I have a story about abuse of our fellow players. The story is set at a popular casino in Las Vegas. Over four years ago I was told that I could no longer play blackjack there, but I was free to play any other game. I often returned to play poker in their clean, smoke-free and pleasant environment. On this particular day, I sat down to play around 7 a.m.
As play began, I observed that the man sitting in seat six was very drunk. He could hardly hold his cards and kept asking what game we were playing. He folded a winning hand and then complained that he hadn’t meant to fold. He played several hands to the river, claiming that he had won (I recall a pair of deuces losing to a flush). He yelled at the dealer repeatedly. Almost every hand was visible to several players at the table as the drunk carelessly flashed his cards. Needless to say, everyone else loved him being there, and he was losing a lot of money.
I complained to the floor manager that this individual should not be allowed to play. He replied that the man had been cut off from further drinks and would be monitored to see if he should be removed.
The massacre continued. A few minutes later I complained again, this time weakly quoting Nevada gaming regulations. Just then, a waitress appeared and brought the man a beer. The floor man immediately went up to the waitress and chewed her out for serving the drunk, but he then took no action to remove the beverage. I complained again and asked that the drink be removed. A strong security guard came on the scene and stood behind me, but no action was taken to assist the drunk.
I decided to do something. I pushed my preset number for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. In a brief moment I was speaking to an agent who in turn asked to speak to the floor man. They spoke for a few moments, and then I heard the floor man say, under his breath, “asshole!” He handed me back the phone.
The agent then told me that he had given the floor man ten minutes to remove the drunk from the game, and if I noticed that the drunk was not gone in ten minutes, then I should call back and an agent would come to the scene.
All hell broke loose. Everyone at the table told me I had ruined the game for them, and now they were going to all leave – everyone, that is, except the drunk. The players complained bitterly about me to the floor man, even as I attempted to quote state gaming regulations back to them. The security guard directed me not to talk. The floor man demanded my name. I refused to give it to him.
Then the floor man told the people at the table that if they wanted, they could all file a complaint against me with the casino shift manager. I expected to be detained as these actions were taken. It was time to leave, fast.
I scooped up my chips, and without another word I left the chaotic scene. Out on the street, a young man came up to me and said: “What happened over there? I was at another table, and after you left, every game just broke apart.” I told him the story, and was relieved at his complete and total support for what I had done.
Here is the Nevada gaming regulation that applied in this case: 5.011 – Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following acts or omissions may be determined to be unsuitable methods of operation: Permitting persons who are visibly intoxicated to participate in gaming activity; complimentary service of intoxicating beverages in the casino area to persons who are visibly intoxicated.
The drunk at this game was being financially raped by the players at the table. It was a mob mentality. All common moral sensibility had been abandoned. The casino took no steps to rescue the victim; rather they seemed to be cooperating in the crime. It was an appalling situation, but sadly one that is repeated every day. It is repeated by casinos everywhere as they ply their customers with free drinks. It is also repeated in social games among friends.
As game players, it is our moral obligation to be impeccably considerate in our treatment of fellow players who are incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, addiction or any other condition that significantly impairs judgment. It is okay to win their money, but it is not okay to steal it.
Daily Nexus gaming columnist Eliot Jacobsen can recite the Nevada gaming code 5.011 backwards as well.