Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott
Bizzare Barring by Jupiters Casino
was time to do it. I hadn't been there for a long
time. It was time to at last go back and play BlackJack
at Jupiters casino on the Gold Coast. The last time
I was there, several lifetimes ago (well actually
14 years ago), they had kicked me out, as most casinos
eventually do, simply for being a good BlackJack player
that knows how to beat the system.
then I was relatively small fry, betting perhaps an
average of $40 a hand with my biggest bet being a
few hundred, but they knew I had an edge on the game.
For the outrageous crime of actually having a tiny
long run advantage over them of perhaps $40 an hour,
they had come down on me like a ton of bricks.
that is what casinos do to me. Their reaction to someone
actually having an advantage over them is out of all
proportion to the "threat" we so-called "advantage
players" pose. We break no rules, we do not cheat,
we just use the information that is freely available
to all players a little bit more intelligently than
most punters do. Like spoilt brats the casinos take
their bat and ball away - demanding that the unwanted
advantage player leave their casino, or at the very
least they change the rules for the "enemy" in their
midst, while leaving the rules unchanged for the 99.99%
of the normal losing players out there.
advantage players call those everyday losing players
the "civilians". I feel sorry for the civilians, the
casinos make hundreds of millions every year from
these misguided souls that think they have a chance.
I digress. My last foray to Jupiters was a long, long
time ago and felt to me like a place far, far away.
Now I was a different man to that young boy of 1993
- and maybe Jupiters casino had matured too. Maybe
their attitude had changed a little. Maybe they too
had grown up, and realised that one or two APs winning
a tiny miniscule crumb of what the civilians lose
wasn't the end of the world. Not bloody likely!
Now I should explain that the gambling Gods have been
kind to me over the years, and I am not small fry
anymore. No longer do I bet in red $5 chips and green
$25 chips. Now it is more like the black $100 chips,
the purple $500 chips (known as monkeys) and the $1,000
chips (known as gorillas). Every now and then I am
lucky enough to be holding one or two bananas (for
those of you that don't know, a banana is the casino
gambler's most treasured possession - a $5,000 chip).
My original intention was to take $30,000 with me
and to play for one night only, the night of State
of Origin I, 23rd May 2007, but then I decided to
increase my bet size a little so that would require
me to take $50,000. I intended to bet as low as $100
sometimes, but often I would bet more than that -
and very occasionally I might bet as high as $3,000.
My average bet for the night would probably work out
to be about $800 or so. If I had a very bad run, I
could definitely lose my entire $50,000. If I had
a good run, I could double my $50,000 or even more.
this is pretty big betting in anyone's language, and
ought to afford me that wonderful status of "high
roller". In fact, at a medium sized casino like Jupiters,
this level of betting makes me one of the bigger high
rollers, starting to encroach upon "whale" status.
And so it came to pass that I found myself calling
Jupiters VIP services to arrange my trip. Ah, Queensland,
beautiful one day, sunny the next. Let's see how they
react when I tell them who I am. I spoke to a lovely
young lady, let's call her Leanne (because that was
her name). Leanne sounded like a veritable ray of
sunshine down the telephone line, especially when
I mentioned that I would be bringing $30,000 along
(this was before I realised I'd be needing about $50,000
for my new intended level of betting). I told them
my name, my real name (unlike a lot of gamblers) and
my date of birth. I made no attempt to obscure my
identity in any way. I was put on hold while they
went to check their database. I was expecting her
to come back and start laughing at me, telling me
that I wasn't welcome at their casino. But suddenly
Leanne was speaking to me again "Yes, Mr Scott, we
will have a Club Conrad card waiting for you upon
arrival" she gushed.
there was no need to establish my bona fides by playing
my way up through their levels of betting. Apparently
$30,000 talks - it jumps you straight to Club Conrad,
where the high rollers play. And if $30,000 talks,
$50,000 talks even louder. Leanne went on to explain
that if I bet at the level that I said I would, of
course my hotel room would be on the house, as would
any other little annoyances such as food, drinks,
airfare, and so on. I told her that I would make my
own way from the airport to the casino, a limousine
was unnecessary. All this was simply based on the
fact that I said that I was bringing $30,000 cash.
