No Cameras at EPT Barcelona?

Alex Weldon : August 27th, 2015

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Despite record turnouts, not everyone at the EPT Barcelona is happy with how things are being run. Player feedback has for the most part been pretty positive, and the quibbles pretty petty, with some players thinking the design and color scheme of the new chips are too tacky, for instance. Other complaints are more serious, however.

For one thing, there was a delay in posting the final payouts. This was apparently because a discrepancy was discovered between the entries and prize pool, and required double-checking. While it’s good that the necessary checking was done, and a late announcement of payouts is better than an incorrect one, some players were outraged that the details were provided only just before the actual bubble. Mike “Timex” McDonald, for instance, complained about the situation on Twitter, feeling that the lack of details about min-cashes was likely to be affecting people’s play and thus, presumably, his own edge in exploiting the bubble.

Much more serious, however, are Jason Mo’s complaints about what happened to him – or rather, to his chips – during a color-up on break. Mo claims that he had 350k before break and came back to a stack of 310k. Mistakes happen, but what’s really shocking is that when he asked the floor to check the cameras to see whether the color-up had been done correctly, he was told that there are no cameras, because cameras are too expensive. What?

I think most players take it as a given when they’re at a casino or major poker room that they’re being watched by eyes in the sky at all times. In casinos, this is certainly the case, because casinos are heavily incentivized to keep tabs on players and make sure that they aren’t cheating. In poker, of course, cheaters are only stealing from other players, not the card room itself, so the incentive is less. We rarely think about that, however; after all, security is one of the reasons that we’re willing to pay rake and tournament fees, isn’t it?

Mo went on to ask tournament staff whether there was anything stopping players from simply stealing chips from one another and was told that it’s the dealer’s job to watch for such cheating. Of course, no dealer can watch ten separate players at all times; to prove this, Mo even says he “stole” some chips from his neighbor when the dealer was looking elsewhere, then gave them back.

Personally, like Mo, I would have taken it for granted that there would be security cameras at any mid- to high-buy in poker event, particularly one as high-profile as an EPT stop. I’m curious as to whether this is naive on my part, or whether the rest of the community is as surprised by this as I am. To that end, here’s an informal poll; let me know what your expectations would have been.

survey tool

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

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