reported on the success of Vivian Saliba who was only 17 years old when – ‘upset over breaking up with a boyfriend’ - her dad first took her to a card club in Sao Paulo that he used to play in every weekend. This July, now 24 years old, she finished 421st in the WSOP Main Event, a $27,743 payday.