There are numerous issues that Poker Tournament directors have to face in setting up and managing big events. In 2014, one of the issues that has raised its ugly head is the safety of poker chips during events.
The first incident occurred in Jan 2014 at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City when one of the players was alleged to have used counterfeit chips during his event in order to get an unfair advantage over other players. To make matters worse, the concerned individual tried to get rid of these chips by flushing them down a drain. These chips ended up getting stuck in a drain and drew a lot of negative publicity to the Borgata. The casino not only had to cancel the $2 million guaranteed poker tournament but also has to deal with a lawsuit that was filed by players at that event.
The second incident occurred in Feb 2014 when the World Series of Poker Circuit stopped at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida. Another player was caught taking one chip from his stack during heads-up play. The WSOP came down hard on him and banned him from all Caesars Entertainment properties and WSOP events. He was also stripped of his winnings and title.
Even both of these incidents are serious, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel said there was no need for concern as these matters have been brought to light and dealt with.
The fact that in all cases the perpetrators were caught is evidence that [the] procedures work.
We don’t discuss specifics regarding our chip security procedures, but know that all chips in and out of events are controlled, documented, and audited on an ongoing basis. When the same chip set is in play for restarts and final tables, they are monitored closely but usually there are different denominations on the table at that point. Keep in mind that our dealers and floor staff are trained to treat tournament chips as though they were as sensitive as cash.
Tournament directors will now have to be a lot more careful in monitoring events and will also have to put more procedures in place to discourage players from such activities. Players should have a clear understanding of the consequences of such acts and tournament staff must be further trained in order to be more vigilant and spot any such malpractices.
Matt Savage, the Executive Tour Director for the World Poker Tour said
A tournament chip needs an edge marking. Some places are running small daily tournaments and can’t afford custom sets, but if you are handling a tournament with millions of dollars at stake, the chips have to be difficult, if not impossible to duplicate.
I might be giving away a trade secret here, but I think its super important for a floorman to go and get the chips the minute the tournament is over. Your job is to get them and make sure everything adds up. Sometimes there will be a winner photo taken, but I don’t allow the players to sit there with all of the chips. If you look at my winner photos, the players are sitting behind neat stacks of 20, which makes it a lot more obvious if a chip is taken.