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Handling Payout Disputes

Most payout disputes that erupt at the craps table usually involves some inattentive bozo who is looking for his Hard-6 bet that fell to a soft and fluffy Easy-6 several rolls ago.

On balance, the rest of the payout disputes usually arise from a small oversight on the player’s part or an unintentional mispay by a dealer. Both are usually easily resolvable by a brief conversation with the dealer and/or the box-person.

However, if you play in stores that have inexperienced break-in crews, and/or lots of center-of-the-table prop and hop action, and/or a high percentage of testosterone-charged frat/stag/sausage parties, and/or a fair share of drunk players…then you are going to see an elevated number of payout disputes.

Happily though, almost none of them should involve your money if you ensure that your bets are placed in their proper betting-spot on the table in the first place, and that you give "same bet/press/parlay/regress/turn me 'Off'/take me down" instructions at the proper time in the dealers bet-payout sequence.

Having said that though, there may be rare instances that involve veteran crews, sober and game-savvy players who understand the basics of how bets are paid in order, and minimal prop and hop action…when a serious payout dispute does arise involving your money.

~The first thing to do is REMAIN CALM and DO NOT start cursing or swearing.

~Try to resolve it with the box-person by verbally trying to reconstruct what happened and why your payout should be amended. Many times, if you are a good, well-respected customer, they will reverse a payout decision that initially went against you...even if you were wrong or the dealer didn't hear/mis-heard your instructions.

If you resort to condescending rhetoric or hair-trigger "I'm gonna kill your dog and rape your wife unless I get my money RIGHT NOW" anger; your chances of having the dispute resolved in your favor drops precipitously with each additional word that you spew.

It’s not so ironic to observe that over the years I've noticed that the louder a player argues his point, the less likely he is to have a decision reversed in his favor.

~If you keep your wits about you by not popping any blood-vessels in your forehead or unzipping your pants to prove your manhood...and you reserve your sarcasm for political and religious discussions instead of using it to try to brow-beat the dice-crew into submission…you may be surprised at how often and how quickly payout disputes get resolved in your favor.

In fact, if you have the respect of the dice-crew, you may be surprised at the total lack of payout disputes that you'll actually encounter over the years. Respect doesn't come from being a belligerant asshole.

Low-maintenance, low-aggravation players will encounter the fewest payout hassles, while high-maintenance, high-aggravation players will encounter the most payout hassles.

Still though, regardless of the type of player that you are, you may run into a payout dispute that is not resolved to your satisfaction by the box-person.

~At that point you can politely ask to speak to the TGS while concurrently advising the box-person to toss a lammer (one of those plastic buttons that mark Buy and Lay bets) in front of the his position (more about this very important point in a moment).

~The Table Game Supervisor (TGS) is the person who oversees a couple of tables. They are the guys who sometimes sub for the boxman during his break. Many times, he or she will resolve the dispute if you explain the situation in a calm step-by-step "Here's precisely what happened" manner.

Though all of the TGS's wear a suit, do not mistake them for the Pit Manager. If the TGS doesn't resolve the problem, then you can ask to speak to the Pit Manager.

~The PM oversees the entire table-games pit in which your craps game is located. There may be other craps layouts as well as BJ, LiR, 3-Card Poker, Mini-Bac and other games in the same pit. He is responsible for all of them and he has a much higher authority than the TGS.

~Often times, the PM will instantly resolve a payout dispute in the players favor just to save the hassle of it going to the next step.

~The next step is for the PM to call Surveillance to review the tape. Their eye-in-the-sky video usually resolves a payout or bet-placement issue but it takes a bit of time for them to find the actual incident on the tape.

Okay that brings us back to the point when you asked the boxman to toss a lammer in front of his position on the table.

That lammer gives the surveillance guys a time reference point at which they can back up the digital tape. Doing so saves a ton of time when the “accident reconstruction team” starts to analyze the tape...which means you’ll get a decision from ‘upstairs’ much quicker.

~Obviously the video replay cannot resolve a verbal instruction that wasn't carried out or one where it was carried out improperly (although a couple of MGM-Mirage properties are experimenting with digital voice recording at their no-boxman tables).

Surveillance can reconstruct what took place and relay that information to the PM. Upon further review, the Pit Manager can either support and uphold the original decision or reverse it in your favor. If he supports the original egregiously wrong decision, he'll usually tell you exactly what the tape showed.

~If you are still unsatisfied, you can ask to speak to the Casino Shift Manager. It may take several minutes before he arrives. Again...it is critically important that you remain calm and composed during all of your conversations as well as the interim times when you are waiting for the CSM to show up.

If you try to argue your case to anyone who is walking by or anyone within earshot, you aren't doing your cause any favor.

If you are steaming like a sexually-aroused bull…or
Venezuela ’s Hugo Chavez; it doesn’t really help your case. In fact, even if they resolve this situation in your favor at this point; they may also unfairly label you as a difficult player whose future play will be discouraged by lack of comp-offers, indifferent treatment by the dealers, and an enhanced enforcement of the game rules.

It never ceases to amaze me how often you’ll see the crew hyper-enforce the hit-the-backwall rules against some players and be totally lax about enforcing them against others.

Guys, that’s no accident. That’s the reality of being perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a high-maintenance, high-stroke player. Even if you are a friend or associate of that player, don't be surprised if the same hyper-enforcement of the rules are applied against you and everyone else in your posse.

So can you take a payout dispute ‘up the ladder’ beyond the Casino Shift Manager if you are still dissatisfied?

Yes you can, but it involves a little more hassle.

~You can ask for a Gaming Agent (from the Gaming Control Board/Casino Control Commission, etc.) to be called in to review and possibly over-rule the decision; however that can take up to several hours if a Gaming Agent isn't on the premises…and that is generally the case everywhere except in Atlantic City.

~If the CSM feels that your claim is baseless; then it is within the casino’s right to have you first put your complaint in writing without having to call in a Gaming Agent.

In that case you simply fill out a Complaint Form that is submitted to the appropriate gaming authorities in your jurisdiction. It usually takes anywhere from three weeks to six months for a final and binding adjudication to be handed down.

In most cases though, a payout dispute can be quickly, easily, and painlessly resolved right at the table without the threat or actual use of your homicidal tendencies.

Simply keep your wits about you and keep your venomous fangs in check. Being a decent person will not turn you gay, and being a polite player will almost always see a payout dispute resolved in your favor…even when a fair weighing of the evidence could easily have it decided against you.

Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

Copyright © 2007-2008

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 8, 2008 6:20 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Stretching Your Current Bet-Comfort to Reflect Your True Edge.

The next post in this blog is Creating More Shooting Opportunities Part Five.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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