Monday, August 18, 2008

Can Casinos and Poker Rooms Make Cheats Out of You?

Sometimes when you're playing in a casino, things happen that force you to decide whether or not you want to become a poker or a casino cheat. By that I mean mistakes are often made by dealers or other casino personnel in your favor, mainly that you are paid more money than you should have been on any given bet or circumstance. If you accept the unintentional "favor" and don't say anything, does this make you a cheat...or a "passive cheat" to say the least? In my opinion it does not, as most ordinary people out having a good time in casinos would probably just keep the extra payout and say nothing. After all, no one is getting hurt, especially the casino. What do you think?

I came across an interesting survey in the Chicago Herald about this question. Here it follows:

Every once in a while at the casino, the dealer, or the cashier, or another player will do you a little "favor." Sometimes another customer will receive one of these favors while you look on. There's only one little hitch with all of these "favors" however. They were mistakes - and weren't supposed to happen!

Back on July 25, I asked you, the reader whether you'd accept any or all of these mistakes/favors if they were to happen to you. This is how you replied.

Favor #1: You got paid on a blackjack loser.

Consensus: Keep the money. Over 80 percent of the readers said they would keep a mistaken payoff on their losing blackjack hand. Their reasons were that since the house has a built-in advantage anyway, it's OK to accept a financial favor that results from the casino not doing its job correctly. Very few felt obliged to return the casino's chips and their own to the dealer.

One contrarian however, stated that there are many legal advantages obtainable at blackjack, so why go outside the rules to accept one? Another said it was his goal to "beat 'em" - not "cheat 'em" and would return the money.

Favor #2: Dealer forgot to pick up your losing craps prop.

Consensus: Let it ride. Here too, most readers said they would happily accept a free second chance at winning their craps proposition bet, such as on the "hard 8." The same general sentiments applied as with the blackjack hand above, but there were a few dissenters.

One reader cited how some craps dealers attentively coach the players on how to bet appropriate amounts so as to receive maximum odds on their wagers. This reader felt allowing a proposition loser to remain in action would constitute "stepping over the line."

Favor #3: You found a $100 chip beneath a high roller's feet.

Consensus: Split decision. This seemed to be the stickiest scenario of all. Some said if it looked as if the chip belonged to that player, they would simply point it out to him. Others felt was a simple "finder's/keepers" situation. Still others said they would get security involved and let them decide.

Favor #4: You saw a player receive more chips than his buy-in.

Consensus: Unanimously, "Not my business." Everyone said it is the casino's responsibility to count up the buy-in accurately and give the correct number of chips to a new player.

Some even emphasized that they would remain silent to avoid the possibility of a confrontation with the customer who was buying in.

Favor #5: The wrong poker hand was awarded the pot at your table.

Consensus: Split decision. I was surprised at how many readers said they would sit by and allow the pot to be pushed to a player holding the losing poker hand. Only about half said they would stop the dealer and point out the correct winning hand.

The official rule by the way, is that once the cards are shown down, any player at the table has the full right to point out the winning hand.

Also, the house bears no financial responsibility in this matter, and once the cards are mucked (tossed into the discards), the transaction is an officially done deal.

Favor #6: Cashier at the cage gave you $100 too much.

Consensus: Split decision. About 60 percent of the readers said they would return the overpayment at the cashier's cage for various reasons. Some felt the till would come up short and that cashier might either be docked or fired.

Others simply felt bound by their honor not to accept an overpayment in cash for their chips.

The other side reasoned that the casinos get way too much of the customers' money anyway, and any "refund" the players can get should happily be kept.