A Florida man and his wife are suing a poker room after he and another poker player were shot during an attempted robbery in the parking lot.
Filipp Khavin was shot in the stomach while walking to his car after playing poker at the Derby Lane Poker Room in St. Petersburg on Nov. 20, 2019. Paperwork for the lawsuit was filed Monday in Pinellas County.
Khavin is a 30-year-old poker player with more than $1 million in tournament cashes, most recently on Tuesday, when he finished 21st in the $1,600 Wynn Fall Classic in Las Vegas for $3,268. He has more than $100,000 in WSOP event cashes and won the $1,000 WPT Deepstacks Immokalee in 2016 for $59,742.
He and his wife, Charis, filed a lawsuit against the Derby Lane owners, St. Petersburg Kennel Club Inc., for at least $30,000. The suit claims company managers knew about the dangers lurking in their parking lots at night and did nothing about it. The summons was served to the St. Petersburg Kennel Club on Sept. 27 and requests a jury trial. The lawsuit doesn’t say if the attacker got away with any money or if any arrests were made. Neither Mr. and Mrs. Khavin could be reached for comment.
Khavin and fellow poker player Chad Pease were attacked and shot by a man just as they were about to get in their cars at around 2 a.m. They were leaving “Chad’s Game,” a well-known high-stakes game that’s organized by Pease.
Pease was shot in the hand, but managed to get his car open with his remote key, and fled to an Applebee’s about four miles away where he collected himself and called the police. With bullet holes in his abdomen, Khavin couldn’t go anywhere.
Police who arrived on the scene about 10 minutes after the incident described the injuries as non-life-threatening, even though both players were taken to the hospital.
Both Khavin and Pease valeted their cars when they showed up to play in Chad’s Game that afternoon. But, according to the lawsuit, Derby Lane stops valet service at midnight, despite knowing about the history of robberies that have taken place in its parking lot and the significant amounts of money its poker players often carry.
The property still does not provide valet service after midnight.
A history of complaints
The lawsuit spells out just how attractive a poker room parking lot can be for criminals and basically accuses Derby Lane of setting up a honeypot for robbers who are looking to attack people carrying large amounts of cash.
In the complaint, Khavin’s lawyers note that Derby lane often advertised that it hosted poker games with prize pools of at least $50,000, and that individual poker hands in cash games have exceeded $200,000. Further, the complainants state that:
- Derby Lane knew that large amounts of cash were regularly brought into and were regularly leaving Derby Lane premises, and that large amounts of cash presented an attractive target for criminal activity.
- Derby Lane Management was aware of the long history of crime in the parking lot including the valet parking lot at Derby Lane.
- Derby Lane knew that its patrons often carry large sums of money with them to the parking lot including the valet parking lot.
- Derby Lane patrons also repeatedly informed Derby Lane Management that there was a need for increased and better security in the Derby Lane parking lot including the valet parking lot and requested that Derby Lane provide such increased and better security in the parking lot including the valet parking lot.
- Despite those repeated requests for increased and better security, and despite having knowledge of the need for increased and better security, Derby Lane refused to provide increased and better security.
A Derby Lane representative said the poker room cannot comment on ongoing legal matters.
Once featured in a scene in Oceans 11, Derby Lane was the longest continually running greyhound track in the world until Florida voters passed Amendment 13 in 2018, banning greyhound racing. The last race took place on Dec. 27, 2020. Now, the property houses a poker room and simulcast betting, but county commissioners are eyeing the 100-year old site as the next home for the Tampa Bay Rays.