arrived at the casino and checked in, telling them
that I actually had $50,000 not $30,000. "That's fine"
came the reply. Yeah, I bet it is! My money was counted
out at the casino cashier (universally known as "the
cage" in the industry) and I was given a receipt for
it. After dutifully supplying 100 points of ID (my
passport and two credit cards), I was issued with
a nice shiny new Club Conrad card - my key to Club
Conrad, the salubrious high rollers room on the seventh
floor of Jupiters.
had a couple of friends with me that I had met at
the Gold Coast. We noticed that Jupiters had a special
invitation-only function on for the State of Origin,
so I asked if I could get the three of us in. "Of
course, Mr Scott" came the reply. When you're a high
roller, and they think they are going to make big
money out of you, the red carpet gets rolled out,
doors are opened and anything seems possible. The
three of us watched the State of Origin at Jupiter's
special function, on their big screens, eating their
food and drinking their drinks. After the game, it
was time to gamble. On our way to Club Conrad, the
members-only high rollers enclave, we walked past
the main floor, otherwise known as the main grind.
This is where the $5 bettors drip-feed out their small
bankrolls, one red chip at a time until it is finally
all gone. This is where the real junk games are. You
just can't beat these games. Jupiter's BlackJack game
on the main floor uses the dreaded continuous shuffling
machines, which makes the game impossible to beat.
Only low roller types will accept these kinds of junk
games. High rollers won't stand for it, and demand
a better quality game.
ascended the lift to Club Conrad, on the seventh floor.
Behind the frosted glass doors of Club Conrad is a
world totally removed from the main grind. This is
the world of green, black and purple chips, a full
bar with no need for a cash register (all the drinks
are free), and a cage used to dealing in hundreds
of thousands. I went to the cage and got ten $5,000
CPVs issued to me. CPVs are a convenient way for high
rolling punters to carry money around - they are a
bit like cheques that draw on the money one has on
deposit at the cage. The three of us sat down and
chatted whilst enjoying our free drinks. Half an hour
went by - with no hint of anyone recognising me. It
really looked like I was going to get some real live
BlackJack play in!
approached a hundred dollar minimum table, signed
my first $5,000 CPV, and cashed it in over the table.
$5,000 worth of chips was pushed over to me and I
placed my first bet. I was underway! About 90 minutes
passed with little incident. I played, I won some,
I lost some. Such is the nature of BlackJack. While
the game I was playing had an expected win of probably
a few hundred dollars an hour, the actual result that
can happen in any one individual hour can be anything.
At the level I was betting, I could very easily win
or lose tens of thousands of dollars in a few minutes.
But eventually, if I played long enough, I should
come out in front by a few hundred bucks for every
hour I played.
of nowhere I hit a very bad run and suddenly I was
down $25,000. No problem, that's what happens. Keep
going. And I did, merrily playing BlackJack alongside
my fellow VIP gamblers. Then just as suddenly, I had
a great run of cards, and won about $15,000 in a matter
of a couple of minutes.
when it happened. "Excuse me sir, could I have a word
with you" came a voice from over my left shoulder.
I spun around and asked "is there a problem?" "Yes,
there is - can I see your Club Conrad card please".
Now of course I was half expecting this. I am very
well known in the casino industry in Australia, and
at one time or another have been banned or restricted
in 12 of Australia's 13 casinos (I still haven't got
around to going to the Reef casino in Cairns - but
I am sure the story there will be the same). I later
found out this man was the Duty Manager of the Casino
(the most senior person in the casino at that moment),
but let's just call him Mr Suit. Mr Suit was accompanied
by about half a dozen "security" staff of the casino,
which made me feel a whole lot less secure. I have
always referred to such people as "goons". In all
my years of going to casinos (now twenty of them),
I have never thrown my fist in anger in a casino.
