Forum Files – Casino Drama

Alex Weldon : August 3rd, 2015


Poker players as a community like to complain about a lot of things, but few things quite so much as the companies which run the games. There’s therefore always a sense of satisfaction when casino and card room operators find themselves in trouble, even when ultimately it often ends up being the players who are inconvenienced. There are a number of brick-and-mortar SNAFUs being discussed on the forums this week, of sizes ranging from a single bungled hand at Foxwoods all the way up to Caesars Entertainment teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

Caesars in big trouble
Thread: Caesars Loses Key Ruling

The biggest story developing in the poker business world is the potential collapse of Caesars Entertainment Corp, which is beginning to look increasingly certain. The company has just suffered a critical legal defeat, with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar refusing to stay lawsuits by the company’s creditors. The company ended up with $18 billion dollars of debt after being taken over by private equity company Apollo Global Management LLC. The details of the lawsuits are complicated and kind of boring if you’re not a finance guy, but the long and short of it is that the whole Caesars family and not just its operating unit will be on the hook for the money owed, which likely means the whole brand is going to fall.

Regardless of what happens to Caesars, there will still be plenty of places to play poker in Las Vegas and elsewhere, so what’s most interesting to poker players in all of this – and the major topic in the thread – is what will happen to the World Series of Poker brand if Caesars ends up being forced to liquidate its assets; one guess is that PokerStars owner Amaya would be interested. Depending on how the legal battles surrounding regulation of online poker go, an Amaya-owned World Series of Poker could result in a rather different poker landscape within the next few years.

Mass firings at the Aria
Thread: Shakeup at aria poker room
Thread: Report: Scandal at Aria Poker Room, tips stolen/skimmed, tournament director terminated

Late last week, Allen Kessler (who goes by “doublejoker” on the forums) started a gossip thread stating that he’d heard that “accusations [have led] to resignations” at the Aria poker room, but provided no further details. Fortunately, another thread on the same subject appeared on PokerFraudAlert at around the same time, with much more information on what was going on.

It seems that the (now former) tournament director Aaron Well was caught pocketing “tokes” (dealer tips) from players cashing tournaments. Several posters have confirmed in thread that they’ve cashed tournaments at the Aria and were taken to a private room to receive their payout, and either asked by Well to give him the tips directly, or place them in an empty chip tray, which was then left in the Well’s possession without other witnesses. General Manager Leon Wheeler also resigned at the same time, but apparently for different reasons entirely, related to handling of “comps” (complimentary items and services extended to regular players).

What’s $5000, give or take?
Thread: Maryland Live says i owe them 5k

Forums poster MrAdvantage has found himself wrapped up in a smaller-scale controversy, having received a letter from Maryland Live! Casino, claiming that he was overpaid by $5000 on what he says was a $13,000-$14,000 cash-out on his last visit and demanding that he return the money or face legal action. Although his intent in starting the thread was to get advice on whether to pay up, lawyer up or demand to see the evidence, discussion quickly moved on to the more interesting question, which is how neither MrAdvantage nor the casino caught such a large error at the time.

MrAdvantage claims that he never counted the money at the time, as he was too busy watching out for potential thieves (and checking out the supervisor’s cleavage). One wonders what the casino’s excuse is, given that both the cashier and supervisor double-checked the transaction before handing over the cash.

A solid argument for card protectors
Thread: Disaster Hand at Foxwoods

Crazy player and dealer errors occur all the time in low stakes live poker, but it takes a real perfect storm of mistakes to botch a single hand as badly as the one described by poster SpexDome.

It started with a loose player making a big 3-bet. A second player, knowing that player was likely to be 3-betting light, decided to move all-in. Yet another player came along, but when action got back to the first player, he discovered that his cards – which he had not protected – had been mucked by the dealer by mistake.

Somehow, it was ruled that the first player was allowed to take his chips back, while the two all-ins were considered binding. Naturally, the second player argued that he never would have gone all-in without the first player in the pot… but he waited until after the board had been dealt out and he’d lost the hand in order to protest. At that point, it’s obviously too late to change anything, but how things got to that point and who was most at fault is perfect fodder for internet debate.

Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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