Most gamblers in the know have heard all about the Silver State’s infamous “Black Book.” Better known as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) Excluded Person List, the Black Book is essentially a gambling graveyard for cheats, mobsters, and other undesirables.
Once your name goes in the Black Book, you can kiss any chance of seeing the inside of a Nevada casino goodbye. But while only 33 of the most serious are listed there, casinos all over the country have “86’d” thousands of guests for violations of property rules and regulations.
Below, you’ll find four of the stranger real-life situations that have led to players getting the permanent boot.
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, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, played host to its annual Winter Poker Open. The opening event of the popular poker tournament series promised a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million, and more than 4,000 players ponied up a $560 buy-in to join the fun.
One of those players was a previously unknown amateur out of North Carolina by the name of Christian Lusardi. Despite his relative inexperience, Lusardi sliced through a stacked field filled with top-tier professionals to finish his Day 1 as the overall chip leader. That feat earned him a sweet $2,000 cash bonus, but Lusardi’s potential payday topped out at $372,123 should he go on to claim the tournament title.
He wound up going bust midway through Day 2, however, earning a modest $6,814 score while the tournament continued on without him. Eventually, the 27 players left standing locked up five-figure paydays while awaiting the intense Day 3 sprint to the final table or so they thought.
Before the action on Day 3 kicked off, players, tournament officials, and members of the poker media were stunned by a shocking announcement from the Borgata. During the casino’s routine audit of its tournament chip set used in the tournament, a glaring discrepancy quickly became apparent.
Rather than counting up the 96,240,000 worth of tournament chips that should have been in the players’ bags, several million more which were unaccounted for turned up. Upon closer inspection, these were clearly identified as counterfeit chips purchased from a Chinese company.
While the tournament was paused pending an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming enforcement, rumors began circulating throughout the Borgata. According to the word on the street, housekeepers at the neighboring Harrah’s casino were dealing with a curious case for the maintenance staff—a toilet clogged with Borgata tournament chips.
Soon enough the sordid facts of this case emerged. Lusardi had concealed counterfeit high denomination chips in his pocket before sitting down for Day 1. As the event played out, he surreptitiously added a couple chips at a time to his stack without other players noticing.
This allowed Lusardi to increase his chip equity without risk, which further enabled him to play the “big stack bully” role and become chip leader.
Realizing that the jig would be up once the poker room audit process began, he panicked and went next door to dispose of the evidence.
Lusardi was soon behind bars and charged on a litany of cheating and counterfeiting crimes, with a judge eventually sentencing the toilet clogging bandit to a five-year prison sentence.
And oh yeah, he was banned from stepping foot into any New Jersey casino or MGM Resorts property nationwide.
2 – Using Celebrity Status to Criticize a Casino’s Operations
And now for something completely different.
During the 1980s, Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil toured the world as a bona fide rock god. The vocalist best known for his hit song “Dr. Feelgood” had it all—adoring fans, groupies, and carte blanche at any casino he decided to visit.
Neil was eventually fired by his Mötley Crüe bandmates due to excessive drinking and erratic behavior. This was the heyday of heavy metal and hair bands, mind you, so clearly Neil crossed a major line to get the boot from a chart-topping band.
Fast forward to 2006 and Neil had a number of business ventures in Sin City, namely a strip club called “Vince Neil’s Girls Girls Girls.”
Visiting the adult playground of Las Vegas can certainly do a number on any of us, but for an aging former celebrity, living there must be an interesting experience to say the least. Or so it would seem after Neil’s temper tantrum on Twitter led to a decisive property ban from the Palms casino.
Following a spat with a nightclub manager at the Palms—prompted by Neil’s refusal to abide by strict seating limits—the rocker rocked the boat on social media by sending the following message to his nearly half-million followers:
I love Vegas, but DO NOT GO TO LITTLE BUDDHA @palms IN VEGAS!! OMG RUDEST STAFF EVER!! Don't go!!
Just a few hours after drunkenly hitting the dreaded “SEND” button, Neil was informed by Palms security staff that he was no longer welcome on the property.
While Neil pleaded his case on Twitter, the Palms higher-ups issued a succinct statement explaining their decision to “86” the formerly welcome celeb:
“Mr. Neil has recently made negative comments about Palms on Twitter, however, he fails to mention his own actions. As a result of Mr. Neil’s inappropriate behavior, he was asked to leave a restaurant at Palms.
We at Palms take customer service very seriously, but we also take the wellbeing of our team members just as seriously. We cannot and will not allow our guests, no matter who they are, to mistreat our team members.
As a result of his actions, Mr. Neil is no longer welcome at 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 knock one out of the way that many gamblers don’t seem to find all that strange—dealer abuse.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a player lose their cool while losing their shirt in the table game pit. And while most bemoan their fate by muttering to themselves or screaming at the man upstairs, the worst losers take things out on the dealers delivering the bad news.
Casino dealers have thick skin of course, and managers train their employees to expect a steady stream of invective when a certain breed of player is getting their brains beat 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 continue to send more money into their casino’s coffers.
With that said, some real money gamblers inevitably cross the line from venting and verbal abuse to outright assault.
Like I said, I’ve seen it all, from folks who throw their last few chips in the dealer’s face to morons who try to tip the table over in a blind rage.
And in every case where things go way too far, security guards are happy to escort the offender off the premises, but not before getting their signature on a property ban sheet.
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 blackjack at the Hard Rock in 2014. In the blackjack world, so-called advantage play specialists harness the power of counting cards to give themselves the rarest gift in casino gambling—an edge over the house.
Affleck, a former California State Poker Championship winner who knows his way around a deck of cards, apparently learned how to count in between filming award-winning flicks.
His propensity for betting big when the count was in his favor, and dialing the wagers back when the dealer had the goods, caught the eye of an astute pit boss. Before the “Argo” director knew what was happening, he felt the telltale tap on the shoulder that signals the end of most card counters’ “lucky” run.
Affleck wasn’t completely banned from the Hard Rock. But for a sharp player who doesn’t dabble in games of chance, losing the ability to play (and win) at blackjack is essentially the same punishment.
Walking through a casino can be intoxicating in more ways than one. Sure, you have a steady supply of complimentary alcohol complicating things, but there’s also the sense of suspended reality that accompanies any good gambling hall.
Big money being risked on reckless bets, adults high-fiving and cavorting like college kids, and every vice your heart desires on demand—casinos can bring out the worst in anyone. And when they do, those who can’t handle themselves accordingly quickly put themselves on security’s radar. One false step is all it takes to get tossed out for good and told never to return.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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