By Mail Foreign Service
The moment the robbers burst in to steal the prize money at Germany's biggest poker tournament
A gang of masked gunmen armed with assault rifles, machetes and a grenade raided a poker tournament in Berlin in broad daylight and stole more than £700,000 in cash.
The six attackers wearing black balaclavas entered the Grand Hyatt Hotel, snatched a portion of the £1million prize money at Germany's biggest poker competition and fled.
Gamblers were injured as they dived under tables and ran from the busy conference hall fearing for their lives.
Boris Becker was one of the 1,000 poker players taking part in the five-day tournament which began on Tuesday but was eliminated by Thursday.
Scroll down to see video of the daring heist
A masked robber, pictured in red, is captured by a security guard (above and below) in the Grand Hyatt in Berlin.
The guard was forced to let the attacker loose when another member of the gang threatened him with a machete
A security guard grappled one of the attackers knocking a revolver out of his hand and held him on the ground shouting for help.
But then two of the gang members returned and threatened the guard with a machete and a glass bottle forcing him to release the accomplice.
A photographer covering the competition told Germany's best-selling tabloid Bild said that at first he thought it was a PR stunt.
He said he saw one of the robbers shoving 500 Euro notes into a rucksack as an accomplice threatened security staff with a machete as they in turn threw objects at them. The money was kept at a front desk where gamblers exchanged their cash for poker chips.
The gang then ripped off their masks and ran out of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in central Berlin before making off in a black Mercedes.
There is some doubt as to how much the gang actually made off with as police would only say they made off with 'a portion of the prize money'.
Police man the scene in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, where armed robbers stole part of a poker tournament jackpot
According to Germany's SPIEGEL-TV, a security guard grabbed a bag containing 500,000 Euros off one of the thieves leaving then with just 240,000 Euros.
The competition was being televised online and within hours clips had been posted on YouTube.
In the footage, players are seen studying their cards before the game is suddenly disrupted by the sound of glass smashing and people shrieking.
Boris Becker was among the contestants at the poker tournament, but was eliminated before the heist
The players and a croupier are seen looking round to discover pandemonium, with hundreds of players and staff running for the exit. They quickly follow suit, abandoning their cards and chips on the table.
A source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The gang had balaclavas, machine guns, hand grenades and machetes.
‘They made off with at least £700,000. Thank God everyone’s OK, apart from the injuries sustained when fleeing. The tournament continues tomorrow – with armed police.’
Police spokesman Carsten Mueller said four robbers in disguises forced employees to hand over money before escaping.
He said: ‘Several people at the tournament were slightly injured when they panicked and fled.’
He added that four of the raiders entered the hotel at 2.15pm from Potsdamer Platz, one of the German capital’s most popular squares, while two others kept watch.
The European Poker Tour, the biggest game ever held in Germany, had begun on Tuesday.
YouTube shows the gang bursting into the hotel, with security guards running for cover. One guard manages to capture one of the attackers and pins him on the floor in a head-lock.
However, in different footage captured on a handheld camera, the guard is forced to let the attacker loose when another of the gang threatens him with his machete.
Witness Claudia Sommerey said: ‘I hid under a table as four men with rifles burst into the room.’