Poker heist: armed gang rob European tournament live on air
A masked gang armed with guns and a machete have stormed a German poker tournament in a luxury hotel - as it was broadcast on live television.
Six men burst into the Grand Hyatt yesterday afternoon and stole around 800,00 euros.
"Several masked, armed individuals entered the hotel and fled with a haul of money," a police spokeswoman said.
Several participants at the tournament in Berlin's Grand Hyatt hotel were slightly injured as they panicked and fled during daring heist. There are no reports of serious injuries.
One newspaper quoted witnesses as saying that the robbers were armed with automatic weapons, machetes and hand grenades.
An unarmed security guard confronted some of the attackers. He told a German newspaper that he was hit with a machete but managed to avoid serious injury by moving his head "so I wasn't hurt too badly - but he caught me around the eye".
The guard then threw a pole and strongbox at the men as they filled bags with cash.
"They pointed the gun at me and I got out of the way. They continued to fill their bags. As they ran off I managed to get one of them in a headlock.
"As another guard came to help me the man with the machete returned so I had to let him go as I was not armed."
Wiitness Claudia Sommerey told Spiegel Online: "I saw three disguised men with rifles. Security tried to keep them at bay. I heard someone shouting 'down, down, down' so I got under one of the tables."
The jackpot for the tournament stood at euro1 million ($1.36 million), according to the European Poker Tour (EPT) website. The EPT confirmed the heist on a blog, saying there had been "an armed robbery executed by six men." The tournament resumed four hours later.
According to the EPT's website, about 400 participants started into the five days long competition on Wednesday. Most of them, however, had already dropped out of the game by Saturday, among them tennis legend Boris Becker.
At the tables
Security confront the robbers