I want to thank everyone for the great response to my last article about abuse in poker, especially directed at dealers and women. This article will focus on solutions.
Last week I played the H.O.R.S.E. event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino. When we were down to two tables in the qualifier, I witnessed a serious incident of abuse at the table.
My friend Walter, a player in his 80’s, was verbally attacked by a younger player. He kept berating Walter to the point where he said something to the effect that, “When I finish with you, old man, you will walk out of here a cripple.”
Walter, a military veteran I have played with for over forty years, would have definitely fired back in his younger days. Instead, Walter was very quiet and threw off his chips and was knocked out soon after.
Walter was being bullied because the player knew he could do it without consequences.
The abusive player stood up spewing f-bombs across the table and the room so loud it could not be missed. There were three women at the table – my wife, another female player and the dealer. This easily was some of the most atrocious behavior I have seen at the poker table, and believe me, I have seen fights break out, guns pulled and cards thrown in the face of dealers and floor staff.
I got up and asked the floor person, who was only four feet away, “How can you allow this to continue?” He said he did not hear it. I was totally let down. I decided to address it with Mo Faithipour, the Bike’s tournament director, the next day. Mo was very disturbed by the story and said it would never be tolerated.
Mo, Matt Savage, Commerce Casino’s tournament director, and Corey Silver, the tournament director at Hollywood Park Casino, are all working diligently on making Los Angeles a better place to play poker for all players.
I feel the best thing a player can do when they see something is to say something. Leave the table, find the tournament directors or supervisor, and alert them of the problem, so if they are called over to the table, they have a heads up. This will go along way to police our industry.
The tournament staff will appreciate it, and I hope this will provide anonymity for those who are trying to help. It’s time for the WSOP to set examples for other tournaments to follow. I remember two years ago a player at a WSOP event was so abusive he stopped play at several tables next to his. He was yelling at the dealer, the other players and dropping f-bombs. He was out of control.
It took a minute to get not one but several floor staff over to address his behavior. I thought for sure he would be disqualified from the tournament, but he just got a warning. I thought, “Who is this guy that has so much clout he just got a warning?”
It’s time for this behavior to stop. Let 2018 be the year the WSOP sets the example for all other tournaments.
My son Jaden suggested using social media or texting to alert tournament staff of situations that are spiraling out of control.
It’s time for the TDA to address and establish guidelines, not just on how to best play the game, which they have done a great job in doing, but to address conduct at the table.
Let’s get signage on conduct rules posted at casinos and on casino and tourney websites with the schedule of events.
There has always been talk of recognizing poker as a sport. Creating a uniform code of conduct for all tournaments will be the first major step. I don’t see how we can move forward without one.