Author Topic: Counterfeit Chips  (Read 5658 times)

C3Events

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Counterfeit Chips
« on: March 17, 2010, 06:53:47 PM »
Well my life in charity tournaments continues....

I run a tourney called the "Montreal Open" it's the largest charity tournament in the world (1500 players) and sponsored and televised by Full Tilt.

We played down last night to 20 players which all go to Vegas with me in May, where top 10 win WSOP main event seats, travel and a lot of cash...

Here's my new problem...

At the end, we were cleaning up the chips stacks of the final 20... one player at the bottom of his stack had 5 orange chips (25,000 chips) and they were not the tournament chips we were using, but tournament chips from another tournament i ran in November.

I called the player in question and of course he swears his innocence. He says "it could have been won from another player" etc...
My problem is this player won this event 2 years ago, he came in 6th 3 years ago, and made the money last year.

Also, all 5 chips were found in this particular players stack.. suspicious.

Question is.. without cameras there I can't prove anything.. but I have to make a decision.. what do I do?

Dan


chet

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2010, 08:06:18 PM »
This is certainly not something covered by the TDA Rules nor do I ever remember seeing anything in Robert's Rules of Poker.  My initial inclination would be to check with the gaming agency to see if they have any applicable rule (I know this is a charity event and not likely under the sanction of a gaming agency, but they may have something you can grab on to).  Lacking anything there, I would tend to hold the player responsible.  I find it hard to believe that a player would not know which chips are in play and which are not. 

One thing you don't cover is whether you have dealers or whether this is a player dealt game.  If you have dealers, then you have to ask how did those chips get into the game, if not by the dealer color up or such.  If you have player dealt games, then the problem is even more difficult. 

In addition to the problem of the counterfeit chips, you also have a potential reputation problem.  The fact that the player in question has a successful history, I think is immaterial at this point.

I think you need to get some good legal advice, ie.,  If you disqualify this player without "proof" how do you defend yourself as you have basically accused him of being a cheat and he may sue you.  Even if you win, you lose as you have to defend yourself and that is going to be costly. 

That said, you need to do something in case someone else protests to the applicable authorities that the game was "fixed".  So I go back to recommending you see an attorney for legal advice.

Hope this helps!


Georg

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2010, 08:36:53 PM »
This is a difficult situation. I would do one of two things:
1) Nothing, don't mention it to anyone, change the chips to those you are using now. If someone is asking tell them it happend during the chip race, a dealer used the wrong chips or something similar.

2) Remove the chips, do not DQ the player. He may be right, he may have won them from someone else. Think of this as counterfeit money. You don't go to jail if you have some in your pocket, because you could have gotten them from someone else, but you can't buy anything either!

In a big tournament like yours, with a lot of publicity involved, you might not want anybody asking too much questions so number 1 might be best.

In my casino I use 2 different kind of 1000 chips (red & black). I only use the red ones for tournaments with a higher buy in. If the wrong chips appear I take them out of play. I am doing this because I can be 100% sure that they can not come into play by accident. Without proof who brought them in, I can not DQ anyone.

In your case, the total amount of chips in play, or the chip stack of that player would be interesting. Are these 25k a lot? If they are the only ones in the tournament, he must have either brought them in himself or won them from another player. If 25k is a lot, he might remember such a big pot, or the dealer might.

Hope this helped,

Georg

Dave Lamb

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2010, 09:17:04 PM »
I would agree with Chet concerning the responsibility/liability for having proof of guilt. Without evidence, no action can be taken against the suspected player. I applaud your candid discussion of the incident.

If these chips are from a previous event, it means that your inventory of that denomination was short or your chips have been copied. It is important to maintain an accurate accounting so that you can decide whether to replace any high denominations that have been compromised.

I would definitely question all my dealers and staff, review when the 25K chips were first introduced, and be sure to ocassionally inspect the stacks during play as a part of my tournament duties. Try to determine where these chips got away and tighten security procedures to avoid a repeat.

 

Stuart Murray

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010, 08:15:00 AM »
Very difficult situation,

I am of the same agreement with Dave that you should be retaining high levels of inventory on tournament chips.  Before & after any regional events I do count my chips however to date I have only lost some small denominations in very small numbers, so this does not cause any real issue.

It's a situation where you obviously have to invoke the 1st.  I think seizure of the chips is certainly the first step, why did this player not object to these foreign chips coming into contact with his stack if he won them in a hand or chip race?

Apart from that I don't realistically think you can do much more with the lack of cameras, obviously you need to increase chip security and the most effective way to do this is by inventory.

Thanks for sharing
Stuart
Stuart Murray
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South Scotland &
National Tournament Director

Nick C

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 12:41:51 PM »
Tough situation. I guess in the future you will have to make it known that no foreign chip will be recognized and any player holding any foreign chip could be disqualified. The most difficult part for me to believe is, if the chips were put into play, how could they go unnoticed by the dealer and any players? The only other possibility is, they were not wagered at any time, but slipped into the stack, hoping that they would not be noticed. By the way, how far down was he in the final twenty? He wasn't 20th, was he?

Better security is the only way. Your tournament sounds like a real nice one. Maybe an investment in a few cameras would be a good idea. There are some reasonable prices out there. I don't know the player in question, so it would be difficult to try and judge his character or integrity, but, I'd sure be watching him a little more closely in any future events.

