Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Off-Duty Poker Dealer Caught Cheating Poker Game as Player and Subsequently Fired Loses Wrongful Dismissal Lawsuit

Rezi Ghadipasha had been employed as a poker dealer for 12 years, the last four of which he dealt at the Cascades Casino in Langley, British Columbia in Canada.

Back on January 11, 2009, Ghadipasha was playing in a high/low poker game at the Boulevard Casino in nearby Coquitlam after his shift at the Cascades Casino. He was accused of cheating in that poker game by way of
switching cards from his high poker hand to his low poker hand after the dealer had exposed his hand. The effect of this poker cheat move was getting a push (where the player wins one hand against the dealer and loses the other) instead of a loss, so there is no exchange of money. In some cases, that poker cheat move results in the player winning both the high and low hands.

When the dealer caught on to Ghadipasha's cheat move that resulted in a push and confronted him, Ghadipasha denied it and kept his original $500 bet instead of losing. But then surveillance at the Boulevard casino reviewed the video of the table and determined that Ghadipasha had indeed switched cards from one poker hand to the other. The poker-cheat dealer then admitted to having cheated and gave the $500 back to the casino, but he was banned from the Boulevard for one year.

Ghadipasha stated to authorities that he made a dumb mistake that he couldn’t explain, but perhaps it had something to do with his drinking heavily that night. In spite of his coming clean, the British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch terminated his work registration and he was fired from his poker dealing job soon thereafter.

He then filed suit and lost. "This is a very sad case," British Columbia Provincial Court Judge Jim Jardine declared. Jardine ruled that the Gateway Casino Corp., the owner of the Cascades Casino, had every right to terminate his employment based on his being convicted of a gambling offense.

My take: When I was a casino and poker dealer some 30 years ago, I witnessed many dealers get into trouble gambling away their tokes (tips) after their shifts. Some of them then resorted to cheating the games to get their money back so that they could pay their rent. Unfortunately this is a problem that occurs readily today as well, and I believe that casino and poker employees should not be allowed to gamble in their own casino or in other casinos in the same jurisdiction, which is the case in many gambling areas.