But I have been surrounded by a lot of goons.
I should mention that Tabcorp, the company that owns
Jupiters, does not have a good track record when it
comes to their goon's handling of patrons. Tabcorp
also owns Star City casino in Sydney, and their goons
killed a patron, Peter Dalamangas. Star City's goons
used unjustifiable force, with up to seven of them
restraining and hog-tieing poor Mr Dalamangas so hard
that he died. Tabcorp has admitted liability
in the case.
back to Mr Suit. After his inspection of my Club Conrad
card, issued to me only hours earlier, Mr Suit said
something that was both hilarious and bizarre: "You
are not Andrew Scott." Now this was very weird, they
had taken photocopies of my passport and two of my
credit cards just hours earlier. I could see this
barring was going to be handled very badly. "Um, I
think I know who I am", I replied. "You are not Andrew
Scott", he repeated, "He is!" he said, pointing at
my friend. Ok, now this was just too weird. Mr Suit
went on, pointing at my friend, "Sir, this card has
been issued to you in error, because you are not Andrew
Scott, that person over there is".
knew this contention was going to be easy to disprove.
I produced my passport, held it open to the picture
page, and held it up to my face, showing him that
the picture indeed matched me, and the name on the
passport was indeed Andrew Scott. I then proceeded
to observe his confusion. Mr Suit became very flustered,
realising that he had made some sort of mistake. "Well,
whoever you are, this card has been issued to you
in error". I went on to explain that I was indeed
Andrew Scott, as my passport proved, and that as far
as I was concerned there was no error as the card
was issued to me hours earlier by VIP services, on
the strength of my fifty grand deposited in the cage.
As any casino employee or punter knows, under anything
but the most bizarre circumstances, a person depositing
$50,000 at the cage would be afforded the opportunity
to lose his money at Club Conrad.
it appeared these were indeed bizarre circumstances.
My friends knew better than to get involved - this
was starting to become very uncomfortable. So, quite
rightly, they hung back from the scene that was developing.
Mr Suit regained his composure and said to me that
it didn't matter who I was, that he was asking me
to pick up my remaining chips ($39,300 worth including
my remaining CPVs) and leave. I had the audacity to
ask why. "Because I can" was the answer. We went round
and round in circles for a while: Me: Why are you
asking me to leave? I am clearly not intoxicated,
I am not being rude, I am doing nothing wrong. In
fact I have brought $50,000 to play with and I am
currently losing $10,700. I am the sort of player
that casinos love! What have I done? Mr Suit: I have
given the reason. The reason is that I am asking you
to leave. Now, pick up your chips and go. Me: You
haven't given me a reason. You simply asked me to
go. I am prepared to go, but I would like to know
why. Why would you ask someone who is doing nothing
wrong to go? Surely you want customers, don't you?
Mr Suit: The reason is I am asking you. Me: That is
not a reason, that is just you asking me to go. Why
have you decided you want me to go? Mr Suit: The reason
you have to go is I am asking you to go.
of a sudden, the Head Goon, a particularly aggressive
bald-headed fellow, decides it's time to join the
conversation. Head Goon: Now listen you've been given
a perfectly good reason, now go. Me (to Head Goon):
C'mon mate, that's not a reason and you know it. Head
Goon: Look, we're a licensed premises so we can ask
anyone to leave. Me: Are you saying I'm intoxicated?
Head Goon (back-pedalling fast as I am clearly not
intoxicated): He (indicating Mr Suit) has given you
a perfectly good reason, now pull your head in and
go. You know, we've had clowns like you up here before,
you know. Clowns like me, I muse to myself? Clowns
like me? If there is anyone here who should be wearing
a clown suit, it is Mr Suit - he's the one who told
me I wasn't Andrew Scott when only hours earlier they
took photocopies of my ID. He is the one suddenly
demanding I leave for no reason.
