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Poker Champion Darren Elias Targeted In Robbery, Babysitter Held At Gunpoint

Philadelphia Poker Player Charged With Robbery, Assault, Making Terroristic Threats, And Unlawful Possession Of Weapon

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Four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias and his family were given quite the scare on Thursday, when a man with a gun broke in to his New Jersey home.

Elias and his wife were not home at the time, and according to Medford Township Police, the armed robber instead focused his attention on the 19-year-old babysitter, who was watching the couple’s toddler.

The suspect, identified as 24-year-old North Philadelphia resident Shannon Soroka, allegedly forced entry into the house and led the sitter around with a gun to her back, looking for cash and other valuables.

Shannon Soroka Credit: Medford Township PoliceEventually, Soroka locked her in a bathroom. The teenager apparently escaped from a window and called 911 from a neighbor’s house, before Soroka fled the scene by car. The sitter and two-year-old were not harmed.

Police did not disclose what, if anything, he took from the home. Soroka was arrested Friday after investigators received a tip.

“It’s incredibly scary for me and my family,” Elias told a local NBC affiliate. “It was an awful feeling. I would say he was familiar with what I do for a living and thought that I might have things of value in the house.”

It does appear that Elias was specifically targeted, recently returning from Las Vegas after he finished third in the L.A. Poker Classic main event for $473,280. The WPT record holder has more than $7.1 million in career live tournament earnings.

Soroka, meanwhile, is a part-time poker player who has a few small scores of his own, cashing for $19,719 since the start of 2017.

Elias told reporters that this was the second time in the last week that his house had been targeted.

Soroka is currently being held at Burlington County Jail and has been charged with a long list of offenses, including armed robbery, making terroristic threats, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

This isn’t the first time that a poker player has been targeted in their home. Doyle Brunson was beaten in front of his wife in a home invasion back in 1998, just one of the many times he was robbed or nearly robbed during his long career.

In 2008, Hoyt Corkins had his Las Vegas home broken into and the team of thieves had the nerve to take not only two of his cars and a motorcycle, but also his two World Series of Poker bracelets.

In January of 2012, 2010 WSOP main event champion Jonathan Duhamel was hospitalized after an attack in his home orchestrated by his ex-girlfriend. Danish poker pro Theo Jorgenson, who has a WPT title and WSOP bracelet of his own, was shot three times in the leg in a home robbery later that year.