Police on high alert as poker tournament starts

Police in Vienna have set up security levels similar to those for a state visit, as an international poker tournament begins in the city.Poker stars from all over the world are competing in the six-day European Poker Tour (EPT) at the Kursalon Hübner palace in the capital which starts today (Tues).Vienna police’s special WEGA unit is at the ready for possible operations this week, while police and security personnel will accompany the winners of the tournament to the nearest bank to avoid attacks by robbers eyeing the 500,000-Euro prize money.Reports have it that some high-ranking police officials tried to persuade town hall decision-makers to call off the event in a reaction to robberies at recent competitions in German capital Berlin and in the Swiss city of Basel.Authorities have kept tight-lipped on the detailed preparations undertaken to ensure high security levels at the EPT event in which former tennis player Boris Becker and Canadian poker star Daniel Negreanu will participate. Every player competing in the tournament – which will be broadcast live at www.pokerstars.tv – had to deposit a 5,300-Euro buy-in.A spokesman for the organisers of the tournament said he was convinced the event will not be hit by any negative incidents. “Our safety measures are quite deterrent,” he claimed.