Casino Procedures Working With Pit Personnel

In order to successfully run a casino, all departments must work in unison and follow the approved procedures for various situations set forth by executive management. When a game is successfully cheated or the casino is robbed, pit personnel tend to immediately lose their jobs from not detecting and reporting it.

Therefore, it is imperative to follow the procedures to ensure no theft at the casino occurs and employees are able to keep their jobs. It is necessary to always let other departments know the Surveillance Department has everyone’s back with the eye in the sky. Surveillance is preset to help correct errors, detect cheating, identify theft and log procedural errors.

In return, there are specific guidelines that must be followed by pit personnel and other departments when calling for the assistance of the Surveillance Department. These include:

  • Giving your name and the pit number
  • Give the game number
  • Provide the name of the player and their position at the table
  • Describe the situation
  • For those with a heavy accent, speak slowly and clearly
  • For cheating, after providing your name and the game number immediately state your suspicions
  • In a cheating, situation do not allow payoff until Surveillance has reviewed

The previous is the most basic guidelines for pit personnel when calling surveillance for help. Another rule to follow is to report any suspicions regarding a dealer directly to the pit supervisor or a higher position as opposed to calling surveillance. Also, if a dealer makes an error, call surveillance with the name of the dealer. This will not get them into trouble but consistent errors will result in retraining for them.

If card-counting or other out-of-the-ordinary betting patterns are detected, contact the pit supervisor prior to calling surveillance. Finally, after calling, back away from the game to give the suspect air and allow surveillance to do its job. If you hang over them, the suspect will disappear leaving no evidence of their wrongdoing.

These are the common procedures most game floor departments follow when dealing with surveillance. This allows the department to utilize the cameras to catch someone in the act or acquire further evidence against them. Once again, all departments must work together to allow the casino to run effectively and efficiently. These blips in the normal flow can be eliminated through collaboration between surveillance and all departments.

A Look Into The World Of Card Counting

Floor personnel including, dealers, floor supervisors, and pit bosses have little time to count the number of cards within a standard deck. Therefore, this person needs to learn the ideas and methods behind card counting so they are more effective at catching someone in the act.
Three specific indicators differentiate a regular player from a card counter. These include:

  • The card counter is using a betting spread
  • The card counter is consistently deviating from standard strategy
  • The card counter is only taking insurance when the deck has high card values

Supervisors should be able to notice a high betting spread through simple observation. Since there will be a high betting fluctuation, it is safe for supervisors to assume that if this is a card counter they will make plays that deviate from the strategy and take insurance with high card values in the deck.

One card counting strategy is aggressively doubling-down and splitting 11 vs. and Ace, 9 vs. 2, 10 vs. 10, 10/10 vs. 5, and 10/10 vs. 6. Another strategy is standing during potential bust situations like 16 vs. 10, 15 vs. 10, 12 vs. 2, or taking insurance with any hand dealt.
These are two situations that may occur when a high bet is wagered.
On the other hand, when a small bet is wagered; hitting instead of doubling like with 11 vs. 10 and 9 vs. 11 and hitting during bust scenarios such as with 16 vs. 10, 15 vs. 10, and 12 vs. 4 and never taking insurance are common plays by a card counter.

With the surrender strategy, there are two types: basic strategy and the basic strategy multiple decks. The basic strategy is 16 vs. an Ace, 14 vs. 10, or 15 vs. 10. The basic strategy multiple decks occurs with a 14 vs. an Ace, 13 vs. 10, or 16 vs. 9 with multiple decks. Based on these three betting situations, the floor personnel should begin to notice a pattern in the fluctuation of the player’s strategy.

Once a player is suspected of this misdeed, a supervisor should be notified who then contacts the Surveillance department. They count all decks to find out if the player had been counting without taking time from the floor person. It is vital to not incriminate someone that is not actually a card counter. Card counting and discovering card counters is an art that can only be mastered through experience.

Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” is the universal code known as Murphy’s Law. This idea is especially important in the Surveillance Department at casinos due to the many applications. Some of these include:

  • Dining cameras
  • Cameras not recording
  • Wheel camera out of focus
  • Drive going down

The rare situations where a camera is not available for a game is the same time a patron wins a huge jackpot or someone is cheating. In many instances, the Surveillance Department is not aware of this malfunction or in worse cases, this is not reported to the proper gaming department. When this occurs it can be a hectic and unsure scenario.

Another application of Murphy’s Law occurs when cameras are not recording a specific game even though the camera was previously working fine. This will be the same time one guest steals from another guest’s chip rack. Had it been caught on tape, the player will be arrested within moments. Since the camera was not recording, there is no proof of this misdeed.

A third application occurs when the wheeled camera on a Roulette table is out of focus and the dealer mismarks a number with all six players placing multiple wagers around the board. This will cause chaos amongst those players that have won but there is no recorded proof to substantiate this claim.

The final instance occurs when there is an equipment failure at the cashout window. At this same time, a customer will question a specific cash-out as being incorrect. If the equipment is down, there is again, no way to validate the claim by the customer.

This is a phenomenon that occurs in most businesses. The best way to manage these situations is to maintain a high attention to detail and continue to do your job. Also, ensure all cameras are focused in the correct spots and recording. Additionally, never focus game cameras on inactive areas of the casino. Instead, keep all active areas covered by cameras.

If there is an equipment issue, immediately report it to technical services so it can be fixed. While waiting, move other cameras to observe the area and notify management in the uncovered area so they can shut the games down. If these tasks are not completed, they will eventually come back against you.

Cameras in casinos are some of the most important pieces of equipment to verify wins, observe cheats and ensure all transactions are running smoothly. If they break and are not fixed promptly, it is common for Murphy’s Law to come into play and make situations much worse than necessary.