Police Raid Former Memphis Grizzlies Player’s Illegal ‘Poker Palace’

Posted on August 16, 2021

Former Memphis Grizzlies guard Antonio Burks was arrested earlier this month for charges associated with illegal gambling.

The one-time NBA baller has allegedly been running an illegal poker operation out of his home in Memphis, Tennessee.

Antonio Burks faces illegal gambling charges

Memphis police raided Burks’ residence on July 29, seizing a variety of gambling-related items.

Detectives collected poker tables, chips, cards, surveillance cameras, ledgers, and a sign titled “Burks Poker Palace Rules”.

According to witnesses, Burks hosted poker games in his Memphis home twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Following his arrest, local police released Burks from custody on a $1,000 bond.

The 41 year-old appeared in a Tennessee court room last week facing charges of aggravated gambling, gambling promotion, and possession of a gambling device.

Burks’ promising basketball career

Life wasn’t always so problematic for Burks. In fact, this now-retired athlete was once a rising basketball star.

Burks began his college basketball career at Hiwassee, quickly transferring to the University of Memphis, where he stayed from 2001 to 2004.

The NCAA crowned him Conference USA Player of the Year and awarded him a First-Team All-Conference USA title during his senior season.

Shortly after, the Orlando Magic drafted the 6’0″ point guard into the NBA as the 2nd round, 36th-overall pick. The Memphis Grizzlies then made a swift trade in exchange for cash considerations.

After a stint with the Grizzlies from 2004 to 2006, he spent time in Europe playing professional basketball for Bulgaria and Serbia.

FIBA ultimately banned Burks for an entire season when he broke his Serbian basketball league contract.

Burks’ professional career came to a screeching halt in 2009 after a shooting left him with extensive stomach injuries. The incident occurred during a robbery at a dice game Burks was participating in outside a home in south Memphis.

The man who shot Burks was convicted of attempted second-degree murder and sentenced to 97 years in prison.

Burks’ encounters with the law only continued from there. He faced charges in 2010 for driving on a suspended license and spent two days in jail for the crime.

Then in 2015, Memphis police charged Burks with domestic violence.

His latest charges suggest he was operating an illegal poker ring out of his home.

He has a subsequent court hearing for the case scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Unfortunately, this is one gamble that didn’t end up paying off for Burks and his Poker Palace.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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