Posts Tagged ‘gambling problems’

Bank Robber Arrested at Casino

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I’m thinking of starting a Dumb Crook News subsection of my blackjack blog. It seems like at least every month there is a new entry for it. Today the dumb (alleged) crook is Joseph Baer.

Baer was the suspected robber of three banks in Philadelphia. He had a previous bank robbery conviction and was known to have a compulsive gambling problem, so the FBI suspected that he was stealing the money and then heading straight over to casinos to use it.

They were right. Baer was caught while playing blackjack at the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A security guard at the casino recognized him and notified a state trooper, who held him until the FBI arrived to charge him with the federal crimes of bank robbery.

Back in 2004, Baer was convicted of two bank robberies and spent six years in prison. Earlier this year, he was released to a halfway house. Obviously, he wasn’t rehabilitated, because he promptly fled the halfway house and then immediately started robbing banks again.

Wait, do I have to say allegedly? I mean, he was caught on camera doing it! On April 13, the same day he had fled the halfway house, he showed up at a PNC Bank and was captured by surveillance cameras wearing a Donovan McNabb jersey and robbing the bank. That’s two crimes in one, right? If Baer had known about the surveillance cameras, which he should have learned about in court in 2004, I imagine he would have covered his face or at least not been seen wearing a McNabb jersey. That’s just embarrassing.

A few days later, security footage shows Baer robbing a TruMark Financial Credit Union while wearing a John Lennon T-shirt. Well, at least this time he wore something cool. So it seems that he learned his lesson and figured that if he’s going to be seen robbing banks, at least he should look cool while doing it.

Or not. A few days later he was again caught on surveillance video robbing a Citizens Bank, this time wearing an Iron Man shirt. Okay, so this guy’s an idiot and a nerd. I get it.

Baer will face charges for three bank robberies and fleeing a halfway house, so this man should be behind bars for quite some time. Maybe this time while he’s in there he’ll think about the consequences of robbing banks. Because his game of choice is my game of choice, and probably the game of choice of my readers, I feel a need to say something about problem gambling. If you have a gambling problem, you should seek help. Gamblers Anonymous can help you, as can many other groups. You should always gamble responsibly and only wager money that you can afford to lose.

To help you out, here’s a little quiz. You know you have a gambling problem if:
a.    The FBI believes you’re a compulsive gambler
b.    You need to rob banks to pay for your gambling habit
c.    Even while on the run from the law you can’t resist hitting the blackjack tables
d.    All of the above

Don’t Be Like This Guy: Antoine Walker

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Every now and then I like to point out people who are the antithesis of a role model, those players who do everything wrong. I’ve discussed players with gambling addiction, players who throw temper tantrums, players who sue the casino after losing, players who cheat, players who steal to fund their blackjack bankroll and more. Today I want to discuss Antoine Walker.

Walker played 13 seasons in the NBA and made $110 million over that time, not including endorsement contracts like he had with adidas. Now not only is he broke, he is in dept and facing felony charges of fraud for writing bad checks to Las Vegas casinos.

Walker was a talented player who had his best years with the Boston Celtics, but it seems that the only thing he enjoyed more than hoisting up a three-pointer was wasting his money. Even by NBA standards, Walker’s extravagance is the stuff of legend. Even today, in all of the trouble he is facing, which includes possible jail time and a debt in the millions, he doesn’t seem to get it.

Walker seems remorseful about squandering his vast fortune, but still doesn’t seem to understand. In an interview with ESPN, he said that he thought spending all of that money was his “calling” and that his “job is to give back.” By giving back, he doesn’t mean donating to charity or helping in the community. Instead, he means taking his wife and teammates to fancy dinners, buying his family and friends (and himself) collections of Hummers, Bentleys and Benzes, and buying himself and his family luxurious mansions.

He also loved to gamble, spending “a couple thousand dollars a hand playing blackjack.” His gambling problems seem to come from hanging out with Michael Jordan in 2001, who was a known high-stakes gambler and also happened to be one of the greatest players in NBA history. As someone Walker looked up to, Jordan would hit the blackjack tables and bet thousands on each hand. If he lost, no big deal. After all, it’s only money.

Betting that much money on blackjack, of course, is stupid. You don’t need to bet high to have fun. The amount of the wagers, though, isn’t the biggest problem. That came when Walker established a credit line and began betting with money he didn’t actually have on him at the time. I have cautioned against that time and time again. It is too easy to lose track on how much you’re spending. Eventually, Walker was betting money he didn’t even have in an account and when he needed more, he wrote checks to the casinos. Of course, if you write someone a check knowing there’s no money in your account to cover it, that is not only stupid, it’s also a crime.

As a result of his poor decisions, Antoine Walker, the man who was once one of the most popular players in Beantown, is now facing a court battle over his debts, a different court battle over fraud, a different court battle over child support and a court battle over property he owns in Chicago (turns out he’s not a great landlord, either). So let me say this as clearly as I can: Do not be like Antoine Walker. Use your finances wisely at all times, especially at the blackjack table.