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Malfunction Voids All Pays & Plays

Updated: Feb 25

You've likely encountered notices like the one above on a slot machine at some point, but this warning extends to table games as well, especially those incorporating electronic devices like card shufflers or digital displays.

Understanding a slot machine glitch that erroneously indicates a million-dollar win on a machine with a much lower maximum jackpot clearly shown on the machine is relatively straightforward. It's more perplexing when errors occur during games like Blackjack or Three Card Poker resulting in an underpayment, a more common occurrence than one might think due to dealer mistakes.

Having spent considerable time in casinos since relocating to Vegas, I've had ample opportunity to observe dealer conduct regularly. Unfortunately, I've noticed that some dealers exhibit a tendency towards carelessness.

During a recent Three Card Poker session, a new dealer joined the table shortly after I sat down and began to fumble right out of the chute.  Initially, she neglected to pay out a win for a PAIR PLUS bet, inadvertently overlooking a player's pair of sixes against her pair of Jacks. The player lost the overall hand but was still owed the PAIR PLUS payoff.  Next, she prematurely discarded folded cards with a potential 6th card winning combination, and later underpaid a straight win, also involving a 6th card. Although she rectified some mistakes independently, others required intervention from a pit boss.

I was ready for a break at that point and left the table. No telling what happened afterward. My advice is to remain vigilant and politely address any concerns regarding potential underpayments, remembering the importance of maintaining composure.

Rarely, a dealer will overpay. They may catch themselves a moment later but not always. Be ready to return the extra chips if asked to do so.  

Among table games, Craps is notorious for causing dealers to lose track of payouts due to the fast-paced nature of the game. However, ensuring accurate payouts in games like Blackjack or Three Card Poker should not be overly challenging.

The underlying causes of frequent dealer errors remain uncertain, whether stemming from a lack of adequately trained personnel, boredom, or burnout.

Some dealers conduct the game at a speed that surpasses a players’ capacity to keep track. In such instances, I find myself politely asking them to moderate their pace, so that I can stay in sync.

Ultimately, it's incumbent upon players to keep track of their wagers and potential winnings. Just as with slot machines, where players are reminded to verify printed vouchers, we must also scrutinize payouts and transactions during table play.

Happily, I recently encountered a meticulous dealer who diligently verified payouts, demonstrating a commitment to accuracy by carefully reviewing what he was doing. He admitted to those of us seated at the table that "It's hard to read the payouts upside down", which, of course it is, from the dealer's perspective. There must be a better way, casino bosses.

That dealer's attention to detail is commendable and underscores the importance of diligence among dealers and players alike.

I was shocked not long ago when I noticed that a deck with red colored backs turned up two cards with green colored backs in the pack! The dealer noticed and called the pit boss over. He simply provided a new deck and the game continued. What the heck was that about? Were there suddenly two extra cards in that deck? How are we supposed to trust the integrity of the game when something like that happens? The mind reels. What can be done about it? Not much, practically speaking, except, once again, to stay vigilant, because we can’t count on anyone else to do so.  Or, if you don't trust a particular establishment, don't play there.

There have been recent questions about the integrity of a bank of progressive slots at a certain brand-new casino in Vegas that don't seem to be paying off the way the math indicates they should. To their credit, the casino shut them down pending an investigation. The state gaming control folks are pretty good about staying on top of these issues, but things do fall through the cracks.

In conclusion, while errors and malfunctions may occur during casino play, maintaining awareness and addressing concerns promptly and politely are essential for ensuring a fair gaming experience.

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