Sinister dealer, a greedy casino, or a disgruntled player? You decide

Home » Columns » Sinister dealer, a greedy casino, or a disgruntled player? You decide

Why is it that every time I challenge the dealer, the decision always goes against me? Either I cannot find a decent casino, get bum dealers and pit bosses, or both. I also seem to find dealers who make mistakes, or dealers who every time I start winning, shuffle the deck. Do you think there is any hanky panky going on, or is it I? Larry B.

Hanky-panky is always in play-but that’s a subject for the Lonely Hearts column.
Couldn’t help that, but back to business. I know what you mean. You might have made my job easier by mentioning specific casinos or geographic areas. But you didn’t, so we’ll go on what we’ve got.

In the seven joints that occupied 18 years of my life, disputes were generally settled in the player’s favor-unless of course the customer was blatantly wrong.

In casinos in which customer service is an absolute, management will generally side with the patron, barring the illegal or egregious. No sane casino executive will lose a customer for life over a trivial error. Remember, the math is always on the side of the casino, and the few shekels that might have been questionably sacrificed to the complaining player will likely find their way back into the tray on the next hand dealt.

Regarding dealer mistakes, most errors made in a casino are unpremeditated, so please do not feel slighted. These guys and gals deal more than a half million hands a year. Allow them, Larry, to make a few boo-boos. As for the quick shuffle part of your question, I will grant you that some dealers have mystical rituals for changing the run of cards, such as: Not letting a winning player cut, standing on the left foot, shuffling early if the cards are running cold, or shuffling late when they are hot, breaking down the deck if the player bets large.

Which leads me to the “very, very few” unscrupulous dealers who “preferential shuffle,” i.e. jimmy the odds. Here the dealer, a card counter, keeps aware of all the cards that have been dealt. If a lot of high cards have been previously pitched, so the remaining deck is rich in small cards-a disadvantage for the player-the rogue dealer keeps dealing.

On the other hand, if many small cards have surfaced, giving the player a positive expectation, the dealer shuffles pronto. By card counting, the unethical dealer seeks control over any situation favorable to the player.

There is a slight possibility that this is happening to you, but judging by the accusatory tone of your question, that chance may be clouded.

I’ll admit right here and now, when there was a whining, sarcastic know-it-all-an evolutionary mistake-on my game, I may have occasionally ticked him off by speeding up my hands per hour, getting the math to work faster in the casino’s favor, but I never resorted to cheating. Getting caught defrauding the gaming public would not only put a dealer on the streets, broom in hand, but would cost him his gaming license, making him permanently a green felt untouchable.
Finally, as for the rogue dealer on his own, manipulating the cards in the house’s favor, there’s even less of a possibility. As I have written before, and will write again: Casino managers watch the shift manager, who watches the pit bosses, who watch the floorman, who watches the dealers, while the eye in the sky (camera in the ceiling) watches everybody. It doesn’t take long for a dishonest employee to be weeded out and sent packing.

Gambling thought of the week: “A week in Vegas is like tumbling into a Time
Warp, a regression to the late fifties.” Hunter S. Thompson

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