PHOTO: Neighbours were aware of the poker games taking place at the house on Auckland’s North Shore. Photo: [] CC0 Public Domain (Indivisible Gaming) 

An armed trio held a group of gamblers at gunpoint before stealing thousands in cash from an unlicensed poker house in Auckland, the New Zealand Herald understands.

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There have been no arrests as yet in connection with the incident at the North Shore gambling den during a high-stakes poker session early on Saturday.

Forensic specialist officers conducted a scene examination at the home in Onewa Rd, Northcote Point, the day after the raid.

Detectives have since taken statements from those caught up in the aggravated burglary.

Cars belonging to players, including a high-end Porsche with a Mandarin Chinese name on its personalised plate, remained parked outside at the weekend.

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Those inside the poker house were held at gunpoint for some time as the men took their belongings and any cash they could find on site, it is understood.

The three armed men ditched their car in Avondale after making their getaway as police launched a manhunt following the first report of the heist about 1am on Saturday.

The recently renovated rental bristles with CCTV cameras.

Neighbours were aware of the poker games and described men and glamourously dressed young women coming and going at all hours of the night.

As with other forms of gambling in New Zealand, poker played for cash stakes is regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

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Holding poker evenings, events or tournaments is legal in New Zealand but subject to a range of restrictions.

“As a general rule, poker tournaments or evenings can only be conducted in New Zealand if the purpose behind them is to raise funds for the community,” a DIA gambling publication said.

“The generation of any profit or commission for the organisers by a poker tournament may amount to a criminal offence and render the whole tournament unlawful. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.”

Poker for cash stakes played outside New Zealand’s limited number of casinos can be classified as either private gambling, or class 1, 2 or 3 gambling, depending on the circumstances and stakes. (Under the Gambling Act 2003 no new casino venue licences are to be issued).

Private gambling covers a group of friends gathering at a private home for a poker night.

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All stakes must be given to the winners, it must be primarily a social event and no one can earn a commission, reward or collect admission for conducting the gambling.

There can also be no deductions from a player’s winnings.

Class 1 gambling covers low-stakes poker (under $500 prize money per event) and similarly, no one can profit or be paid for conducting the gambling.

If it is conducted by a society then proceeds must go to a charity or for “purposes beneficial to the community”, the DIA said.