Best of Luck
Nick C

C3Events

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2010, 12:25:53 PM »
I thank everyone for their reply, and matter of fact I just finished a discussion with the accused player to see if there is any proof he can give me. (He cannot, except for being very upset with the situation)

As far as legal advice, a notable gaming attorney is the founding member of this particular charity tournament, and a good friend. His advice was in lieu of tangible proof, this player needs to be disqualified. The rationale is that it is the same as possession of drugs, even if they aren't yours, or you were slipped the drugs without notice, then you are still guilty of possession (not trafficking) and are guilty of that. In this case, possession of counterfeit chips is equivalent and are subject to DQ in my mind.

The truth is I was suspicious of chips being removed from my last tournament, so this year I used new chips. I was aware of my inventory, knew I had a problem and that is why I changed the chips. These chips are from the last tournament and were slipped into the bottom of his stack (they are the same color orange but with a different print and edge print)

I wish my dealers would have noticed and brought it to my attention, but they didn't. These were found in his stack once the top 20 was confirmed and we started to remove the stacks from the table, that is when it was brought to my attention.

I cannot hide this, it is known that this is an issue, and I wouldn't want to hide it from the public. I want to run as clean of an event as possible and yes, we will invest in cameras in the future.

Orange chips are the largest chips in play ($25,000) so this is a major infraction.

I will let you all know my decision, I guess based on the replies I can go either way...... sigh why did I get into tournament direction????

Nick C

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2010, 04:12:55 PM »
To C3events

   You got into it because you're good at it. If it were easy, anyone could do it! I know you will do the right thing and because of it, your tournament will go on, probably better than before. Best of luck.

Nick C

Dave Lamb

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2010, 10:04:17 PM »

For what it is worth, I would hate to see a innocent player disqualified from a tournament because some unscrupulous rascal slipped a couple of counterfeits into his stack during a break. 

Nick C

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2010, 09:44:32 AM »
To Dave Lamb

   Your most recent post really adds a new cause for concern. Tighter security will help, but unfortunetly if someone is that intent on cheating, what can we do?
I have compiled a list which consists of some very obvious security measures and perhaps a few new ideas.
                                       #1.) Tighter security for Tournament chips
                                       #2.)  Cameras
                                       #3.)  Dealers remaining at tables through breaks.
                                       #4.)  Chip tally by each player before breaks. (leaving a card with a confirmed total at seat)
                                       #5.)  A cover for chips. (like a play-over type box)
                                       #6.)  Announce that any tournament player may be subjected to a random search at the TD's discretion! (half kidding)
There was a very interesting post on Feb. 7, 2010 A NEW ONE FOR ME, where a player took the wrong seat after a break and added $4000 to his stack. I think that the above #4 could have made it at least possible to return all players chips to their original stack with certainty.
 If we had players that respected the game and had the integrity of most, we wouldn't have any of these problems.
                      Thinking out loud......thanks for listening.
        Nick C
                     

     











C3Events

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2010, 09:25:43 PM »
Nick C and Dave Lamb,

Thank you both for taking the time and helping me out with what is proving to be a very difficult decision, and Nick thank you for the kind words. (If any of you are in the Montreal area, please don't hesitate in contacting me at my card room Four Aces, I would like meeting you very much!)

That being said, I met with the player to have a discussion to see if he can "prove" his innocence, which of course he can't do with certainty. Also, he did prove that he is genuine in his emotions and that he seems to come across as being sincere in his innocence. I too dave would hate to see an innocent player removed, but I do need to make sure he is innocent and not to tarnish the reputation of an important charity event.

I decided to not make this decision on my own, but called the charity to ask them to assist in the decision. I believe it is also their event, and they stand to lose a lot too, so they should be in on the decision before I finalize it. I will be back Tuesday to let you all know the end result in this big dramatic moment!

Till then!

Dan

Nick C

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2010, 07:00:35 PM »
to, C3Events

   I just had a thought that might help you in making your decision. If you feel that the player in question is telling the truth, and it is posible that another player could have slipped the counterfeit chips into his stack. How would those responsible for the Montreal OpenTournament feel about awarding the 21st finisher (on the bubble) into the finals and take him to Vegas with you. It might cost a few bucks, but I really think it will go a long way as far as public relations and I can't see how anyone could question the integrity of your tournament.

   Thanks for the invitation, maybe someday I'll take a trip.
Nick C

C3Events

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Re: Counterfeit Chips
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2010, 12:36:54 AM »
Well all it is over,

I had a conference call with the charity and their committee, which includes a notable gaming attorney.

I vouched for the player's character, and gave them all the sides to the story, as well as everything that was mentioned here in the forum (which was very usefull in coming up with the decision, so thank you)

The decision was to let the player move forward with no penalty, and then we will be taking the security precautions that you all listed here into effect next year, including a camera system, the tallying up of chip totals at all breaks, and also a new set of chips for every year.

The player was relieved, and I did get some feedback from other players that they won't return because we let a cheater go on in our tourney.
I feel that I would rather let 9 people walk if they are guilty if it means letting 1 person walk if they are innocent.

We couldn't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was guilty, and for that we can't punish him. I feel that if he did do this, then it will be very hard for him to face the final 19 other players in Vegas.

Thanks for all your help, and I will be back!

Dan