New information regarding the armed robbery at EPT Berlin this past weekend has come to light, including the fact eventual winner Kevin MacPhee did not want to continue play after the incident took place.
"I think it's completely irresponsible to start playing again," he told PokerListings approximately 90 minutes after the robbery. "This is the most important moment in my poker career. We're playing for €1 million here, and you think, after a raid like this, you just sit back at the table and play?
"After an incident like this, everybody should get some time to sleep over this and to calm down. Tell me, how many people are expected to get back to work the same day they were held at gunpoint? Is there any other job in the world where you would do that?"
No Shots Fired at EPT Berlin Robbery
Officials from the PokerStars European Poker Tour now claim the robbery involved four armed men targeting the registration desk outside the tournament area at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Marlene-Dietrich-Platz. No shots were fired and nobody was seriously injured.
Despite German tabloid reports to the contrary, the EPT says approximately €240,000 was stolen and the men were armed with a handgun and a machete, not Kalashnikov assault rifles or hand grenades.
The suspects quickly fled after a security guard intervened and remain at-large as the police investigation continues. The tournament resumed after a few hours and was eventually won by MacPhee, a 29-year-old poker pro from Idaho.
A few days after the incident, MacPhee said he understood why organizers decided to play on and praised their efforts to piece together the action in the event after the robbery.
"Obviously it worked out for me, but at the time I was upset about continuing," he said. "I still think they should have consulted with the players more. Although most of them wanted to play, I think some were affected by the incident psychologically."
In response to MacPhee's comments, I.A. Tanj Mayer from the Spielbank Casino, where the event was held, said since no one was seriously hurt within the tournament hall, tournament organizers came to the decision to continue with the main event and this decision was met with approval by the players.
Meanwhile, in recent statements to the German press, Head of the German Police Federation Rainer Wendt has claimed the suspects were "petty criminals" acting "chaotically and amateurishly."
He also says they left "mountains of clues" behind and police will catch them "very quickly."
However, Wendt was also slightly critical of members of the private security firm hired by the EPT for showing up unarmed and undermaned.
The EPT claims it maintains strict security standards and collaborates closely with the local tournament organizers to insure the safety of its players.
And Mayer says the outcome in this particlar incident was not as serious as it could have been, thanks to the prompt response of tournament security, which was suitable for a tournament of this size.
"All EPT-events, which have now been taking place in various European countries for six years, adhere to strict safety standards," he said. "These standards are also respected during the EPT itself. In our capacity as the event organizers, we have done everything in our power to ensure the smooth running of the EPT.
"We had professionally trained and experienced security personnel in an adequate quantity who were watching the access to the tournament area."
Mayer said he was satisfied with the work of the security team on the premises.
"Our security team reacted in a calm and measured manner, in complete accordance with their qualified professional training," he said.
A statement from the tour says because of the events at EPT Berlin, it will enhance security measures at all future events. The next event for the tour is the EPT Snowfest at the Alpine Palace in Austria from March 21-26.
In the meantime, police are asking anyone who has information, video footage or photographs that might aid the investigation to contact them at:
The police president of Berlin
Police Press Office
Platz der Luftbrücke 6
Email: [email protected]
- With files from Dirk Oetzmann