Florida Derby Lane Poker Dealer Charged with Felony

Florida Derby Lane Poker Dealer Charged with Felony, Caught on Surveillance Stacking Deck

December 14th, 2017 by Chad Holloway

Last Sunday, 30-year-old poker dealer Tishun Butler was caught stacking the deck at Derby Lane, a racino located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Butler was observed on camera helping set the deck for an ex-employee, who cashed out for $29,600.

Derby Lane poker dealer Tishun Butler is being charged with scheming to defraud, which is a felony, after helping an ex-employee win thousands at the Derby Lane casino in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Image: wfla.com)

All Hands on Deck

According to local NBC affiliate WFLA, video surveillance caught Butler manipulating cards, allegedly with a false shuffle, and setting hands for the ex-employee. Reports suggest the unnamed cohort, who denied cheating but “maxed out his bets in the second set,” was able to cash out for $29,600. He has not yet been charged in the incident.

Butler is being charged with “scheming to defraud an amount more than $20,000, but less than $50,000.”

It is a second-degree felony and carries up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

This isn’t Butler’s first run in with the law. Back on January 1, 2015, arrest records indicated he was booked in Hillsborough County, Florida.

The then 27-year-old was charged with “possesion of cannabis, less than 20 grams” and “driving w/ license cancelled, suspended, or revoked.” He was released on a $750 bond. In that arrest report, Butler’s employer was listed as “Derby Lane,” though his occupation was noted as “Dog Walker.”

Black Eye for Tampa Poker

Derby Lane, established in 1925, is the oldest continuously operating greyhound track in the country. In the past, the venue has played host to poker tournament series like the Ante Up Derby Lane Fall Pokerfest, WPT Regional, and WPT Derby Lane Rebound Series.

This isn’t the first time a poker room in that neck of the woods has generated negative headlines.

For years, the Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs, which is just 30 minutes up the road, played host to PPC Poker Tour events, including the annual PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic.

At the end of 2016, the Pompano Beach-based poker tour collapsed in disgrace, after it was revealed that several winners from its 2016 PPC Aruba Main Event were due more than $300,000 in prize money. That included Stephen Deutsch, who won the event for $133,687, as well as players John Ott, Michael Lerner, James Beadnell, and Joan Sandoval.

Those players have yet to be paid, while PPC owners Bryan Oulton and Thomas “Sandy” Swartzbaugh have disappeared from the public eye.

Tampa Bay Downs is also listed in a lawsuit claiming the venue helped promote a fraudulent Ponzi scheme and that the room often sent dealers, floor supervisors, and even Silks Poker Room director Patrick Murphy to work the PPC’s annual event.

And back in January, poker player Marc Klang took to TwoPlusTwo to call out fellow South Florida pros Justin Zaki, Paul Dlugozima, Fillip Khavin, and WSOP bracelet winner John Racener for an alleged scam. In his lengthy account, which claims the aforementioned players owe him upwards of $450K, Klang referenced several games that took place at Derby Lane.

21 Responses to “Florida Derby Lane Poker Dealer Charged with Felony, Caught on Surveillance Stacking Deck”

  1. MstrBlast3r says:

    Everyone tells me the dealer is not out to get me. Apparently, in Florida, the dealer really was out to get people. I am glad they caught him. I can’t stand cheaters.

  2. paulsmall007 says:

    thats nuts, i almost took a job there dealing cards but due to the hours changed my mind, thats nuts

  3. skaterick says:

    Its not clear from this brief article what the ‘ poker dealer ‘ was supposedly cheating at . It doesn’t say his cohort won playing poker , only that ‘ he maxed out his bets in the second set’. I am guessing it was blackjack .

  4. max1 says:

    sketerick they said it was the poker room several times. they also said it was “a blackeye for Tampa poker.” they dont play blackjack in the poker room they play poker. its a given they are talking about a poker game. not sure wich poker. Just sure you either dont absorb what you read or didnt read the article which is clearly talking about a poker game

  5. Poker Orifice says:

    And he had a previous record too!! Yah.. he had… MARIJUANA!!!! OMFG! What a bad-a55!!! Seems a tad ridiculous to even include that… like it correlates to him being a thief or something.. pff.

  6. MSC says:

    It must have been a bad beat jackpot…. theres no othr way to set up a $28000 hand

    • Philip J Barlett says:

      It was a game called one card.

    • Bo says:

      That’s because it WASNT one hand. That’s how much the player (ex employee ) cashed out for. I play at DL, we have large pots. Even the 5/5 PLO games are big. As far as how he did it, they lease shuffling machines. Who’s to say if the cards in question are actually being shuffled? This really does not surprise me. Big time black eye for poker. We already have politicians trying to shut down Derby Lane, citing animal cruelty to greyhounds. In Florida, unless you are Indians, you must have live racing at your cardroom. Tampa Greyhound is also owned by DL, so they are excused.

    • Poker Orifice says:

      why do we think it’s from just ‘one’ hand?

  7. Tagh says:

    How exactly did they catch him, I wonder? Was it just that an ex-employee won a lot, and they decided to do a spot check? Was a complaint filed?

  8. Joey Barlett says:

    The game was one card.

    • Joey Barlett says:

      No. I said one card. Not hand. The game is called one card. Which is just War. The guy was betting big stacks every chance. It was last Sunday.

  9. joe c says:

    how about the people he was playing with they were the true losers He has dealt in games I play in many times. Maybe I am not as bad as I think There is no room in game for cheaters

  10. Philip says:

    No it was on a game called one card.

  11. bakang says:

    He could def get a job at Bet On Slime… They just robbed me from the top 10 w Qj vs Villain’s Q8. No surprise they gave him runner 8’s.
    Why won’t an online owner play in the tournaments, and just say he’s the owner playing, if he wants us to think online poker is legit.

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