Toronto Mike

State v. Greg Chao and Toronto Mike


The Deputy District Attorney for Clark County in Las Vegas left me a voice mail and email yesterday regarding the State v. Greg Chao.  He wanted to speak with me about a high profile trial starting up in Las Vegas this week.  Greg Chao, a Canadian poker player, has been charged with murdering Donald Idiens, another Canadian poker player.

I've never heard of Greg Chao or Donald Idiens, I've never been to Las Vegas and I don't really play much poker.  A little Googling quickly revealed how sensational a case this is.  Here's an article about the case from

Chao is charged with robbery and murder with a deadly weapon in the brutal slaying of fellow Canadian and avid poker player Donald Idiens, 53, on the night of December 8, 1997.
Prosecutors say Chao went to Vegas on a desperate bid to win enough money to pay back Canadian loan sharks, to whom he owed tens of thousands of dollars. Chao borrowed $1,000 from Idiens, lured him back to his hotel room to ask for more, then killed the land developer for his bankroll when he refused to lend any more money, prosecutors have said.
Idiens' battered and nearly naked body was found in a stairwell one floor below room 18136, where Chao was staying. Police also found Idiens' blood in the room.
A DNA analyst said Monday that a blood sample taken from a strip of carpet was identified as belonging to Idiens. The chance of the sample coming from someone else, a police DNA analyst told jurors, is 1 in 600 billion.
Chao's public defender, Timothy O'Brien, has said that his client merely lent Idiens his hotel room for a meeting with the person or persons who must have killed him. When Chao returned to his room, O'Brien claims, nothing was astray, save for some liquor bottles on a dresser.

Why did the DA want to talk with me?  How could I possibly be connected to this 1997 crime?  All day yesterday I was trying to figure out where I fit in.

I just heard back from the Deputy District Attorney and it turns out the case has a reference to "Toronto Mike".  They have questions for Toronto Mike, and in a desperate attempt to find Toronto Mike they Googled the name, found and took a shot in the dark.

They're now pretty sure they're looking for a different Toronto Mike, and I'm positive they are.  The 1997 Toronto Mike was a pretty good poker player.  At the time, my game was euchre.

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