A high-stakes poker game and beer blast reportedly sponsored by the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department is dealing a bad hand to the company.

State police Wednesday charged the department with illegal gambling and liquor sales, while two firefighters are accused of selling alcohol without a license during the “Texas hold’em” tournament last November.

In a court document, authorities said about 60 people doled out $50 each to enter the tournament for a total of $3,000 while others paid $5 for other games.

Volunteers Erik Michael Robertson, 26, of Depot Street, and Sidney G. Mull Jr., 24, of Beachy Avenue, were charged with selling cans of beer during the card games, by the state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement in Altoona. Both are from Salisbury.

Liquor control agents said they found about 60 people surrounding poker tables in the truck bay of the fire department on West Ord Street.

Robertson and Mull were selling beer for $1 a can, investigators said.

An unidentified female introduced the players to the event organizer, Davey Short, police said. He has not been charged.

Short reportedly said $5 included only food while $50 got players into the game and included food and three beers.

Short said the fire department was keeping the first $150 and placing the rest into the prize money, according to investigators.

Salisbury fire Chief Dan Haines, reached at home, did not comment.

Robertson declined to comment when reached by telephone and a woman at the Mull residence said he would have no comment.

Texas hold’em games have become an increasingly popular way for nonprofit organizations to raise money.

In Cambria County, authorities have noted that such games for money are considered illegal and reserved the right to prosecute if complaints are received from the public.

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