Monday, February 11, 2008

Poker Cheating with headphones and cell phones?

Recently I was in Harrah's Atlantic City poker room. I noticed that one of its policies is to not allow headphones, and they have also banned cell phones from the tables. Suspecting the reasons why, I approached a floorman and asked about it anyway. He said that players had complained about other players wearing headphones cheating at the tables. When I prompted him for details he stated the obvious: that one person viewing a game from a remote location in the room could be communicating players' hands to a cohort at the table. This, he assured me, could be done with cell phones or with a varied assortment of electronic equipment. NO KIDDING! I then told him that I thought it was a bit much to ban headphones because of the large percentage of players who use them for legitimate purposes such as listening to music or calming and relaxation melodies. He countered with a mention of last year's high-tech poker scam at the Borgata, which happened in a private hotel suite, not in the poker room. I said, "Oh, of course, I understand." But I was really thinking that Harrah's policy was ridiculous. I turned to leave and suddenly he said to me with a bemused expression on his face, "Don't I know you from somewhere?"

Well, I doubt he was around during my cheating days, so I responded, "You probably saw me on TV."

He smiled and said, "Sure, you're an actor."

Then I said sardonically, "Close enough," thinking of James Caan in the movie "The Gambler" when a loan shark said to his character Axel Freed, "You're Alex Freed," and Caan responded sardonically, "Close enough."