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Reader Reactions to Las Vegas: What Would You Do If

1 March 2005

When the Travel Channel special Las Vegas: What Would You Do If in which I appear was about to premiere last month, I asked those who watched to e-mail me their reaction to the problems in casino ethics tackled in the show. Let's check out a few:

I was surprised right from the start when nearly everyone said they wouldn't cheat in a casino, even if there was no chance of being caught. Do all those people mean they wouldn't even count cards, if they thought the casino would let them get away with it? I think some people were fudging the truth, or not being honest with themselves.

Response: I don't think people regard card counting as cheating. It's just skillful play, and has never been held to be illegal by any court in the United States.

Given that nearly everyone said they wouldn't cheat, much of the show has to do with the definition of "cheating." Is taking credits you found on a slot machine cheating? Is sharing information when you can see a blackjack dealer's hole card cheating? Those who said they wouldn't cheat but would take the credits or share the information obviously don't consider that to be cheating.

The question on whether I would stay at a table when I knew someone else was cheating forced me to take a look inside. I'd like to be able to say no, I wouldn't play under those conditions and that I'd turn the cheater in. Unfortunately, I know better, because I said nothing once when a friend of mine was adding to his bets that he knew had won when we had a careless roulette dealer. I should have called him on it, but I just kept playing. Does that make me a horrible person?

Response: Your situation turns the ethical dilemma up a notch. My response on the show was that I would not be comfortable playing at a table where I knew there was cheating going on, but that I would not turn the cheater in at the table. I might have a quiet word with a supervisor away from the table, but I wouldn't be the one to confront the cheater.

Confronting a friend --- well, that's a tough thing to do. Keep in mind, though, that if the friend gets caught, and you've been on camera associating with him, suspicion is likely to fall on you, too.

Are casinos really hard-line on chips dropped on the floor or credits abandoned on a slot machine? Do they really demand that you give them the chip if you find one on the floor? That seems pretty hard core.

Response: Some do, some don't. I've never been asked to return a found chip, but I know others who have. Aside from just putting a few extra bucks on the casino's bottom line, such policies exist in part to deter scavengers --- people who come in with no intention of playing, who scour empty slot machines and scan the floors around the table pits and cashier's cages trying to pick up some spare change. There's a new twist to that game on slot machines with ticket printers. If you print out a ticket on a nickel machine for $20.85, then use the ticket in a dollar game, the dollar machine can't give you credits for the 85 cents. Instead, it spits out a ticket for that amount, and gives you $20 in credits on the game. Sometimes, people who lose the $20 will leave the machine without a thought for the 85-cent ticket. Scavengers walk the slot floors, looking for such abandoned tickets.

The question came up as to whether you tell the dealer if he overpays you. What if he overpays someone else? I see it happen all the time, especially with new blackjack dealers, and I wonder if I should say something.

Making proper payoffs is part of game control, and game control is the responsibility of the casino. The dealer, floor supervisor and pit supervisor are all there to make certain the game is run properly. As a player, you are there as a guest to be entertained -- casino executives constantly refer to players as "our guests." I don't see keeping the payoffs straight as your responsibility. Heck, I don't even WATCH the payoffs to other players. I have enough to worry about with my own game. I watch my own payoffs like a hawk, and ignore the others.

ANOTHER SHOW: In addition to "Las Vegas: What Would You Do If ," I have a brief appearance in another Travel Channel show, "What's New Vegas 2005." This one explores coming attractions for the year in entertainment, restaurants, shopping, games and more. I was interviewed at the Global Gaming Expo last fall about some of the best in new games and gaming systems.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski