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Best of Mark Pilarski

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If the player is wrong, see rule #1

19 May 2000

Dear Mark,
Good day from Melbourne, Australia. While having a surf on the Internet I came across your columns and found them interesting. The questions you receive as a dealer took me back to what I didn't know about casinos until I started to work in one. I found some of your past columns informative about a patron's feelings towards certain situations that can be quite distressing to those uneducated in casino etiquette. Patron feelings are something we dealers tend to forget about in our very repetitious and occasionally stressful shifts.

That said, in your years of dealing roulette, did you ever have a patron that did not understand the words "no more bets," and then drop a stack of chips over the whole layout to make a reconstruction of the winning wagers more difficult (thank god for surveillance).

This happened to me today, for the first time, and all I could do was stand there with my lower jaw dropped to the table thinking obscenities I've never thought before. I was amazed, shocked, annoyed and possibly disappointed at the extreme actions of the player. Unfortunately for me the management decided it was my fault. How? That I will find out later. Any thoughts? No identification please, for job security

Front-line casino employees have two rules when it comes to casino patrons. One, the player is always right, and two, if the player is wrong, see rule number one. Not easy when a certain percentage of players have an attention deficit disorder in need of a Ritalin prescription. BUT, didn't you state in your question "not knowing about casinos until you started to work in one"? Like you before casino employment, inexperienced players don't know or understand casino procedures. You, in an untiring way, need to patiently explain the rules to casino guests.

Casinos are not in the business of harassing, then alienating, a patron for life. You will never win an argument with casino management on customer service. Their main business is to extract as much money out of the customer as possible and put a smile on his face. Not allow you to wipe the smirk of his kisser.

So unless a player is cheating the house on the roulette table — past posting, I suggest you slow down, educate new players on the proper etiquette of play and be more tolerant of unskilled patrons.

Dear Mark,
I witnessed a rare sight at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas this month. In a Caribbean Stud Poker hand, the player and dealer tied — they had exactly the same 5 cards. There was a minor dispute on what to do with the bet. The dealer initially ruled a push, then called over pit boss one, who agreed. Pit boss two then wandered over and declared that the player should lose because the object is to beat the dealer's hand. The player objected (he had a $25 ante and $50 on the back). Finally, a third manager was called and he declared the hand a push, returning the ante and bet back to the player. Would a certain suit rule over another in case of a tie? Also, what is the official ruling? Vincent K.

No poker game, video or otherwise, is suit specific on any hand. There are machines and games that offer a special bonus for certain suited hands, but that does not affect duplicate hands on Caribbean stud poker.

The correct ruling on identical hands would be a push.

Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.