Brazen Gang of Poker Fraudsters Target German Tournaments, Including Bundesliga Star Max Kruse

Dresden – A brazen gang ripped off numerous players at poker tournaments throughout Germany – including Bundesliga star and poker ace Max Kruse (35). But the Dresden public prosecutor found out about the fraud. Damage: at least 528,695 euros. Now a verdict. And that was pretty mild.

Five poker fraudsters (37 to 46 years old) had to answer before the district court of Dresden this summer. Allegation: commercial gang fraud in up to 29 cases. The most prominent defendant is also a former soccer professional: Ronny Garbuschewski (37).

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The Saxon (career end 2022) once played for Fortuna Düsseldorf, FSV Zwickau, Hansa Rostock, Energie Cottbus, Chemnitzer FC, Sachsen Leipzig, among others. According to the indictment, the kicker should have recruited fellow players at his clubs in Rostock and Zwickau for poker evenings.

Garbuschewski – who is also called “Saxony-Beckham” because of his appearance – said ruefully in court: “If you think about it afterwards, it’s absolutely not possible”. At the time, he was involved in the gang of fraudsters due to gambling debts that he could no longer pay. Another reason he gave was the amount of free time he had as a professional soccer player.

After a deal with the judiciary, the defendants around Garbuschewski, Mathias K. (43), Daniel S. (37), Gordon L. (40) and Danny S. (46) admitted to the fraud. Ronny Garbuschewski was sentenced to one year and eight months on probation. His cronies received suspended sentences of between one year and four months and one year and 10 months. According to the district court, no appeals have yet been lodged by the convicts or their lawyers.

Ronny Garbuschewski (37 today) in 2010 as a player for Chemnitzer FC

Photo: Harry Haertel

Rip off with camera and marked cards

Marked cards, infrared cameras, bluetooth headsets and hand signals were used in the tournaments. There were tiny scan codes on the sides of the cards, after shuffling the cards, the camera could scan the codes and then calculate which player will win the game.

Using a Bluetooth connection, this result was transmitted to the dealer’s ear button. By means of secret hand signals when dealing cards, initiated players (so-called collectors) could then see who could win the round and thus control the stakes. The collectors then pocketed the profits. They were later split up. Poker nights increased in Dresden, Hamburg, Rostock, Zwickau and Leipzig.

Celebrity Fraud Victim

At a poker night in Hamburg in 2014, 14-time national player Max Kruse is said to have lost 5,000 euros. According to the indictment, Kruse is one of the victims of the gang.

When asked in the process by judge Joachim Kubista (59), Garbuschewski emphasized: “I wasn’t there with Max Kruse.” The co-defendant Mathias K. (43) – who was a dealer at the time – was able to report for this. Poker pro Jan-Peter Jachtmann (55) was sitting at the manipulated table in Hamburg at the time. He is even said to have lost 20,000 euros. According to Dealer K., this was the “main test run” for the rip-off system. “If he doesn’t notice it, then it’s relatively safe,” K. explained the system to the judge. The victims didn’t notice anything at the time.

The accused with their lawyers – the former soccer professional is sitting in the back row of the dock (3rd from right)

Photo: Olaf Rentsch

2023-09-07 10:28:39
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