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Robert Turner, a legendary poker player, has contributed so much to our poker world. As GamingToday newspaper readers, we are so fortunate to have him as one of its poker columnists. His recent column on “Poker can use conduct” raises an important issue that every casino should address.

But first, let me tell you a bit about this amazing man. Robert Turner probably has finished in the top ten in more poker tournaments than anyone else in the world. Data I have going back to the early 1980’s, shows he has played poker games ranging from Texas hold’em to Omaha, HORSE, stud, Razz, Lowball; limit, no-limit and pot-limit. Wow!

He was responsible for introducing the game of Omaha into cardrooms in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He has held leadership/executive positions in several casinos, and taught poker to countless men and women, helping them learn how to win at poker.

In the March 27 issue of GamingToday, Turner focuses on improper behavior that occasionally occurs in card rooms – more often than we would like. Recently, while playing in a HORSE tournament at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, the game was down to two tables in the qualifier when he witnessed “a serious incident of abuse at the table.”

An elderly player named Walter – a military veteran well into his 80’s – was verbally attacked by a much younger player. At one point, the abusive one said something to the effect, “When I finish with you, old man, you will walk out of here a cripple.”

Robert further describes how the abusive player “stood up spewing f-bombs across the table… so loud it could not be missed.” There were three women at the table, but that did not deter the abuser one bit.

When Robert called this behavior to the attention of the floor person who was only a short distance from the table, he dismissed the occurrence, saying he did not hear it. Robert thinks he abuser displayed this horrible behavior because he knew “he could do it without consequences.”

We can understand there may well be occasions when one player (call him abusive if you will) attacks another at the table. (Hopefully it is only verbal – no physical contact.) Disputes will arise. I have seen several break out while playing poker at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Casino (my favorite poker room) in Gardena, Calif. But there was a big difference.

Before you knew it, security staff was at the table to resolve and handle the matter. Often, I have seen them calmly and self-assuredly, escort the abuser out of the casino. The security people did it so peacefully – using minimal restraining force only if necessary. Players at nearby tables may not even have realized what was happening.

Obviously, the security personnel are well trained and well prepared to handle such situations. In this regard, I would judge the Hustler casino can set an example for other casinos to follow.

And, by the way, the security staff is so courteous to visitors, always with a pleasant smile. Recently, I found some blood oozing from a finger. Apparently, I had scraped it against an object near my seat at the table. (Being on blood thinner, such things are more likely to happen.) I showed my cut finger to a security person. He immediately cleansed the wound to prevent infection, bandaged it and gave me another band-aid in case I should need it.

Shortly after returning to my seat at the table, several casino staff came to me, with camera in hand. They inspected the chair and adjacent table area to find the rough spot so it could be filed smooth. I would never have expected such caring treatment at a casino.

About the Author

George Epstein

A retired engineer, George Epstein is the author of “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” and “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision.” He teaches poker courses and conducts a unique Poker Lab at the Claude Pepper Senior Center under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and at West Los Angeles College.

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