Most players in the know have learned all about the notorious “Black Book” of the Silver State. Better known as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) Excluded Individual List, the Black Book is basically a gambling graveyard for cheats, mobsters, and other undesirables.
Once your name goes to the Black Book, you can kiss every hope of seeing the inside of a Nevada Casino goodbye. But though only 33 of the most extreme are listed, casinos around the country have “86’d” thousands of guests for infringements of property rules and regulations.
1 – Flushing Counterfeit Poker Chips Down the Toilet After Trying to Cheat
We might as well start things off with the dumbest possible way I’ve ever heard someone get trespassed from the casino.
Back in 2014, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa held its annual Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City , New Jersey. The opening event of the famous poker tournament series offered a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million, and more than 4,000 players made a $560 buy-in to join the fun. One of those players was a previously unknown North Carolina amateur named Christian Lusardi. Despite his relative inexperience, Lusardi cut through a stacked field packed with top-level professionals to finish his Day 1 as the overall chip chief. That feat won him a sweet $2,000 cash bonus, but Lusardi’s potential payoff amounted to $372,123 if he went on to claim the title of the tournament.
He ended up going bust halfway through Day 2, however, winning a meager $6,814 score as the tournament went on without him. Eventually, the 27 players left standing locked up five-figure paydays while waiting for the intense Day 3 sprint to the final table, or so they figured. Before the Day 3 action began, players, tournament officials, and members of the poker media were shocked by the Borgata ‘s surprising announcement. A conspicuous disparity soon became evident during the casino’s regular audit of its tournament chip collection used in the tournament.
Instead of counting the 96,240,000 worth of tournament chips that were meant to be in the player’s pockets, there were a few million more that were unrecognized. Upon closer inspection, they were clearly marked as counterfeit chips purchased from a Chinese company.
Although the tournament was suspended until an investigation by the New Jersey Gaming Powers Division, rumors began to spread in the Borgata. According to the word on the street, the housekeepers at the nearby Harrah casino were struggling with a strange case for the maintenance staff — a toilet clogged with the Borgata Tournament Chips.
Soon enough, the sordid facts of this case have emerged. Lusardi had hidden counterfeit high denomination chips in his pocket before sitting on Day 1. As the event took place, he surreptitiously added a few chips to his stack at a time, without other players knowing it.
Realizing that the jig would be up once the poker room audit process had started, he panicked and went to the next door to dispose of the evidence.
Lusardi was soon behind bars and charged with a litany of theft and forgery, with a judge finally serving a five-year jail term on the toilet clogging the bandit.
Oh yeah, he’s not allowed to walk into any New Jersey casino or MGM Resorts property nationally.
2 – Using Celebrity Status to Criticize a Casino’s Operations
And now for something completely different.
In the 1980s, the lead singer of Mötley Crüe, Vince Neil, toured the world as a bona fide rock god. The most popular vocalist for his hit song “Dr. Feelgood ‘had it all — adoring fans, groupies, and carte blanche at any casino he’d wanted to visit.
Neil was subsequently shot by his Mötley Crüe bandmates due to heavy drinking and irrational behaviour. This was the heyday of heavy metal and hair bands, you know, so obviously Neil crossed the main line to get a boot from a chart-topping band.
Quick forward to 2006 and Neil had a variety of business projects in Sin City, including a strip club called Vince Neil’s Girls Girls Girls.
Visiting the adult playground in Las Vegas will definitely do a lot to all of us, but living there must be an fascinating experience to say the least for an aging former star. Or so it would seem after Neil’s temper tantrum on Twitter led to a decisive ban on Palms casino property.
Following a spat with the Palms night club boss, sparked by Neil’s failure to comply with strict seating quotas, the rocker rocked the boat on social media by sending the following post to nearly half a million followers:
Just a few hours after hitting the dreaded “SEND” button, Neil was told by Palms security staff that he was no longer welcome to the house.
Though Neil pleaded his case on Twitter, the Palms High-ups released a concise statement justifying their decision to “86” a formerly welcome celebrity:
“Oh, Mr. Neil has recently made critical remarks on Palms on Twitter, but he does not discuss his own actions. As a result of Mr. Neil’s offensive conduct, he was forced to quit a restaurant in Palms.
We at Palms take customer service very seriously, but we also take the well-being of our team members just as seriously. We can not and will not encourage our guests to mistreat our team members, no matter who they are.
As a result of his conduct, Mr. Neil is no longer welcome to Palms.
3 – Abusing the Dealer During a Losing Streak or After a Bad Beat
Speaking of mistreating team members at the casino, let’s quickly get one out of the way that many gamblers don’t seem to find all that strange — dealer violence.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a player lose their cool while losing their shirt in the pit of a table game. And while most bemoan their plight by muttering to themselves or shouting at the man upstairs, the worst losers are taking away the bad news from the dealers.
Casino dealers, of course, have a thick skin, and managers teach their staff to expect a constant stream of invective when a certain sort of player gets their brains pounded in. As long as the dealer doesn’t mind babysitting a sore loser, most pit bosses will turn a blind eye and let the player keep sending more money to their casino’s coffers.
4 – Winning So Frequently That the House Declines to Accept Your Action
What’s worse than a bad loser? Well, to some of the stingier casinos out there, the answer is a consistent winner.
Just ask Hollywood heartthrob Ben Affleck, after the Las Vegas regular and certified card sharp found himself “backed off” while playing hard rock blackjack in 2014. In the world of blackjack, so-called advantage play experts are harnessing the power of counting cards to give themselves the rarest gift in casino gambling — the edge over the house.
Affleck, a former California State Poker Championship winner who knows his way around a deck of cards, seems to have learned how to count in between filming award-winning flicks.
It’s propensity to bet big while the count was in his favor, and to dial the bets back when the dealer had the goods, caught the attention of an astute pit boss. Before the “Argo” director realized what was going on, he felt a telling tap on the shoulder that marked the end of the “lucky” card counter sprint.
Affleck wasn’t entirely banned from the hard rock. But for a sharp player who doesn’t dabble in games of chance, losing the right to play (and win) blackjack is basically the same penalty.
Walking through a casino can be intoxicating in more than one way. Yeah, you have a constant supply of complimentary alcohol that complicates things, yet there’s also a feeling of suspended reality that accompanies every successful gambling space.
Big money risked on careless bets, adult high-five and cavity like college students, and any vice your heart desires on demand — casinos will bring out the worst in everyone. And when they do, those who can not control themselves easily put themselves on the security radar. One wrong step is all it takes to get kicked out for good and never to get back.