Goon: Look mate, if you don't pull your head in I'm
going to void your chips. Ok, this is really getting
too much. They are now threatening to actually steal
$39,300 from me. Now, take a step back and imagine
the scenario I find myself in - it is the wee hours
of the morning, I am totally alone (I'm not sure where
my friends are now), surrounded by half a dozen goons,
who are being led by Mr Suit, a guy who apparently
doesn't know how to read a passport, and Head Goon,
who looks absolutely itching to knock my block off,
and has the man power with him to do it. Thoughts
of the unfortunate and sad case of the now deceased
Mr Delamangas are in the back of my mind. Suddenly,
one of the other goons, let's call him P-plate Goon,
pipes up: P-plate Goon: You've been told, you've been
given a reason, now cash in your chips and get out
great - don't goons who are not the head goon know
that they are meant to be seen and not heard? Even
the Head Goon speaking is a 50/50 thing. Now I'm dealing
with a young and aggressive P-plate Goon, the slightly
less young but slightly more aggressive Head Goon
and bumbling Mr Suit - and all of them have got faces
the colour of beetroot and look like they want to
kill me. And there is a ring of general goons around
me who could easily do so.
let's just take a step back here. This situation is
really ridiculous. Everyone knows why I am being treated
like this. Because I am an Advantage Player. Because
I have an edge. Because I know how to beat the game,
and they know I know. If I was a civilian, I could
get away with anything. I could regale you with stories
of atrocious behaviour of high rolling civilians that
gets accepted, merely because everyone knows that
they are going to lose. If I was an AP but they didn't
know I was, everything would be fine and life would
carry on, and the sky would not fall in. If only the
casinos knew how many APs they have in their midst,
they would probably come to their senses. For 13 years
I ran a school teaching BlackJack players to play
with an edge, and in that time had many successful
students. Many of them now happily ply their trade
in the casinos of Australia and the rest of the world.
And the sky does not fall in! The only reason that
they know about me is historical - I started playing
advantage BlackJack as a teenager, and at that time
I had absolutely no knowledge of the techniques that
exist to hide your skill from the casinos. Although
I am very aware of those techniques now (and they
continue to be taught at the BlackJack school I founded),
they are useless to me because my reputation as a
very skilled player spread around the Australian casino
industry before I had an opportunity to adopt those
the situation is this - I am playing totally legally,
not cheating in any way, but playing with a little
bit more intelligence than the average and managing
to create an expected win of maybe a thousand bucks
for the night. A thousand bucks is nothing to these
casinos. They make hundreds of millions a year. I
can still easily lose $50,000 on the night, I'm still
putting my money at risk. What risk do I really pose
to the casino? Of course, on any balanced assessment,
I pose no risk at all. But these aggressive men of
the casino are affronted, they feel assaulted, they
feel like a robber is in their midst. In a casino,
no-one is meant to win. They want every single person
in there to lose. They can't stand the thought that
someone has an edge over them, no matter how tiny
that edge happens to be. They can't stand the fact
that there is someone in there that knows more about
the game than they do. They act like it is some kind
of affront on their manhood. And so we have this farcical
back to the Head Goon. He now tells me that not only
is my Club Conrad card revoked forever, I am barred
from the entire property for 24 hours. I tell him
that if I am barred from the casino for 24 hours,
we have a little problem, because the casino has provided
me with a room, and I had intended sleeping in it
that night. The Head Goon thinks I have made this
up as a ploy, and gives me a sarcastic "yeah, right,
let's see your room key then". Don't you think these
guys would have done their research before confronting
me like this? It hardly takes a moment to check whether
I am staying in the hotel, which is highly likely
for a person betting that big, that late at night.
So I produce my room key, only to be met with Mr Goon's
reply, "that key could be from a week ago, we're going
to escort you to your room".
this is really uncomfortable. In the gaming areas
of the casino, there are cameras everywhere. True,
they are operated by the casino's own surveillance
people, but they are there nevertheless. In the case
of Mr Delamangas, the casino's cameras were their
own undoing. Mr Delamangas's parents and fiancé eventually
got to see the footage of Star City's goons first
assaulting and then killing Mr Delamangas. Outrageously,
no-one has ever been charged over Mr Delamangas's
death. It was camera footage that at the end of the
day led to Star City admitting liability in the case.
