Bizarre–but unsubstantiated–allegations surface involving Phil Laak, a hitman, and heroin smuggling

by Lou on August 15, 2007

Just when the poker world seems to be settling into the summer doldrums that follow the World Series of Poker, amazing allegations of Phil Laak’s involvement in a contract hitman effort have been making the rounds of poker blogs, forums, and web sites. None of it, of course, is substantiated.

A guy named Tom Grant, who lives in Thailand, claims to have met Laak in 2000. Tom and Phil decide to start an import/export business in New York specializing in Thai antiques. But it was not just antiques Grant and Laak were planning to export from Thailand; allegations of heroin smuggling are part of this story too.

Phil gave Grant $15,000 to start the business up. Grant buys items for export only to discover that a $10,000 tax is required because the items are all of a religious nature. Phil, according to Grant, goes ballistic, screaming “rip off.” Grant hangs up on Laak and does not hear from him again.
A month later Grant gets a phone call from a friend who tells him that Laak paid $15,000 to have Grant and his wife shot, and will pay an additional $15,000 when he receives proof that the job is done.
Grant then allegedly phones Laak to ask about these allegations. According to Grant, Laak apologizes and promises to compensate the Grants for their troubles. Grant claims he never heard from Phil Laak again.
According to a post on Bill Rini’s web site,, Grant—in response to an email from Rini asking how this affair was so suddenly concluded—said that his goal was to ruin Laak’s reputation as payback for the alleged hit ordered on him, and that money was not part of his desire for satisfaction.
But Grant subsequently said that Laak compensated him, and “That is all that needs to be said.”
This is one of the strangest stories I’ve come across in a long time. Is there any truth to this? Why is there no evidence in support of Tom Grant’s story? Can a desire for payback be resolved with money, especially after asserting that money was not a driving force in this sordid mess? How long has all of this been going on? Was Tom Grant extorting money from Phil Laak over an extended period of time, and how much has Laak paid him?

The questions just go on and on, but answers—provable facts, not just allegations and unsubstantiated charges—don’t seem to be surfacing at all.

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