Sunday, August 16, 2009

Can you tell me what the rule is, after reading the rule?

I have tried to like the Monte Carlo poker room. I really have.

It's small, and I like small, cozy rooms. It's quiet; I like that. They have freeroll tournaments for accumulated hours of play, but they change the frequency, requirements, and payout schedule every couple of months, so it's impossible to keep track of. Parking, since the Echelon construction began, has been a nightmare, though I hear that there is now a functioning parking garage again. (Last night I started at MGM and walked over to Monte, so I haven't tried it yet.) The tables and chairs are of marginal comfort, at best. I haven't been treated well by the room staff generally; more than most places, I have been made to feel like my showing up and asking for a seat is an annoying intrusion into the time of whoever is managing the list. They also don't track hours on your MGM card for food comps. There's a couple of dealers there that I like a lot, but I had an unusual, uncomfortable, and completely unnecessary confrontation with another one. Most importantly, whether there is a no-limit game going when I want to play is completely hit-or-miss, and when there's one going, it's often one of the nittiest in town.

Then, among other things, there are the weird, nitty rules, and the inconsistent enforcement thereof. This is bad enough that it is prominent discussed in the editor's review of the room. Over the last month or so, I have really come to enjoy sending out tweets about the progress of the session, interesting hands, small observations and amusements, etc. In fact, it's possible that my somewhat reduced frequency of telling poker stories in blog posts is due to having told them already in tweets. I'd like to think that these mini-posts are just as much fun for readers as for me.

So when I read something recently (and I can't remember where it was--perhaps one of Las Vegas Michael's tweets?) about rooms in which one is not allowed to use cell phones, including text messaging, at the table, and Monte Carlo was included, it gave me one more reason to avoid the place. (See here for a good discussion of texting rules.)

Last night I had an unusually profitable session at the MGM, and felt like leaving there to pocket my winnings, but still wanted to play more without having to get in the car and drive somewhere else. So I decided to give the Monte another try, for the first time in several months. It's a short walk across the street to the east.

As I played, I noticed that the big-screen TV nearest the room's entrance had a rotating display of rules, promotions, announcements, etc. I jotted down the exact text of the screen about cell phones a few words at a time. Here's what players are told:



*Please refrain from using your cell phone at the poker table.

* We kindly ask you to step away from the poker table to use your cell

* Thank you for your cooperation.

So what is the rule? Can you use your cell phone for web browsing, texting, etc., while not in a hand? The first part of the rule would seem to suggest yes. The second and third parts would seem to suggest no, assuming that "use" of a cell phone includes not just talking on it but using its other functions. In other words, it's impossible to tell what the rule is by reading the rule. How moronic is that?

As mentioned, I have heard that the rule is enforced so as to prohibit even texting while not in a hand. Last night, however, a couple of players at my table openly talked on their phones while in the middle of hands. I didn't do that, but I did check Twitter a couple of times and read and responded to one text message that I got, when not in a hand, and nothing was said to me about it. These observations show pretty clearly that, whatever the rule is, it is not enforced consistently.

I'm not sure which is worse--having a stupid rule that is enforced to its nittiest bleeding edge (as, say, at Mandalay Bay), or having a stupid rule the enforcement of which is completely inconsistent, varying with the dealer, the floor person, the time of day, etc. Either way, the fact that one can read the rule as posted in the room and still not be sure what is allowed or disallowed is a sign of woeful mismanagement.


Anonymous said...

You are smarter than this. I think you are trying to read too much into every signle word of their rule. They simply do not want multiple people sitting down at the same table and having the oppoprtunity to cheat. Yet they don't want to be a total ass and say no cell phones or no texting, ever.

sending your buddy a two letter text letting him and possibly others at the table know what you and each other have would take only a second or two to compose and would be an outstanding method of collusion.

I think you were out of material to blog about when you wrote this

Rakewell said...

1. If you read the AVP thread to which I linked (about the pros and cons of allowing texting at the table) you would have found a good discussion of the likelihood of it being used for collusion. It's not impossible, but it's not a great concern. Given the relative ease with which one could use hand signals, using texts seems overly cute--too cumbersome, not as quick as a hand signal, and leaves incriminating evidence behind. Do you have any evidence that this has ever happened?

2. You seem completely convinced that the Monte Carlo's motivation is to prevent cheating, rather than just to keep the game moving more quickly. How do you determine this from the evidence available?

3. If the purpose is to prevent collusion, why allow (apparently) texting between hand? I could fold, then text my partner what I had. Or I could text him what cards I saw my neighbor look at.

