Pro poker player handed 12-month probation for illegal card room role

Playing cards and gambling chips on a poker table
Image: Shutterstock

Pro poker player Joshua Thatcher has been sentenced to 12 months of probation for his role in an illegal poker room operation in Michigan.

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Thatcher was sentenced on Jan. 19 after pleading guilty on Dec. 2 to one felony count of gambling operations for his role in operating an illegal poker room known as 906 Poker Social.

Thatcher agreed to forfeit all items seized at the location to the state as part of his plea agreement. This included six poker tables, $13,050 in cash, and other money in bank accounts that were linked to the poker room.

“Unregulated gambling operations do not offer Michigan residents the same protections provided through legal, regulated gambling,” commented Henry Williams, Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. 

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board’s mission is to ensure fair and honest gaming in Michigan, and we partner with the Michigan Department of Attorney General to investigate and eliminate illegal gaming activities across the state.”

In a case prosecuted by the Michigan Department of Attorney General, 906 Poker Social opened on April 1, 2021, and closed on July 8, 2021, following a joint investigation by the Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board Criminal Investigation section.

Described as a private membership club where members gambled against each other, Thatcher charged the poker room’s players weekly, monthly, or yearly membership fees with an additional $10 per hour chair rental fee. The location offered live poker and other games.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel noted: “My office remains committed to upholding business rules and regulations, and that includes our state’s gambling laws. I appreciate the work the Michigan Gaming Control Board has done to protect Michigan residents and businesses.”

In May 2022, Thatcher also was charged with five other felony counts, including two counts of using computers to commit a crime, and a high misdemeanor count of permitting a gambling house for gain. The other counts later were dismissed.

Earlier this month, officials from the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division began investigating an alleged TikTok gambling scheme where two men played slots on behalf of others at its state casinos.