Just Above Sunset
July 25, 2004 - More fun and games from Paris! The chips are down.

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This from Ric Erickson, our correspondent in Paris, just hours after it happened Tuesday in Paris –


Paris - Tuesday, 20. July 2004 - A pair of hooded bandits entered the Aviation Club de Paris on the Champs-Elysées this morning, waved some big guns around in a business-like fashion, and walked out with about 80,000 euros in cash.

On the avenue, they appeared to have misplaced the ignition key for their getaway motorcycle, so they used their initiative and hopped aboard a handy delivery truck and made good their escape.

They could have picked a better time to raid the Aviation Club. This gaming club, founded in 1925, was hosting the World Poker Tour and the finale of the Grand Prix de Paris was to have been today. In theory, there were only six players at the tables, taking part in the final hands. Other sources indicate that the day's play doesn't begin before mid-afternoon.

The high-stakes World Poker Tour attracted 205 of the world's top players to Paris late last week. The winner was expected to pick up a pot of 679,000 euros and a seat at the 'grande finale' table with a pot of $25,000.

About half the players were believed to be Americans, and included names such as Gus Hansen, Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu and David Benyamine, and included local personalities such as Patrick Bruel.

The well-known singer-actor was interviewed on TV-news over the weekend, shortly after being eliminated from the tournament, which he had won in the past. He was, like all good poker players, philosophical.

The story was a leading flash item on Radio France-Info this morning, and has been repeated in the afternoon by Radio FIP. Because of the world-status of the Champs-Elysées, robberies on it are usually given wide coverage. They often happen in daylight and seem at times as if they were inspired by film scripts. The Aviation Club is located right across the avenue from the film hangout, Fouquet's, at the corner of the avenues George V and the Champs-Elysées.


Ric Erickson of MetropoleParis on top of the story…


And we have an update –

Received Wednesday, 21 July 2004 12:00:00 GMT


PARIS, July 21 (AFP) - British poker ace Surinder Sunar won the Grand Prix de Paris poker tournament, the French stop on the World Poker Tour that was marred by a daring armed heist, the organization said Wednesday.

The 45-year-old Sunar took home 679,000 euros (835,000 dollars) for his win at the event late Tuesday, which cost competitors 10,000 euros just for a seat at the table.

Players at the chic Aviation Club de France on the Champs-Elysees got a shock early Tuesday when two armed men wearing ski masks forced them to lie on the ground as they made off with 76,000 euros.

No one was injured in the incident.

… Last month, movie star and avid gambler Ben Affleck earned a seat at the World Poker Tour Championship next April in Las Vegas when he won the California State Poker Championships at the Commerce Casino near Los Angeles.


Your intrepid editor once had lunch at the Commerce Casino near Los Angeles.  My friend Joy insisted we meet there as it was near her workplace (she’s HR Director for a large chemical company, and with her law degree and daily work in the ethics of business, I do wonder why she chose that place).  It is an awful place – mediocre food and too much noise, but, then again, really great air-conditioning.  The movie star and avid gambler Ben Affleck was nowhere to be seen that day.

... and a stock photo from somewhere or other.

... actual size


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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....