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Casino Play For Beginners And Ethics Plus++ Plus++

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Hey guy,

On the site today for the first time and enjoyed reading your advice for beginners playing at casinos. I have been playing free bar poker for about 10 years but have only played live poker in a casino about 10 times and don't play online at all.

Earlier this year, I played a handful of cash games and a few tournaments at a high-end casino and was lucky enough to win a tournament that paid $5300 for first but was disappointed to find out that the casino had to issue me a W2 because my winnings exceeded 5K. Had I known, I would have chopped with the second place guy and avoided the tax payment and hassle. Since then, I've been on the lookout for but haven't found a website that not only helps beginners play better but also educates us on basic issues away from the table and with ethics violations at the table.

For example (on another important topic):

This weekend I returned to the casino where I won the tournament for a day of play. When I got there I noticed that 80% of the dealers where the same and that many of the players faces were familiar to me as well.

There was a huge waiting list for $1-2 NL so I took a seat and ordered a drink. While waiting I began to notice subtle head-nod exchanges between local players and supervisors as the players entered and exited the poker room as well as not so obvious exchanges among local players across tables. The exchanges were unsettling.

In addition to that, below I describe a situation I experienced yesterday in the same casino and would like to get your advise on how "best" to react to it or preempt it in the future.

I was sitting in the cutoff of a $1-2 NL cash game holding J-Q and there was a nice pre-flop pot of around $50. The flop came 10-J-Q and it checked around to me and I bet $30.. The player on the button raised my bet to $60 and everybody folded to me. When I looked over at my opponents chip stack, I saw he had about $65 in $5 red chips to go so I said "I put you all in", The dealer then told me I would need to push one of my stacks forward so I complied and pushed out one of my 2 red stacks worth $100. My opponent called immediately and pushed his stack forward in such a way that it fell in a scattered mess on the felt. All of a sudden as the chips came to rest, a single $100 black chip appeared from nowhere..

I immediately looked up at the dealer in despair and said I didn't see that chip and he said he didn't either and said to my opponent that the black chip should have been on the top of his stack. I began to speak up but the dealer cut me off and said to hold off on everything until we run the hand out. I complied with his request but unfortunately the turn and river missed me and my opponent turned over A-K for a straight. I protested again to the dealer and he agreed to call over the poker room supervisor for a ruling and when he arrived, the dealer immediately spoke up but weakly defended my position by only stating that the black chip was on the bottom of my opponents stack and that I didn't see it before my bet. Then the supervisor, dealer and my opponent had a 3-way and it quickly became clear to me that they all knew each other well and that this wasn't the first time they had been involved in this situation.

Long story short, the supervisor said that since I said "I put you all in" and not "all in" then I would only have to forfeit the chips I pushed forward and he hurriedly walked away. It was all moving too fast for me and as I was processing it, the dealer in an effort to comfort me turned to me and said that the ruling was actually pretty good for me. His words shut me down because it was clear that the discussion was over and that play would continue unless I got very vocal.


1. How should I have reacted?

2. Does every poker room have a rule book that covers these cases?

If so, how do I ask for it?

3. What is the best way to protect myself against these behaviors in the future?

Thanks in advance,


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  • 2 months later...

Main thing is how to avoid the situation in the future, so that you don't have to worry about how to react. My response would therefore be, before going all in (or calling an all-in bet), ask for a count of how many chips the opponent has remaining. Then any improperly hidden high-denom. chips will be known to you (and yes, the black chip was improperly hidden, but I think the burden is on you to discover that - although, esp. in tournaments, dealers will sometimes ask players to stack their chips properly in that regard).


I've been burned in the same way, and also argued that the hidden chip should not play, and also lost the ruling, hence the advice above.


As for rule books, a poker room may or may not have a rule book, and even if they do, they may or may not provide you with a copy -- and worst of all, the supervisor making the ruling may or may not rule according to the rule book, or correctly, or, sadly, even consistently if the same situation arises again.


I always am somewhat uncomfortable in a poker room where everyone knows each other, even if I have no basis for suspecting collusion. Supervisors should not, but nevertheless may, rule with a bias toward regulars.


I'd look for a larger poker room where there are a lot more non-regulars such as yourself; better chance there of being treated fairly. In the particular situation, the ruling could have been the same anywhere.


Incidentally, etiquette is to "go all-in", not to "put [the other player] all in". Small point and not about the rules or the ruling.

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