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Overruling ‘It Lays it Plays’

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Okay Mark, as a former Pit Boss, please tell me how you'd handle the situation I had on a crap table. I'd been playing about an hour placing $5 Pass line bets until one more seven ended my night. But, like any other gambler, I figured just one more try might swing luck back in my direction.

Accordingly, I threw a $20 bill onto the table. To my surprise, within seconds it was gone; collected by a dealer when a three was rolled, and he assumed I wanted to play the whole $20. I didn’t put up much of a fuss but, I would like to know what might have happened if I pushed it any further? Lenny D.

Lenny, let me say that In most casinos when you lay paper bills directly on the Pass line, you are telling the dealer your cash is in action. Once the roll is complete and you lost, normally you do not have any recourse and you are at the mercy of the person on duty at the box .

Now, if your play had been a consistent $5 bet throughout your gambling session, it would not usually be that hard to convince, Yours Truly at least, that you were really asking to break that $20 bill into chips.

That consistent play can help your case for a reversal. The box person can confer with the dealer and easily verify your previous playing pattern. Or, they can call upstairs and ask security to review the film that is recording the game.

What is not a complete certainty is that having played consistently will immunize you against the result of your failure to inform the dealer you had wanted to exchange the $20 bill for $5 chips.

For my part, a split second decision would most likely have received your four nickel chips. Nonetheless, the way each casino handles a ‘rules-are-rules’ scenario, the resolution might be different among my pit boss peers.

Dear Mark: I saw something for the first time recently when I observed a blackjack dealer swirling all the cards around on the table like we used to do as kids when playing cards. Why might the dealer have been doing this? Jason P.

Shuffling cards encompasses all kinds of card-mixing techniques, Jason, to prepare a deck or decks of cards for continued play. All casinos emply shuffling procedures that are a combination of steps to mix the cards. These techniques can include steps, such as ‘stripping’, ‘boxing’, ‘riffling’, ‘plugging’, ‘cutting’, or other techniques.

One of these method is called ‘card washing.’ This is when the dealer is a spreads all of the cards on the table face down, and proceeds to swirl them around with his hands in a face-washing motion before he gathers them up and performs a normal shuffle. Card washing is an effort to remove any sequencing consistencies in the cards that a new cards may have.

Card washing is seldom done at a blackjack table, but you will observe it at a baccarat table where the cards are washed after the old decks are taken out of the game, and fresh new decks are brought in to replace them.

At the many casinos where I dealt Blackjack, we never used the card washing technique. But, at the two casinos where I dealt baccarat, we washed the cards after every shoe. I liked that it gave me some down time to take a deep breath when dealing high-limit games.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:
“Gambling was his life. He played incessantly, passionately, joyfully, and always for high stakes; not as a business or a profession, but as truly devoted monks must pray... as a kind of prolonged ecstasy.” – Nick "The Greek" Dandalos, Gambling Secrets of Nick the Greek (1968)