Poker tragedy: amateur poker player Frank Desena was murdered November, 1, 2007


Frank Desena, 55, of Wayne NJ was murdered Thursday night Nov 1, during an 11PM  robbery at the just re-opened Straddle Club at 28th and 5th.

I heard about this tragedy from a friend of mine named Steve, who had played poker with Frank at the old Mayfair club in NYC.   Frank was one of the small group of Pot Limit/No Limit players, at a time when Limit Hold-Em was still the game of choice.  Steve remembers Frank as “a decent and intelligent guy, not one to lament or chirp at the table.”

This poker tragedy makes me wonder about whether the NYC police deparment has some sort of indirect responsibility.  Their decisions about the tolerance of poker are made on a precint-by-precinct basis, and this leads to inconsistencies in how poker laws are enforced throughout the city.   Might this in part explain why NY state poker clubs operate in a gray legal area, and have gone “underground,” where it is less safe and secure?

As soon as I started thinking about this, I sent the story about Frank to Sean Webb, who is making a documentary film (“Underground Home Game”) about how the game of poker is under attack in the US, and someone who PokerMoments will be interviewing in the near future.

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