You are the Tournament Director: Cheating at Stud?
Situation: In a WSOP Seven Card Stud event players are just returning from a break. Only four players are at the table and the dealer deals the hand. The player in the seven seat is dealt a pair of sevens in the pocket. The player in the eight seat has not yet returned and his door card is a seven. Very quickly the player switches the door cards. The player sat next to him sees this but is too shocked to speak up immediately. The hand plays out to conclusion and the player wins the pot with trip sevens. The player who saw him switch the cards now speaks up and his opponent, who has just lost a big pot, says ‘I thought that I saw him do that as well, but couldn’t believe it.’ You are called to the table. The dealer did not see or remember the cards. How do you rule?
The Mob Verdict
A similar situation to this did actually happen in a WSOP event a few years ago.
Our tournament directors are generally in agreement here. Someone should have spoken up at the time and in the absence of any evidence it is hard to do anything but let the player concerned keep the chips.
Obviously if there was camera evidence and the player did switch cards then he should be disqualified and barred with the chips being returned to the losing players.
Matt’s answer is the most complete and it would definitely be right to warn the player that he was being watched and to keep a very close eye on him in the future.
Mel’s answer is interesting. Often if more than one player can independently confirm what happened in any given situation then that could be taken and acted on. This situation, however, is so severe that it probably isn’t right to do that here and the problem is that some players may say that they saw something simply to lose the player. For these reasons we go with Matt’s ruling.
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