Once again, the worlds of poker and the courts have crossed paths. On the police blotter first this week is a high stakes poker professional who allegedly was traveling with some chemical enhancements for his good time. In our second interaction with the legal system, another poker player has sued a New Jersey casino for a ban that he created himself.
Salman Behbehani Jailed for Drug Possession
Law enforcement officials in Spain have arrested high stakes poker professional Salman Behbehani for several counts of drug possession. According to reports, the Kuwaiti-born Behbehani was aboard a private jet – which, in theory, would not be searched by customs officials – that had just arrived in the country from Las Vegas. There were 30 other people on the flight, so there are possibilities that the contraband that was found onboard wasn’t Behbehani’s.
Whoever brought the illegal materials was going all out. Confiscated by officials was 315 grams of cocaine, 171 grams of CB, 705 grams of hashish, 80 grams of crystal (methamphetamines), and similar amounts of marijuana, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, poppers, LSD, and tucibi. Tucibi is a synthetic drug of the amphetamine family that was first discovered in the 70s. Also seized was approximately $13,000 in cash in Euros, U. S. dollars, British pounds, Thai baht, and Kuwaiti dinars.
Behbehani has a mildly successful career as a high stakes poker player. In the last 13 years, he has racked up $3.3 million-plus in tournament poker earnings in his career. The highlights for Behbehani’s poker career have been two runner up finishes, one in the now-defunct Partouche Poker Tour where he finished as the runner up to Sam Trickett in 2011 for $818,799, and a second-place finish to Steve Gross in the $5000 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha event at the 2013 World Series of Poker for slightly more than $300K. Poker might be the last thing on Behbehani’s mind, however, as he was still jailed on the charges at last report.
Player Sues Borgata for Ban, Says He was “Joking” About Leaping from Hotel
In the courtrooms, poker player Scott Robbins is suing the Borgata in an Atlantic City court after being banned for life from the property.
According to reports, Robbins came to the Borgata in 2020 to take part in a poker series that featured the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Poker Open. During the run up to that event, Robbins allegedly won a seat worth $3500 through a $400 satellite. While this part of the story seems picture book for a poker player, it took a turn for the worse.
Robbins then went to the desk to check in to his room for the event and responded strangely to a desk clerk’s question. When asked if he wanted a room on a high floor or a low one, Robbins is alleged to have responded, “ If I had to jump from a high floor, would I make it?” The desk clerk allegedly warned him that wasn’t an advisable action, but Robbins pressed on by repeating the statement on several occasions. He was eventually given a room, but the story takes an even stranger turn.
After getting settled, Robbins says that Borgata security came to his room and stated that he had to undergo a psychological exam before he would be allowed to continue to stay at the property. Robbins complied and spent roughly $2000 (counting the ambulance ride and the psychiatric clearance) but, upon returning to the Borgata, found that he had been “banned for life.” Additionally, Robbins would not be allowed to participate in tournament functions on the property, and that the $3500 ticket was now null and void.
In his lawsuit, Robbins states that he made about $85,000 per year from playing on the Borgata grounds. He calculates that, over the next 10 years, he could make $850,000. When adding in the compensatory damages, Robbins is suing the Borgata for $1.2 million.
Robbins has tournament stats that date back to 2018. In that timeframe, he has won slightly more than $417,000, but there is a caveat. NONE of those winnings have been earned at the Borgata. Robbins has plenty of tournament cashes at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, some at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Massachusetts, and a handful of cashes on the WPT, WSOP and WSOP Circuit events. But there are ZERO cashes in tournament poker for Robbins at the Borgata or, to be precise, anywhere in Atlantic City, according to the Hendon Mob database.
The chances of Robbins in this case are slim and none and Slim is heading for the door. A casino, especially one that is a private entity, has the right to refuse service to a person for pretty much any reason other than race or sex. Robbins will have to prove that he was denied service for something that is an actionable offense which, according to the court documents, does not appear to be in effect. Robbins is alleging that the desk “infringed on his civil rights” by banning him and accuses the Borgata of slandering him, two difficult to prove acts.
As of press time, the Borgata has not responded to the suit, instead getting an extension until August 19 to provide a response.