Poker Professional Joe Sal Claims He Was Robbed at Gunpoint Exiting WSOP at Rio in Las Vegas

Posted on: July 1, 2019, 01:24h. 

Last updated on: July 1, 2019, 02:19h.

A poker professional says he was robbed at gunpoint after leaving a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suite Hotel.

World Series of Poker robbery
Joey Sal says he was robbed at gunpoint leaving the 50th annual World Series of Poker. (Image: Twitter/WSOP/

Joe Sal, a self-described professional poker player, said the incident occurred at 5:05 am this morning outside the Caesars Entertainment casino resort. “Scariest moment of my life,” he tweeted.

“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,” Sal stated.

The WSOP kicked off in late May and cards will stay in the air through most of this month. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event begins Wednesday, July 3.

WSOP Robberies

Sal’s social media post is going viral, as poker players in town for the most prestigious event in the world look to spread awareness that criminals might be targeting specific individuals known to be carrying large amounts of cash.

Sal added, “This was not a random occurrence. The police told me they have evidence via film that I was targeted and followed out of the Rio. There is no possible way they cannot get facial recognition of this guy. Or at least a plate. Why even tell me I was followed if u can’t track him???”

Sal apparently isn’t alone. Twitter user Geoff Hunter replied to his post, “I got robbed on the top floor of the parking garage at the Rio as well two weeks ago. Not at gunpoint, but they stole all my $. Filed a police report and they basically said they couldn’t do anything even though there’s cameras everywhere.”

The Metropolitan Police Department has yet to publicly comment on the alleged robberies.

Security Shortcomings

Social media is an uproar over the lack of security surrounding the WSOP. “@wsop rakes in 10s of millions throughout the seven weeks, and can’t even put proper security in the parking lot?” one Twitter user commented.

Lots of cash is coming and going at the Caesars casino during the poker marathon. A week ago today, 74 people paid a $50,000 buy-in for the Poker Players Championship. The event was won by Phillip Hui, who snagged $1,099,311 for outlasting the 73 other competitors.

Sal didn’t reveal online as to how much cash he lost in the robbery. However, he said he lost his “main event money,” which means he might be out $10,000 or more.

The Rio’s days are likely numbered, as there are plenty of rumors around town that Caesars will look to sell the aged off-Strip property following its deal to be acquired by Eldorado Resorts. Last fall, reports surfaced that Caesars was considering demolishing the property in order to make way for a Major League Baseball (MLB) ballpark.

Vital Vegas blogger Scott Roeben said that could justify billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III’s $620 million investment into renovating the nearby Palms.