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Philly Casino Fined Over Dealer Not Shuffling Cards In Poker Tournament

16 Hands Were Dealt But None Of The Poker Players Said Anything

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Philadelphia’s SugarHouse casino on Wednesday was hit with nearly $100,000 worth of fines from state gaming regulators, which included a penalty from an incident that affected the integrity of a September 2017 poker tournament.

A state investigation found that during a poker tournament on Sep. 23, 2017, a poker dealer dealt 16 hands with two unshuffled decks. None of the poker players at the table spoke up.

A surveillance review found that the green light on the automatic shuffler began blinking, which should have indicated to the dealer that there was a problem. The casino found that the device was in “sort mode” rather than “shuffle mode.”

Sort mode involves the device reading the cards and putting them back in sequential and suited order. In other words, each of the 16 hands were played with completely unshuffled cards, the casino told regulators at the hearing in Harrisburg.

The casino said the shuffler malfunctioned and there was no evidence of any collusion.

After the 16th hand, the dealer became aware of the situation and informed a poker room supervisor. The device was corrected, and the game continued without issue.

“None of the patrons were eliminated from the tournament during the time the 16 improper hands were dealt,” said a July consent agreement and stipulation of settlement. “The investigation did not identify and did not determine the win/loss record for the patrons during the time the integrity of the poker game was affected.”

SugarHouse, home to 28 tables, generated $660,000 in rake from its poker games in August, putting it in third place out of the 10 poker rooms in the Keystone State.

The rest of the nearly six-figure scolding from Pennsylvania came from a handful of other gaming incidents spanning a roughly seven-month time frame starting in mid-2017.