In my mind, it is those cameras that are holding Head
Goon back from punching me in the head right now.
But in the corridors of the hotel I doubt there are
many, if any, cameras. The hotel part of Jupiters
is pretty old and tired - it was built before the
time of omnipresent cameras. I don't want to be in
a camera-less corridor alone with this gang of irrational
and aggressive goons.
when these goons threaten to follow me to my room,
I immediately make a decision. I take the uncomfortable
but nevertheless camera-covered ride in the elevator
from Club Conrad to the Casino lobby (accompanied
by the goon squad), go straight out the main front
door in the lobby, where I will be covered by cameras
almost all the way, and jump into a cab. I even take
the precaution of taking the cab not to my intended
destination, but to Cavill Avenue, a nice generic,
anonymous destination where all the open-late nightclubs
are. I wait a while and catch another cab, in the
middle of the night, to a friend's house (luckily
I have one of those very good type of friends that
will let me turn up at his place and disrupt his family
in the middle of the night, although I'll have to
repay them for the inconvenience by taking them all
out to a slap-up dinner the next night).
am not too proud to admit I was a little shaken by
Jupiter's totally irrational and bizarre behaviour.
I catch a flight back home late the next night. Two
weeks pass, and my credit card bill arrives. I am
shocked to discover that they have had the audacity
to charge me for the room I never stayed in, even
though they barred me from the premises. Time to call
speak to Leanne and explain to her that I was barred
and I don't believe I should pay for a room that I
couldn't use. She goes on to say "well, that depends
why you were barred. Why were you barred?" Ah, good
question!! I explain to her that I would love to know
that reason, and perhaps she could make some enquiries
does exactly that and calls me back a few hours later.
"Mr Scott, we are going to refund your room, but no-one
will give me a reason as to why you were barred."
Welcome to my world, I think to myself. But
Leanne goes on to suggest I call the General Manager
of Gaming at Jupiters, a Ms Jackie Hutchinson. Ooooh,
I think to myself, we're getting to the more senior
I call Ms Hutchinson's office, only to be informed
that Ms Hutchinson is on the phone to their Managing
Director. I chuckle to myself, suspecting they are
discussing what stance Jupiters will take if this
story gets out. I leave a message for Ms Hutchinson
to return my call.
Hutchinson did return my call, I give her credit for
at least that. And from our discussion I gleaned that
she is an intelligent person (more than I can say
for Mr Suit and the Goon show). She made a good attempt
at justifying the unjustifiable. She said to me that
the card was issued to me in error (yeah, the error
was you didn't realise I had an edge over you guys),
and that they have multiple criteria for issuing such
cards. I said to her, in the politest possible way,
that both she and I know that if anyone else came
along and deposited $50,000 at the cage that they
would instantly be issued with a Club Conrad card
(as I was) and would get the VIP treatment. She didn't
dispute that. I repeatedly asked her what was the
reason I was barred, what criteria did I not meet?
Although she treated me much more civilly than I was
treated on the night in question, the substance of
her answer was the same: "we are not giving you a
the beginning of this long story I posed a question
about whether, in the 14 years since my last visit,
Jupiters had grown up, whether they realised that
one or two APs winning a tiny miniscule crumb of what
the civilians lose wasn't the end of the world. Sadly,
I have to report they are as immature as ever.
July 7th 2007
Jupiters finally credited my room cost back to my
credit card, 44 days after it was first charged. I
called them twice and emailed them twice before they
finally did it. It was like pulling teeth. I intended
to email this story to Jackie Hutchinson for comment,
but was advised by Jupiters on July 5th 2007 that
"Jackie Hutchinson has since left the company".
2007 Andrew W Scott
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