Details of the incident
A pro poker player was the victim of a robbery on July 1 outside of the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The casino is hosting the World Series of Poker (WSOP) up until the middle of July, with the main event set to begin on July 3 with a $10,000 buy-in.
The player in question is Joseph Salvaggi, who has won $37,079 in his time playing poker tournaments as a pro. He posted on Twitter at about 5:10 AM local time, saying:
Just got robbed at gunpoint at @wsop Pavilion parking lot of the Rio. Guy jumped out of car in camouflage, shoved a gun in my face and demanded my backpack with thousands in it and the keys to my car. Scariest moment of my life.”
The logs from the Las Vegas police department show that the incident got reported to them at 5:05 AM from the hotel. Salvaggi went on to say that the police could tell by the surveillance video footage that the robber was targeting him as he followed the poker pro into the parking lot. The robber did not wear a mask.
The WSOP’s official Twitter account subsequently reminded players about security protocols in a tweet which said: “WSOP offers security escorts to our parking areas to any guest who requests one. Please contact the nearest yellow-shirt security officer in WSOP areas. We also have safety deposit boxes for use in WSOP cage, as well as wire transfer and check as payment methods.”
Reactions to the robbery
Since news of this robbery came out, there have been varied responses from the public. Some are saying that the player should have been more careful when carrying such significant sums of cash. Others have maintained there should be better security on offer from the WSOP and the Rio Hotel and Casino.
According to the police, four items were taken off the victim and the robber fled the scene in a red vehicle. It is believed that at least $10,000 were stolen, as Salvaggi claimed he lost his “main event money”.
The casino property owners, Caesars Entertainment, have issued a statement informing that they are working with Metro to investigate the theft claim. They added that extra security is on site to patrol the parking garages for the duration of the tournament, and suggested that WSOP participants take the following further steps to keep their money safe:
Utilize safe deposit boxes provided upon request to all participants
Utilize wire transfer and check options for payment
Choose tournament buy-in accounts, where funds can be left for summer
This could be one of the last times that the WSOP takes place at the Rio. There have been talks that after Caesars merges with Eldorado Resorts, it will look to sell the casino. Rumors have also been hinting that the casino site could be demolished to make way for a Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium.