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Snohomish seniors fight state, city council over shut down poker night

A group of seniors is pretty upset with the state's decision to shut down their twice weekly card games at the Snohomish Senior Center. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

A group of seniors is fighting mad about the state’s decision to shut down their twice weekly card games at the Snohomish Senior Center.

The Everett Herald reports the seniors, playing with dimes and nickels, had been playing illegally since 2009 when the city council banned social card games.

Snohomish Senior Center member Don Ness, 84, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that playing cards is a valuable pastime for seniors.

“We try to keep our minds rolling along, you know. It’s good for older people to keep their minds turning.”

They’re not playing for big money, either.

“You start out with a nickel or a dime, but there are three raises,” says Don. “A quarter is the limit.”

At 84, Dori acknowledged Don has done a lot of living, and asked for his take.

“What is your reaction when government has nothing better to do than shut down your quarter poker game?” Dori asked.

“There’s so much more going on than just working on the poor retired folks, I think,” said Don. “It’s a sad deal. I mean it’s a crime you know, gee whiz. It seems like it gets harder for seniors all the time.”

While they’re not supposed to be holding their dime and nickel games, Don said he still turned out Wednesday and they were playing as usual.

“We were playing coins the last time I played. We’ll probably go to jail – I don’t know.”

But he and the other members would like to see the ban lifted.

“We figured if we made enough noise and enough people listened to it, well, you’re going to get some action,” he said.

“Well you know what, a lot of people are listening right now,” said Dori, “and I’m going to shout it from the rooftops that the state gambling commission and the Snohomish City Council are out of control if they’re trying to shut down your poker game.”

“This is outrageous that we’ve got people on the Snohomish City Council and the state gambling commission who are concerned with your nickel, dime, quarter poker game. That’s evidence to me, Don, that we’ve got way too many people working for the government if they have time to mess with you guys.”

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