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Trump Taj Mahal fined $91,000 after workers fail to detect unshuffled cards AC Pres

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By HOA NGUYEN Staff Writer

Seven patrons amassed nearly $400,000 in winnings at mini-Baccarat after a dealer placed eight decks of cards into an automatic shuffling device at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort but failed to activate the machine, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement said.

The lapse in gambling and surveillance procedures led to the firing of nine casino employees and a fine of $91,236 against the Taj Mahal, according to the division, which issued its ruling Monday.

On Dec. 10, 2011, a dealer failed to shuffle eight decks of cards before placing them into play, the division said. Then, the casino permitted the gambling to continue with the unshuffled cards for about 3½ hours during which time the dealer, supervisor and surveillance personnel failed to notice what had happened, according to the division.

A spokesman for the Taj Mahal could not be reached for comment.

Gambling experts said the incident was reminiscent of cheating scandals in which there is collusion between players and dealers.

However, in this case, the New Jersey State Police were brought in to investigate, and they concluded “no criminal conduct occurred,†according to the division’s complaint.

That is surprising, gambling experts said, because casino employees are trained to detect the presence of unshuffled cards.

“My immediate conclusion was that there was collusion between the dealer and the player,†said David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Mini-baccarat is played with only two hands, one for the player and the other for the banker, said John Grochowski, who writes the Gaming Guru column for The Press of Atlantic City. The dealer plays both hands, and the object is to guess which hand is going to come closer to the sum of 9.

Because the game is based on guesses with no optional moves, knowing what order the cards are being dealt places the players at a huge advantage, experts said. In this case, the eight decks were unshuffled and were being drawn in the same suit and number order, according to the gaming-enforcement division.

What also strikes gambling experts unusual with the incident was the pace of play.

Typically, the game of mini-baccarat moves at a relatively fast pace, Grochowski said. But in this case, play moved along at a crawl, according to the complaint. One player was at the table when the decks were placed in the dealing shoe and play began at 1:22 p.m. The dealing shoe wasn’t emptied until 4:43 p.m.

“It doesn’t add up,†Grochowski said.

The division’s complaint shows that Taj personnel did detect something was amiss at the table, particularly after one patron won $100,000. As a result of those winnings, a casino shift manager contacted the surveillance department at 3:25 p.m. and asked that he be allowed to view the camera footage, according to the division.

For about 25 minutes, the shift manager reviewed the surveillance but failed to detect the unshuffled cards, the division said. About 20 minutes later, at the urging of the Taj Mahal’s casino operations vice president, the shift manager and the surveillance shift manager again reviewed the video but were still unable to spot the unshuffled cards, the division said.

As a result of what happened, the casino shift manager, three dealers, a floorperson, a dual-rated floorperson/dealer and three dual-rated floorperson/assistant shift managers were fired, according to the division.

The Taj Mahal also installed a $2.2 million digital-recording system to improve game surveillance and added eight more people to its department, the division said.

Taj Mahal was ordered to pay a fine of $55,000 to the New Jersey Casino Revenue Fund and reimburse the fund $36,236 in tax revenue lost as a result of the regulatory violation, officials said. This is the first time within the past three years the casino has been cited for these violations, according to the division.

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Good grief! Sometimes I wonder about the intelligence of these officials. You certailny can't blame the State Police. What do they know about gambling?

Of course there was collusion involved!

Look, the fact that the cards were not shuffled does NOT produce a duplicate shoe. Think about it. The cards are dealt P B P B, then possibly one or 2 hits. But then the cards are picked up with the whole Player hand on the bottom and the Bank hand on top. This totally changes the order of the cards in the discard shoe from what they were in the dealer shoe.

Therefore omitting the shuffle dosen't help any player in the next shoe UNLESS A PLAYER OR PLAYERS KNEW in advance that the cards were not going to be shuffled. Then they could simply track the order of the discards in the discard shoe. There would be absolutely no purpose in doing this UNLESS the player knew the cards were not going to be shuffled. Therefore we establish collusion.

Then, even if the cards are cut for the new shoe, once the player sees the first 3 cards of the new shoe he simply looks for that particular order on his cheat sheet. From there he can compute the winner of each upcoming hand BEFORE it is dealt. If he is stupid enough he'll win every hand. But if he's smart he will purposely lose has fair share of hands but bet much higher on his fair share of winning hands. Had he done that, they probably would have got away with it. But a player winning every hand is a dead givaway.

Collusion plain and simple. Somebody knew the cards were not going to be shuffled and therefore recorded the order of discards.

It is likely the casino fired a lot of innocent people along with the guilty.

Hiring 8 new people won't help a bit. All they needed to do was hire ME!

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BTW, a single player and a single dealer in collusion could get away with this easily time and time again as long as they use their heads and don't get greedy.

Thought was given that the dealer might have put boxed order cards directly into the machine in spite of the FACT that this is never allowed, and then didn't turn it on. But any pit boss would have caught this on the first hand or two and stopped the game unless the pit boss was in on it too. But that is just too stupid. If that is what they did I can't believe those involved could possibly be that stupid. Also the film reviewers would pick up on that immediarely but several film reviewers saw nothing odd about the shoe. No, I think it happened exactly as I said.

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