Cleveland Poker Dealer Cleared Of Charge That He Tried To Cheat By Putting A Card Up His Sleeve
Lawyer Calls Case Against Client 'Absurd'
A Horseshoe Casino Cleveland poker dealer who was accused by the state of Ohio of trying to cheat by hiding a card up his sleeve had his case dismissed late last month.
Robert D. Brown was indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury last fall over the incident that happened during his shift on Sept. 6. The 58-year-old’s attorney told Card Player in an interview Wednesday that it was “absurd to think he was trying to cheat.” The casino didn’t think cheating, or an attempt at it, had taken place, according to Brown’s lawyer, but the incident still materialized into a criminal case.
“Everyone is so happy for this man,” said attorney Jeff Shively said. “He’s the nicest guy in the world and has no bitterness about this.” Brown was facing possible jail time.
While at a $1-$2 no-limit hold’em table, Brown was shuffling a deck of cards when one of them went up his sleeve “face-down,” Shively said. When the automatic shuffler machine indicated that a card was missing, Brown immediately notified the floor, according to Shively.
The search was then on for the missing K.
After about 20 minutes, the card was still nowhere to be seen, but when Brown rotated to another table and was reaching to the floor to pick up some trash to throw away, the card fell out of his work uniform, which had “real loose sleeves,” and onto the ground, Shively said.
“Shocked” was Brown’s reaction when weeks later he was charged with a felony.
“It was a rare occurrence, but it happens,” Shively said. “Weird things happen in casinos.”
The cheating charge resulted in Brown, who began working at Cleveland’s only casino when it opened in May 2012, being suspended without pay for five months. “It was a tough five months for him and his family,” Shively said. Brown is back at work and currently trying to recover his lost wages.
Brown had been set to go to trial Mar. 7, and Shively was prepared to call “half the casino if I needed them” to the stand as defense witnesses. “You can’t find one person who would say one thing wrong about [Robert] Brown,” Shively said.
Not long after the indictment, Brown said in an interview with a local FOX affiliate that the whole situation was a giant misunderstanding. “A card accidentally went up my sleeve. I deal poker, I don’t even know how it got there,” he said.
Shively thought the case was a strange one because the prosecution “never had any accomplice on the radar.” According to him, there wasn’t anything to explain exactly how Brown placing a card up his sleeve was part of an elaborate plan to influence the outcome of the game for a financial benefit, especially when the automatic shuffler’s red light indicated that the deck was light and attention was given to it right away.
“Poker players self-police. Penn and Teller couldn’t have even cheated here,” Shively said, “and you haven’t seen Penn and Teller with a Deckmate [shuffler device]. Any regular poker player would know it’s absurd to think he was cheating.”
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