Poker’s Most Shocking Murderers

2 years ago
Poker’s Most Shocking Murderers
08 May

If you think the Twitter spats which seem to surface on a weekly basis are the worst things that happen to or are caused by poker players, then think again - after reading the following two-part article on poker’s most horrific murders and murderers you’ll be wishing flame wars were the only problems we had to worry about…

Part1: The Villains

Joran van der Sloot

Dutch wannabe poker pro Joran Van der Sloot entered the annals of infamy when he was convicted of the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who he bludgeoned and strangled to death in his hotel room in Lima, Peru after meeting her in while playing poker at the Atlantic City Casino the previous evening.

Van der Sloot, apparently there to play the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), became enraged when he found out that Stephany had conducted an online search and discovered that the Dutchman was the prime suspect in another girl’s disappearance 5 years previously - Natalee Holloway, an Alabama teen who he met in Aruba, the southern Caribbean island that van der Sloot and his family called home.

The self-confessed pathological liar was questioned by police over Holloway’s disappearance, but was released without charge, later admitting:

“I always lied to the police… I never told the truth.”

According to, “He has variously confessed to dumping Holloway’s body at sea after she died from 'some kind of seizure' during sexual intercourse, to selling her into sexual slavery. Each time he has retracted these confessions.”

Van der Sloot, who married a local Peruvian woman while in prison with whom he has a daughter, also planned to release a 500-page book which he claimed “depicts me as a terrible person,” admitting that if it’s published, “It’s completely over. In every way you can imagine. Then the case will be solved and this is done,” believed to be referring to Holloway’s disappearance.

Thankfully it hasn’t all been wedding bells, fatherhood and writing for the evil double-murderer serving 28 years in a Peruvian jail, van der Sloot was ‘savagely attacked by a gang of inmates’ in 2014 at what is described as ‘the notorious maximum security Challapalca prison in the north of Peru’.

Ernie Scherer

Ernest ‘Ernie’ Scherer III seemed to have the perfect high-roller poker lifestyle, but it was all a sham based on debts and lies – the façade coming crashing down when he murdered his parents to get his hands on $2 million in inheritance money.

In a case called the Country Club Murders by CBS’ news magazine ‘48 Hours’, Scherer’s elaborate scheme to get rid of his mum and dad - and set police on a false trail – began when he bludgeoned and stabbed them to death in their Pleasanton, California home and staged the scene to look like a robbery gone wrong.

Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and his wife Charlene, 57 had different approaches to their son’s poker career, the father loaning his future murderer son $616,000 for a home, while his devout Mormon mother was ‘vehemently against Scherer's chosen profession’ as Charles Retmuller worded it at the time.

Ernie Scherer III may have won over $300,000 from his almost 30 cashes on the tournament circuit, but besides the $600k house loan from his father he was also more than $100k in hock to gambling and credit card debts – and the $2million double murder plan was his way out.

What he hadn’t reckoned on, however, was that the police investigating the supposed robbery-gone-wrong setup weren’t born yesterday, quickly picking up on all the mistakes the poker pro had made.

Leaving the warranty card for the baseball bat used to kill his parents was a major error, leading detectives to question the outsize bloody footprints he’d faked to cover his own trail. Add in the $9000 untouched in his father’s pocket and the ‘robbery’ scenario broke down quickly.

Arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2011, Scherer was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison for the brutal double slaying, with no chance at parole, later losing an appeal.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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