4. Why would it make them "a total ass" to ban use of phones at the table altogether? It seems that they have nearly done so, perhaps (and this is still not clear to me) allowing phones only for non-talking purposes, and then only when one does not have a live hand.

5. You may think that I was out of material, but I think that you have given this question no more than the most superficial thought.

6. Very, very bold and brave of you to hide behind anonymity when posting criticism. Congratulations on the massive personal integrity and courage displayed.

Anonymous said...

if I told you my name address and phone number, what difference does it make? It's not like we know each other on personal level and I am ashamed to speak out. Its much each to post a comment and click the Anon button than it is to log into my account then go back and post the comment.

If I need to tell you why texting between hands is different than texting when you have cards in your hands, then you are a complete idiot.

Learning enough hand signals to let your buddies at the table know that you have a SPECIFIC hand takes a lot of time and table experience. Texting the two letters to indicate the SPECIFIC cards is something any street level poker rookie can do.

LOL LOL LOL ...Evidence trail...... come on that's bullshit. Do you know how long it would take you to get a court order so you could get my texting log files?

Monte Carlo's rule is fine. When you have cards in your hands put the phone down. By the way, I hate playing at the Monte Carlo but your obvious lack of material to write about has made you appear to be a clueless dumbass when it comes to methods of cheating.

My name is Will Dulfer. Does that make my post any different then if I was still anonymous?

Rakewell said...

I find it amusing to ponder what it says about your life that you spend time reading the blog of somebody who (1) you have concluded is out of worthwhile material, and (2) you believe is a "complete idiot" and a "clueless dumbass."

Grange95 said...

For what it might be worth, as an attorney, I suspect if a casino felt any device (including a cell phone) were being used to cheat, casino security could seize the device and detain the person and hold both for the police. The police could likewise arrest the person and seize the device. If a search warrant were needed to review the phone's memory chip (or to get records from the company), it would likely be a fairly routine matter that could be obtained in short order.

I think the more likely reason a cell phone wouldn't be used to cheat is that it is far too easy for a nosy busybody to see what's on the phone screen. Chip placements, hand gestures, etc. are far more ambiguous and much more difficult to detect and prove.

Finally, if some enterprising team figured out how to cheat via texting, they almost certainly won't be at my meager little 1/2 NLHE table.

Anonymous said...

ummmm......I believe my reference was to the subject of cheating and the possibility of you being clueless. It is yet to be determined how clueless you are in other subjects. (G)

Also I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to "ponder" my life based entirely off my comments to you. I had no idea that I could "amuse" you that easily. grump has proven, These casinos believe they can detain you if you sneeze or fart in the wrong direction (or take "illegal" photos) those $3 rent-a-cops employed

Anonymous said...

grange95........a 1/2 game is a much better target for cheaters than the higer limit games due to the amount of experience the higher limits players are at detecting that cheating is going on.

Texting and receiving text can be done in complete silence and I could be sitting next to you and send a text and I would bet any amount of money that you would never even know I was going it.

a casino would throw you out if they thought you were cheating. Plus if they confronted someone they thought was cheating, all it takes is hitting 2 buttons on a phone to delete all previous text inbox and outbox. from that point they are going to have to get a court order to get the records. Provinig someone is cheating with a cell phone would be extremely hard to prove It is not like any other cheating device which has a sole purpose to defraud the casino and immediately proves your intention.

wake up. there are ways to cheat by using a texting devices and thats why all 10+ casino poker rooms that I have played in won't allow you to talk or text while you are actually in a hand. now how much they inforce those rules is up to the dealers, employees and other players.

Grange95 said...

Can texting be used to cheat? Sure, in theory, but it carries a high risk of detection, at least compared to other methods of cheating. Is it likely to occur at 1/2 or 2/5 NLHE? Very doubtful.

For cheating to occur, two or more people have to be at the same table. Then, there has to be a hand where: a) a big hand develops between one villain and one or more patsies, b) the patsy has enough money to make it worth the risk of cheating, and c) the information from the villain's partner's hand has to be relevant to the play of the hand.

There usually just isn't enough money in play at 1/2 and 2/5 NLHE for the risk of a sophisticated texting scam operation to work. These scammers are almost certain to be sitting in the 5/10 and up games.

You can certainly be paranoid about text cheaters at your little game if you want. I prefer to let them text, as they are almost certainly not paying attention to the game, and thus are likely not playing optimally. In fact, I hope they are happily engrossed in their online world as much of the time as possible, so long as they don't slow the game down.

FWIW, at small games, I think the habitual angleshooters and people who violate the "one player to a hand" and "English only" rules are a much bigger cheating concern than texters.